The former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered a public lecture at Strathmore University. He addressed some of the most pressing global challenges with great emphasis on the role of the youth in salvaging the future of humanity.
Human Dignity and Death Penalty Sentence
United Nations Human Rights office of the High Commission has upheld with great priority the demolition of the death penalty sentence with a definitive stand that capital punishment is too final and irrevocable, as it prohibits the correction of mistakes by the justice system and leaves no room for human error with the gravest of consequences. Ban Ki- moon’s address on this matter was in response to Susan Kigula’s experience under the death row penalty in Uganda and the transformation thereof through the African Prisons Project. “In recognition that crimes should be punished, it is critical to note that regardless of whatever crime one is serving their human dignity must be respected and upheld,” Ban Ki-moon acknowledged.
Diplomatic talks with member states to abolish the death penalty row during Ban Ki-moon’s tenure in office have been significant in improving the awareness of human rights in the administration of capital punishment, substantially reducing the number of state adherence to the sentence. Currently, more than 2/3rd of united nations member states have abolished the death penalty row.
Sustainable Development Goals
United Nations launched the ground-breaking global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, a framework to guide businesses strategic priorities and efforts towards society. This represents a huge opportunity to drive sustainable business, as investors and civil society are increasingly considered to be a positive force for sustainable development and are expected to play an important role in implementing the SDGs. Encouraging the participation of countries in the attainment of SDGs, Ban Ki-Moon remarked that the set goals and objectives can only be met through active participation of all citizens.
War, Terrorism Impunity and Crimes Against Humanity
War and crimes against humanity continue to deprive afflicted persons the joys of a prosperous future. Global increase in the number of refugees and immigrants are currently new dynamics that countries face. “It is unfortunate that some countries have legislative boundaries that continue to hinder peaceful co-existence and narrow-minded political ideologies that continue to cause many deaths in countries such as Libya, Syria and South Sudan. While we enjoy the free movement of people across geographical boundaries, the impunity of terrorism poses great challenges to this freedom. This is a global crisis. Terrorism impunity must be disrupted,” said Ban Ki-moon.
The Future in the hands of the Youth
The world is comprised of 1.8 billion people who are between the age of 10-24 years. 1 Million Kenyan youth join the work force every year, contributing to the global pool of 600 Million youth being released to the job market. The high rate of youth unemployment is as a result of the current industrial revolution and its ability to accommodate the rising population of eligible labor force. For instance; advances in artificial intelligence and robotics continues to challenge the job security of manual laborers whose dependency are on low skilled job clusters. “Whereas this shift in industrialization opens a great window for faster, efficient and cheaper products and services, it is unfortunate that a significant number of the World’s youth living in developing countries are unable to access information that would enable them bridge the skills gap,” he noted.
According to a recent study by World Bank, 1% investment increment in education can improve the GDP by 0.3%. Youth empowerment initiatives have significantly illustrated how the youth can make use of their skills in improving their lives and the lives of those around their community. “To empower the youth is to give them a voice. If you see injustice or unfairness, rise up and point it out. There is no stronger voice than the civic society. They are the kings without crowns. I invite you to make these challenges your own; take them up with great commitment, unquenchable passion and the fire to make a difference!” concluded Ban Ki-moon.