Maverick Citizen


This week in civil society: Activists focus on reforming parliaments, basic education and vaccine access

This week in civil society: Activists focus on reforming parliaments, basic education and vaccine access
In 2021 in South Africa, there are only 30 members of Parliament out of 400 who are under 35 years old. (Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS)

This week, civil society will raise the alarm on the dearth of young people in parliaments across the world. In South Africa, activists, academics and business people will come together to discuss the future of basic education. Fair and fast access to Covid-19 vaccines remain urgent topics.

Nearly 40% of the global population is aged between 20 and 39. Yet, only 18% of the world’s members of parliament are under 40 years old. Almost 40% of chambers of parliament have no members of parliament under 30 years old.

That is why the theme of this year’s Day of Parliamentarism is focused on youth participation. The United Nations declared this day in 2018 to highlight the importance of “strong, transparent, accountable and representative” parliamentary democracies. It says:

“With future generations destined to live with the political choices made now, it is only right that they have a seat at the decision-making table. Yet young people are underrepresented in parliaments all across the world.

“Their perspectives, ideas, talents and energy are vital to addressing many of the biggest challenges facing the international community.

“Now is the time to ensure that parliaments welcome the younger generation.”


The rest of the week…

On Monday 28 June, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung will host a virtual discussion to bring together experts and policymakers from South Africa, Colombia, the US and Germany on how to ensure fair and fast Covid-19 vaccine access for all. Special advisor to Dr Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s minister of international relations and cooperation, Zane Dangor will be part of the debate as will Lauren Paremoer, a senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town and a member of the People’s Health Movement South Africa. Join the discussion here at 3pm.

On Tuesday 29 June, the United Nations will launch the first State of the Tropics Report to mark International Day of the Tropics. The Tropics face numerous challenges — the region faces higher levels of poverty, undernourishment and climate change than the rest of the world. another hurdle is that more than 50% of its residents are not online. The new report focuses on the impact of this digital divide. Attend the virtual launch here at 7:30am.

That afternoon, various civil society organisations will come together to unpack two new reports on government accountability during the Covid-19 crisis and how this has impacted vaccine misinformation and hesitancy in African countries. Join the discussion here at 4pm.

On Wednesday 30 June, Professor Jonathan Jansen will present the keynote address at an event focused on the current state of basic education in South Africa. He will be joined in discussion by members of academia, civil society and business to unpack the future of basic education beyond the Covid-19 crisis. Join the Facebook Live event here at 6:30pm.

On Thursday 1 July, South Africa’s deputy minister of justice John Jeffery will be part of a panel alongside LGBTIQA+ rights organisations from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The focus will be on regional legal rights and reform. Join the conversation, hosted by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the Southern African Liaison Office, here at 11am. DM/MC.


"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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