The Role of Youths for Sustainable Peace

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I greet you all.
It is an honour and privilege to be given an opportunity as a youth to speak with fellow youth around the world at this specious event, when HWPL is having its 5thAnnual Commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War(DPCW).

My name is Reuben Sapetulu and Iโ€™m currently serving as the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Youth Association of Zambia as well as the Board Chairperson and the Founder of Rethink Youth Platform. The UN Youth Association is a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to promote and support the ideals, missions, and the activities of the UN as well as campaign for youth participation in all UN activities as well as bringing the UN closer to the youth. Whereas, the Rethink Youth Platform is also a non-government organization whose mission is to empower and equip young people with skills necessary to allow them to drive sustainable development.

Before I start, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to HWPL and IPYG, for their concerted efforts towards the cessation of war and promotion of peace, transcending borders, races, and religions. And as a global citizen and a youth who is passionate about a future that is safe, equal, peaceful, and healthy for all without leaving anyone behind, I stay thankful to IPYG and HWPL for their continuous peaceful activities despite the world suffering from covid-19.

Distinguished guests, we live in a rapidly changing world, faced with many anomalies including atrocities due to wars and conflicts. We also understand that we have not been spared by the effects imposed by COVID-19 pandemic which has not only threatened individual lives, but has also led to unprecedented global socioeconomic crisis. This has also affected young people all over the world, more especially in Africa, of which according to UNESCO, about 190 countries closed down education facilities, making it difficult for young people to have access to education, others losing job opportunities, others having challenges accessing health services, and others also having challenges to go on and proceed their social economic activities, of which about 8 out of 10 young people are suffering from mental, physical child abuse, and countless youths are also affected by armed conflicts and violence including political violence itself.

However, even in these doomed realities, I love to fact that IPYG stated that, โ€œTogether we can do it,โ€ to the world to overcome this crisis and to protect ourselves. IPYG also emphasized the importance of youth solidarity and suggested a participating worldwide youth discussion platform, which is the Youth Empowerment Peace Workshop, which is the YEPW. This was initiated actually by IPYG. And I am also aware that over about 40 countries and over 100 organisations are taking part in this workshop, which clearly shows the commitment of IPYG and HWPL towards addressing these global challenges not by imposing solutions, but by giving the capacity to enable people to solve their own problems as well as address their own needs since they are the ones who are facing this challenges and they are the ones with all solutions. This will also allow participants as well as young people including myself to keep discussing and proposing creative ideas to protect youths and realize sustainable peace. Furthermore, we are also aware that the YEPW also creates a platform for SDG realization where youth get into be empowered and embrace one another and develop the culture of peace where we should live as one people of one planet.

And with the YEPW in Africa, education has been seen to be key to Africaโ€™s development. So I will support the initiatives of HWPL and IPYG through the provision of HWPLโ€™s Peace Education to Zambian youths in collaboration with the IPYG and put in efforts and influence to have it realized at the national level as well. I will devote myself to my beloved country, Zambia. And we’ll become the leading role of young people who leave the developed and peaceful Zambia and the whole world as a legacy to our future generations.

In conclusion, I take this opportunity to request all worldwide leaders to support the DPCW in order to spread the culture of peace, unite the youths, end war, and accomplish world peace. I would also like to let you know that I participated in the delivery of 3,000 peace letters to the Minister of Justice in Zambia for the DPCW proposal. My commitments are simply because I agree that DPCW, which HWPL is proposing, is an effective way to bring a cessation of war and world peace. The YEPW was also inspired by the DPCWโ€™s peace realization process. And now, spreading the culture, or the peace culture based on DPCW is certainly the way to achieve peace. World leaders, please pay attention and support what DPCW is proposing towards the peace realization process.

And surely, we need light when it is dark. Today is that day. We need the light of peace. We can do it! And I checked with my eyes. Even in this tough situation, because about 111 nations and 851 organizations with IPYG are shedding the light of peace. If we work together, if we work as one, if we work as one planet, we can achieve peace together! Letโ€™s work together and shed a big light together.
Thank you for listening. We can do it and we shall do it, for we are one! God bless you.

Reuben Sapetulu
The Deputy Secretary General of United Nations Youth Association of Zambia (YUNA Zambia)