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AUC Session Opens with Calls for Investments in Sustainable Youth

27 June 2011: Speaking at the opening of the 19th ordinary session of the Executive Council of the African Union Commission (AUC), leaders of the AU and other Africa regional organizations highlighted Africa's economic progress and called for a greater role and support for Africa's youth in efforts to achieve sustainable development.

AUC Chairperson Jean Ping stressed Africa's extraordinary resilience during the recent economic and financial crises, noting that Africa is increasingly positioning itself as "the locomotive that will foster global growth in the near future." On the promotion of youth, he stressed recent AU supported initiatives, including the opening of the Pan African University, the creation of centers of excellence and the promotion of academic mobility.

UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Executive Secretary Abdoulie Janneh stressed the problem of high youth unemployment, calling for a strategy that combines public works programmes and enhanced investment in infrastructure and production to tap into the nexus between job creation, sustainable development and social stability. He urged paying greater attention to green growth in order to leapfrog unsustainable technologies and enable African countries to take advantage of their current potential in agriculture, tourism, forestry, and eco-industries.

He also underlined the importance of preparing for the upcoming 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Durban, South Africa, and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) to ensure that these meetings take Africa's interests and concerns into account, noting that UNECA, AU and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are working to support the development of Africa's position and will organize a Regional Preparatory Conference on Rio+20 in October 2011.

Prime Minster of Equatorial Guinea Ignacio Milan Tang stated that youth empowerment for sustainable development revolves around policies for young, research-based, pro-job creation development. The Executive Council convenes until 28 June 2011 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in parallel to the 17th Session of the AU Summit, which will be held until 1 July 2011 under the theme "youth empowerment for sustainable development." [AU Summit Webpage] [AU Executive Council Press Release] [UNECA Press Release]