Parliament to receive National Youth Development Policy Bill

Member of the committee of Youth and Sport in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly speaking during the National Youth Development Policy. (Photo credit; Daniel Garang)

By Ephraim Modi D.S

A lawmaker and a member of the specialized committee of Youth and Sports at transitional national legislative assembly, Jesus Deng Atem said that the National Youth Development Policy draft bill will be presented to the National Assembly next week. 

He made the remarks during an event that was organized by United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) to provide an integrated, holistic and coordinated framework for the development of young men and women who have been the bedrock for establishment of Republic of South Sudan, and who are pivotal in peacebuilding and sustainable development.

Atem told the participants at the workshop that the presence of parliamentary committee members is not the key agenda but their priority is to take action, reiterating that committing that the National Youth Development Policy will be tabled in parliament by next week for the legislators to deliberate on.

“We are not supposed to be part of this workshop because we as the committee, we are tired of workshops, we need action instead of workshops. I would like to inform the people present here, the representatives from the UN, Civil Societies that by next week we are going to table the national youth development policy,” he said.

Atem affirmed his committee’s committed to ensure that the national youth law is passed after its tabling.

“And after tabling the youth policy, I think we will also rectify the charter. It is not going to be businesses, we are trying here and there, we are not sleeping at night to make sure that all these policies are tabled, passed and rectified and so we can move forward as young people of this country instead of talking, we can do work for ourselves and for our country”.

Meanwhile, the Representative of the UNFPA Olajide Ademola encouraged the assemblage during the workshop to gear the progression of passing the policy into a law. 

“We are gathered again to begin to look at the processes in which by which we can ensure that ultimately as a nation we have a national youth policy that’s endorsed and that speak to the collective aspirations of the people of Republic of South Sudan,” he said.

Ademola also highlighted much on importance of having the National Youth Policy put as key and accepted into law as much as possible and it would help the country in all aspects of concern.

“The youth policy provides a framework that will guide investment, inclusive participation, leadership and young people and enable them to actively engage in the process of building a sustainable peace and sustainable economic growth,” Ademola added.

The background of the youth policy states that it seeks to include youth interests, rights, responsibilities and stakeholders’ contributions to foster active youth participation and leadership at community, county, state and national levels.

The process for development of this policy started with formation of Southern Sudan Youth Development Policy Framework in 2007 by Ministry of Culture, Youths and Sports when the country was semi-autonomous. The policy was reviewed in 2011 after national consultations led by the National Youth Policy Review Taskforce that comprised line ministries, commissions, National Youth Union, National Students’ Union, Un Agencies and Civil Societies Organizations. The reviewed policy was presented to Cabinet and later tabled in Parliament in 2013.

In December, 2018, with support from development partners including the UNFPA, UNESCO and Okay Africa Foundation, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the parliamentary committee on Culture, Youth and Sports held a public hearing on the draft policy with representation from all stakeholders including representatives of states governing bodies, traditional leaders, line ministries, commissions, the youth and youth organizations, faith-based organizations, civil society organizations, NGOs and UN Agencies. The desk reviews and consultation processes provided a contextual definition of youth, demographic characteristics, strengths and opportunities and critical issues affecting youth.

The South Sudan National Youth Development Policy envisions a bright future free from discrimination where all young men and women develop their full potential, participate and contribute to a peaceful and prosperous South Sudan. The policy prioritizes youth within an all-inclusive framework and promotes mainstreaming and cross-sectorial programming for the development of young men and women in accordance with the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 (as Amended).

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