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Around 75 % of the population in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is under the age of 35. Young people in this region remain one of the most vulnerable and affected groups in the areas of HIV, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender inequality.

SADC Member States have made strong commitments to put young people at the centre of their development efforts and strengthen investments in young people’s SRHR within several global, continental and regional frameworks, working towards ending AIDS by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.  

It is against this background that UNAIDS, in partnership with the SADC Parliamentary Forum, UNFPA, UNESCO, African Youth and Adolescents Network (AfriYAN) and Restless Development convened a Youth Indaba in October 2019 in South Africa.

“AIDS is still the main cause of death among young women in the SADC region. We need the boldness and courage of young people to walk the last mile. Young people need to know that they are fighting for leaving no one behind,” said Catherine Sozi, Director for the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa, during the indaba.

The aim of the indaba was to strengthen capacity and collaboration between young parliamentarians and youth activists to ensure that SRHR, HIV and gender equality are prioritized within national development agendas.

“It is inappropriate and unacceptable to design any strategy, policy or law without the involvement of young people. We cannot do anything that pertains to our future resources without youth involvement,” said the Vice President of SADC Parliamentary Forum (PF), Isaac Mmemo Magagula.

The programme of the Youth Indaba included several interactive sessions on innovative approaches to youth-led accountability, opportunities to share best practices and build networks and partnerships.

The last day of the meeting consisted of an intergenerational dialogue between the young participants and senior Parliamentarians and development partners, focused on placing young people at the centre of development, including supporting meaningful youth engagement and youth-led accountability.

According to SADC, people under the age of 35 are rarely found in formal political leadership positions. Therefore youth-led accountability ensures that young people are engaged and participate in decision-making that affects their lives and exercise accountability over those decisions.

“We commit to work collaboratively as youth researchers, advocates and young MPs for the achievement of set targets and commitments concerning HIV, SRHR, and gender equality for all young people in the SADC region, including being accountable to the constituencies we represent and the young people and communities we serve,” said Rahma Suleiman from AfriYAN in Tanzania, reading from a Joint Youth Commitment on youth-led accountability which was later on presented at the ICPD+25 Summit in Nairobi.  

Participants developed the outcome document referred to as the “Tshwane Declaration on strengthening youth-led accountability in SADC parliaments for delivering on commitments on SRHR, HIV and gender equality”, which was later adopted by the SADC PF’s Plenary Assembly in Namibia in December 2019. The adoption is groundbreaking in that it promotes youth-led accountability with SADC.

By adopting the resolution, the assembly resolved to undertake several actions required to improve young people’s right to health and empowerment using their legislative, oversight and representation mandate. This includes the amendment of laws and policies that limit young people’s freedom of expression, choice and access to integrated HIV and SRHR services, comprehensive sexuality education social protection and harm reduction services for young key populations. – (original story via UNAIDS http://rstesa.unaids.org/

The African Youth and Adolescents Networking on Population and Development (AfriYAN) 2017 General Assembly and capacity building workshop for young people in Eastern and Southern Africa opens in Addis Ababa, Ethopia.

Drawing youth leaders from Eastern and Southern Africa, the General Assembly will run from the 7th to the 9th of November 2017 will usher in a new cohort of young leaders whilst bringing in renewed energy and robust innovation that will guide AfriYAN ESA to the next level of relevance, influence and accountability.

Under the guidance of UNFPA, Southern African AIDS Trust (SAT), UNESCO and other development and implementing partners, the General Assembly aims to foster the development of a better coordinated,managed and structured network that will further the mandate of AfriYAN ESA at regional and national level in the East and Southern Africa region.

[:en]Today marks World AIDS Day. Every year, December 1st is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.

According to UNICEF there were 2.1 million adolescents (10–19 years) living with HIV in 2013, 80% of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa, and many of whom still do not know their HIV status.

We believe  that young people deserve adequate information and health services to prevent the spread of HIV. Take a stand today and help us spread the word![:pt]Hoje é marcado o Dia Mundial da SIDA. Todos os anos, o dia 1 de dezembro é dedicado a sensibilizar as pessoas para a pandemia da SIDA causada pela propagação da infeção do VIH.

Segundo a UNICEF havia 2.5 milhões de adolescentes (10-19 anos) a viver com o VIH em 2013, 80% dos quais vivem na África subsaariana, e muitos dos quais ainda não sabem do seu estatuto de portadores de VIH.

Acreditamos que os jovens merecem informações e serviços de saúde adequados para prevenir a propagação do VIH. Manifeste-se hoje e ajude-nos a espalhar a mensagem![:fr]Aujourd’hui est un jour marqué par la Journée Mondiale du Sida. Chaque année, le 1er Décembre est consacré à la sensibilisation à la pandémie du sida causée par la propagation de l’infection au VIH.

Selon l’UNICEF, il y avait 2,1 millions d’adolescents (10-19 ans) atteints du VIH en 2013, dont 80% vivant en Afrique sub-saharienne, et beaucoup d’entre eux ne connaissent toujours pas leur statut de séropositif.

Nous croyons que les jeunes méritent des services adéquats d’information et de santé pour prévenir la propagation du VIH. Prenez position aujourd’hui et aidez- nous à faire passer le message.[:]