Wed Dec 13 2017, 8:35:57 +03

Youth Issues is a Major Priority on the OIC Agenda: Al-Othaimeen

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(Jeddah-AlummahWorld-Shawwal 19,1438H) The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen has reiterated that youth issues constitute a priority on the OIC agenda.

He made the statement during the opening of the brainstorming session on "Youth, Peace, and Development in a World of Solidarity", which was held during the 44th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Abidjan, Ivory Coast from 10-11 July 2017. 
The Secretary General stressed that the Muslim world is enjoying a historic demographic gift. There are around 1.75 billion youth in the 15-29 age group throughout the world, with nearly 500 million or 28.5% living in the OIC Member States. 

"The current situation possess opportunities and challenges. If the capabilities of youth are properly harnessed, they can prove to be a huge asset for their countries and the world at large. They can be leaders and agents for societal change to promote peace and development and end poverty," said Al-Othaimeen.

"We should intensify our efforts to address economic deprivation, political exclusion, social marginalization and the disintegration of families that create a fertile ground for extremists’ and terrorists’ organizations to recruit young people for their reprehensible goals" he added.

The Secretary General also noted that in today’s world of social media and global interconnectivity, there is a need to enhance media outreach and educational capacities, to convey a counter narrative to violent extremism in an effective manner. He stressed that it was one of the reasons why the OIC established Sawt Al-Hikma (The Voice of Wisdom) "to confront extremism and terrorism through deconstructing and delegitimizing the extremist narratives using the internet and social media."

Al-Othaimeen also highlighted the suffering of the Palestinian youth living under Israeli occupation and the suffering of young people in conflict areas, from Syria to Somalia and from Iraq to areas in West Africa under the control of Boko Haram. 

He equally mentioned the countless young people that are forced to undertake risky adventures crossing seas and oceans either because they lack hope for a better future or because they are deprived of basic human rights as witnessed in Myanmar stressing that "these challenges have to be addressed in a more effective manner."

The OIC hosted the brainstorming session due to the global realization that the involvement of youth is fundamental to achieving growth and development, and there is a constant need to discuss how political and development actors can engage with youth and translate priority areas into policies and development programs.

The brainstorming session witnessed the participation of youth from the OIC Member States who during the interactive discussion presented actionable activities, concrete initiatives and recommendations for implementation with the objective of achieving a constructive engagement and participation of youth from the OIC Member States in different domains at the national and international levels.