The third OIC Conference of Youth and Sports Ministers ended in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday with the issues of youth empowerment, participation and involvement; and capacity building, as key agenda items.
Representing the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, Youth and Sports Minister Alieu K. Jammeh said the challenges confronting us as a people of the Islamic Ummah and in many of our countries are numerous and demand immediate action for redress in ensuring that we continue to serve as the appointed vicegerent of Allah (SWT) on earth. He added that a critical effort to address those ills is to reverse the destruction of the self esteem of the Muslim youth.
“The frustration on the faces of the youth and their lost of hope in our collective ability to provide for their needs is sending many of them to their early graves in the oceans and through wars and incessant conflicts,” Minister Jammeh said, while addressing the three-day Conference on Friday.
“This will obviously affect, not only the viability of our countries, but can diminish the strength of our great religion, al-Islam. In this regard, I strongly recommend that the resolutions from this meeting include practical means to provide for the economic, socio-cultural, religious and political needs of the Muslim youth. Inclusiveness, tolerance and sharing are fundamental pillars of our humanity that need to be reinforced.”
Minister Jammeh further asserted that young people should be listened to and fully engaged in addressing differences that very often lead to violent conflicts.
Minister Jammeh noted that in The Gambia, the country has all the tools and structures in place, through an inter-ministerial committee on youth development; a National Youth Council; a National Sports Council; National Policies and Strategies and Programmes for Youth and Sports development; and most importantly young people occupying leadership positions at all levels of governance in the country.
“This year, The Gambia hosted the whole of the African youth and Ministers of Youth of Africa to commemorate the adoption of the 10th year anniversary of the African Youth Charter and equally reviewed its implementation in order to heighten our response to the needs of the youth. The Gambia continues to take part in continental and global sporting events, the recent one being the Rio Olympics and look forward to participating in the 2017 Islamic Games to be held in Azerbaijan,” he affirmed
“As I gladly offer The Gambia to share its knowledge and experiences acquired in the process of developing these tools and structures, I equally look for assistance from member countries and individuals endowed with more resources than us in order to multiply the implementation of our programmes and activities on youth empowerment and development.”
Signing of a sports development agreement
Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the Conference, Minister Jammeh formally signed an agreement between the Ministry of Youth and Sports of The Gambia and that of Turkey.
The agreement, as he disclosed, amongst many areas, will look into sports management, maintenance of sports facilities, training of elite athletes, joint projects and activities related to the solution for youth problems.