Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Mohammad Al-Jabri

KUWAIT: Kuwait's Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Mohammad Al-Jabri said Wednesday the Kuwaiti youth have proven their competence in the novel coronavirus pandemic. "The COVID-19 pandemic, which shook the world and has affected countries' economies and negatively impacted sustainable development and international trade, through which Kuwaiti youth proved in a way that astonished the state with the extent of its great responsibility in helping the most institutions in the country in confronting this pandemic," the minister said in a statement marking the World Youth Day.

Kuwaiti youth contributed to hospitals, cooperative societies and were professionally trained to qualify in filling deficiency of human resources that were likely to occur in some government institutions such as the municipal apparatus, the fire department, the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society and others, he boasted.

The minister pointed to their active role in distributing goods and food in restricted areas and delivering medicines, helping the elderly, people with special needs and many other crucial actions. He added that the government of the State of Kuwait pays special attention to youth and supports them in various fields and levels, noting that his ministry is working to achieve their ambitions by adopting a number of projects related to the development of youth scientifically and intellectually.

To achieve this, Jabri explained that the Cabinet has adopted the National Youth Policy that the office of the Minister of State for Youth Affairs is working on its implementation, as the minister explained that the components of this policy lie in highlighting the creative aspects of every Kuwaiti youth so that work is done to refine them with the latest means.

Conrad Lesa, United Nations Resident Coordinator ad interim in the State of Kuwait, said: "The vast majority of pressing challenges humanity currently faces, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, wars, hunger, civil unrest and climate change require concerted global action and the meaningful engagement and participation of young people to be addressed effectively."

With young people playing a key role in the management of this outbreak and the recovery following the outbreak, young innovators are already responding to the virus through social impact innovation, he said. Around the world, several initiatives are being developed to leverage young people's efforts to generate and deliver support to at-risk populations or populations affected by the pandemic, he added.

Many youth-driven technology innovation hubs are supporting startups to develop effective solutions to address COVID-19 around the world, the UN official noted. The young population is also pivotal in curbing the spread of infections by being disciplined and complying with the recommendations of WHO and government authorities, a huge responsibility but one that can never be under-estimated nonetheless, he said.

Eltayeb Adam, UNICEF Representative to the Gulf highlighted that youth in Kuwait constitutes 72 percent of the total population, which reflects the cruciality of their role in contributing to the development and enhancement of the future of Kuwait. Subsequent to the COVID-19 outbreak, youth volunteers in Kuwait were at the frontlines supporting the Government efforts in halting the massive spread of the virus, he said. The youth volunteered in hospitals, NGOs, cooperative societies and other critical service centers to enable the country to respond to the nation-wide needs, he added.

"Shortly after declaring the COVID-19 as a global pandemic, a total of 3000 youth volunteers registered through the Public Authority for Youth, and the numbers kept increasing following the individual youth initiatives responding effectively to the society's needs," he said. "In Kuwait, young people stood up to the challenge and went above and beyond. Once again, we witness their incredible ability and creativity to find innovative solutions to all sorts of challenges," added Adam.

"Today's youth possess unique digital skills that we need to reimagine a new, better and sustainable world," he concluded. In 1999, the UN General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day. - KUNA