Minister Mutorwa on the Occasion of International Youth Day

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On behalf of the Namibian Government, I convey the warmest greetings to all the youth on the eve of International Youth Day, 12 August. The General Assembly on 17 December 1999 in its resolution 54/120, endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day. The Assembly recommended that public information activities be organized to support the Day as a way to promote better awareness of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond, adopted by the General Assembly in 1995 (resolution 50/81). The United Nations has set this year’s theme as Tackling Poverty Together. Namibia is set not only to celebrate International Youth Day en masse, but also to use this as a platform where we will take stock as a nation of what has been achieved and where we did not achieve. Young people currently make up the largest and fastest growing proportion of contemporary Namibian population. Numerous challenges continue to preoccupy the time and life of this group. The sad reality is that government alone cannot solve this, despite its genuine commitment and will. There must be a concerted effort from all social forces in this country, if we are to speed up our progress of meeting the objectives we have set ourselves as a nation. These objectives are achievable, but need concerted efforts from the current generation. On 2 August 2006, the ministry launched the revised National Youth Policy in Windhoek. To keep trend with and within the parameters of the national development framework, and in order to redress the strategic areas within the policy it has become essential to call for the review of the National Youth Policy. Through the policy, the Namibian Government provides a framework for developing our youth. It allows our young people the chance to pursue their development goals along a set and clear framework of aims and objectives. The review of the National Youth policy should at the same time signal a welcome rise of interest in fundamental problems that hamper our youth from reaching their full potential as subjects of this country. It should serve as a point of reference whenever our youth attempt to articulate their aspirations and needs for a tomorrow whose sunset is different than the last most of them witnessed. The policy outlines numerous rights of young people and duties to be performed by the Government. We will only succeed if we inform each other not only of our rights but also of our responsibilities as youth. To this end, the policy outlines several responsibilities that youth bear towards their families, the society and the State. It remains the primary responsibilities of the youth to serve as custodians of their own development, partaking fully in citizenship duties, promoting the economic development of their societies and the country as a whole, as well as becoming the vanguards jealously preserving, promoting and re-defining our cultural heritage of a tolerant and hard working society. Young people in our community therefore, should be seen as growing assets of the nation with a quest for the acquisition of status that accompanies adulthood. As leaders across the spectrum including parents and guardians, we remain responsible for the creation of a stable environment that permits our youth a safe space for growth, development and learning. We are responsible not only to put in place programs and projects for the progress of our valuable youth, but also to make sure that the youth remained informed of this. As our youth are set to celebrate International Youth Day, we should realise that we can succeed or fail on the strength of our commitment to this young and vibrant segment of our population. Together we ought to be able to find means and methods that will empower our youth and by so doing tackle poverty. I, on behalf of each one of us therefore, wish our youth strength and wisdom as they continue to rise in their day, and beyond.

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