By Adama Makasuba
Aisata De, UNDP resident representative to The Gambia has commended young Gambians’ participation in politics as critical in shaping the country’s future.
She was speaking at the swear-in ceremony of the members of the national youth parliament held at the national assembly chambers in Banjul.
“In the next couple of days, young parliamentarians gathered here will discuss issues that are of great concern to the nation, such as illicit drug trade and use, social issues, migration, climate change, education, health, and the consolidation of democratic governance.
“With the increasing demand for civic engagement, accountability, and transparency all over the world, this Youth Parliament provides a strategic opportunity to enhance participation of young Gambians in political discourse,” she said.
“This is not only a strong demonstration of your commitment to the principles of transparency but also an inspirational setting for young parliamentarians to deliberate and strengthen their commitment to public service. It is important that in addition to increasing your knowledge of Parliamentary institutions, you also inculcate the habits of discipline and tolerance for the views of others. Within the legislative environment, and in the age of social media, the need to always act with decorum cannot be overemphasized,” she added.
“In young democracies like The Gambia, young people play a critical role in shaping the politics and future of their country. The Youth Parliament allows Gambian youth to learn about it whilst also engaging with their local representatives and the entire political system. Moreover, positioning youth at the center of decision-making is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, gender equity, and social justice.
“In The Gambia, empowering young women to become leaders across all domains from the community to the parliament will be transformational for the country. Whilst UNDP is particularly proud to sustain its partnership with the Office of the Clerk in ensuring that youth participation and voices can be heard at national decision-making platforms, UNDP is fully committed to expanding this partnership to strengthen women’s leadership in the National Assembly.
“It is my sincere hope that the Government, civil society, and development partners will continue to join efforts towards empowering young people, particularly young women, in leadership. On the part of the UNDP, let me reassure you that our doors remain open, and we will continue to support the capacity strengthening of the National Assembly and the young people of The Gambia, to consolidate democracy and good governance in The Gambia, and in pursuit of the SDGs,’ she continued.