Concluding a two-day official visit to Ethiopia, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi yesterday signed a joint statement on strengthening the cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union (AU) on youth issues. The visit took place following an official invitation from and was organised in close cooperation with UN-Habitat. The statement, signed by Alhendawi and the AU Commissioner for Human Resource, Science and Technology Department, Martial De Paul Ikounga, outlines collaboration on a range of activities and processes related to youth, including the post-2015 development agenda, the fifth conference of African Ministers in Charge of Youth and the preceding youth forum in early 2014, and the global symposium on youth policy, an upcoming initiative of the Envoy on Youth. The two parties also agreed to launch a joint AU-UN campaign in 2014 on strengthening the voices of Africa’s youth through the African Union Commission, within the UN’s System-Wide Action Plan on Youth.

During his stay in Addis Ababa, the Envoy held a series of meetings with officials from the African Union, the United Nations, and the Ethiopian Government, as well as with local youth organisations, and civil society representatives. The second day’s activities concluded with a joint press conference with Commissioner Dr. Ikounga, during which the agreement was announced.

Earlier during his visit, Alhendawi discussed the UN GA Delegates Programme, as well as opportunities for strengthening the work of the UN on youth in Ethiopia with the country’s Minister of Youth. He also met with the UN’s Resident Coordinator, with Mr. Emmanuel Etima from the African Observatory on Policy Practice and Youth Studies, who briefed him on youth development priority areas in Africa and ongoing youth programmes and youth engagement mechanisms at the continental level. Furthermore, the Envoy engaged in discussions — focused on strengthening the UN regional youth programmes — with members of the UN Country Team, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and the Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa.

In a discussion on peace and security in Africa and the role of young people in driving the peace and development agenda in Africa, the Envoy met with representatives of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Plan International, and Oxfam International.