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Local EU Statement on dialogue between the EU and Kenya on gender and youth policies

The European Union Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Kenya:

As Ambassador of the European Union in Kenya and Ambassadors of European Union Member States resident in Kenya, we're happy to have met today with the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Mrs Sicily Kariuki, for a session of the EU/Kenya Political Dialogue focused on gender and youth policies. As close partners, Kenya and the European Union are committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and attach the greatest value to the critical roles that youth and women can play as agents of progress and change.

We believe providing women with equal access to education, health-care, decent work and political representation is vital – everywhere in the world – to the full development of inclusive societies as well as of successful and sustainable economies. Yet, women and girls continue to face discrimination and violence and are – more often than not – largely under-represented in decision-making processes. Both in Kenya and in the European Union, a wide range of actions by stakeholders – governments, civil society, and businesses – are aimed at achieving gender balance in leadership positions. In Kenya the needs for a fairer gender balance, gender equality and effective women empowerment are recognised and enshrined in the Constitution. EU Diplomatic Missions to Kenya will continue supporting the Kenyan Government's efforts to meet the constitutional requirement of the 2/3 gender rule. We are committed to promoting gender equality and tackling gender based violence. Like Kenya, we believe gender equality and women's empowerment should be at the heart of all our development efforts. We also welcome Kenya's decision, as host country of the Second High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, to champion the issue of women's and youth economic empowerment.

Investing in and empowering youth is also vital, especially for countries as youthful as Kenya is, to effectively seize the full potential of its demographic dividend. Actions are increasingly put in place in both Europe and Africa to create more equitable opportunities for young people in education, vocational training, access to the labour market while also promoting their active citizenship and full social inclusion. Together with the Kenyan Government as well as the whole Kenyan society, we're keen to do more to support initiatives with these aims in Kenya. "Youth" (both in Africa and in Europe)-is being considered as a central theme of the Africa-EU Summit (which will take place in Abidjan next year). The next African Union summit (January 2017) is also set to take place under the theme "Harnessing demographic dividend through investments in youth", the AU's chosen topic for 2017.

In our dialogue today we've discussed with Mrs Kariuki how best EU diplomatic missions – as political partners even more than just as donors – can support Kenya's efforts to strengthen women's rights and their economic empowerment and independence and help secure the future of young people in this country.

Distributed by APO on behalf of EU Delegation to Kenya.
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