The Right Reverend Samuel Kofi Osabutey, Chairman of the Greater Accra Regional Peace Council (GARPC), has challenged the Ghanaian youth to be ambitious in their engagement in order to achieve the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to contribute to long-lasting peace in the country.
He said every country values its young people as a crucial asset, and Ghana is fortunate to have a large population of young individuals who can contribute significantly to the development of the nation.
“Without the involvement of young people, it is impossible to achieve inclusivity. And without inclusivity, the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be accomplished,” he said.
He made this when he addressed students of Saint Mary’s Senior High School in Accra to commemorate the 2023 International Day of Peace on the theme, “Action for Peace: Our Ambition for# Global Goals,”
In his keynote address, he said the future of Ghana is in the hands of its youth. As future leaders, the youth must play a decisive role in achieving the SDGs if their potential is harnessed as well as their skills and talents honed for the good of society. The role of youth should be seen as part of broader strategies for the realization and achievement of the SDGs through access to quality education; good health and well-being, gender equality, clean water , decent work among others.
However, threats to sustainable development still include war, conflict, insecurity, poverty, hunger, climate chaos, inequalities, political polarization, weak institutions, and limited access to justice.
Rt. Rev. Osabutey said this will require collaboration of institutions including state and non-states to implement policies and programmes that promote peaceful and inclusive societies, ensure that everyone has access to justice, and create inclusive institutions at all levels, and most importantly aim to tackle a myriad of challenges faced by young people.
The youth cannot utilize their full potential in an environment of instability. “Today our world needs peace more than ever. All people must be free from violence and fear, and they must also feel safe while they go about their daily lives. Without peace, there cannot be sustainable development,” he said.
He pointed out the recent happenings across the globe, saying that violent extremism, terrorism and radicalization still remain major threats to our survival and development. The ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict as well as the recent military subversions in the West African Subregion have made the whole world unsafe for everyone living elsewhere and painted a bleak future.
Some countries such as Mali, Ivory Coast, Togo, Burkina Faso, and Nigerian, have all experienced terrorist attacks and Ghana is not immune from similar attacks despite grappling with internal conflicts, land disputes, and chieftaincy disputes, illegal mining (galamsey), killings, and other organized crimes.
He highlighted the devastating effect of armed conflict and insecurity on the development of the nations, communities and societies. Conflict retards economic growth and often results in long-standing grievances. People’s ability to thrive, as well as their health, development and well-being, are all impacted by violence.
Rt. Rev. Osabutey called on the government to put in place policy initiatives to give hope and equal opportunities to the youth and make them feel part of the governance system.
He concluded by alluding to the words of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on youth, Jayathma Wickramanake, “… the world where every young person can attend school without the fear of violence or conflict, a world where every young person can do a job that they love, that young person can love or marry or live with the person that they choose to love, where everyone can advocate safely for rights, and where everyone is safe from the impact of climate change, where everyone has equal opportunities for a decent living everywhere”…
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions and it was set aside as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace through observance of non-violence and cease-fire.