UNOY Blog

UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, adopted in December 2015, requested the UN Secretary-General “to carry out a Progress Study on the youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution.”  The Progress Study was conducted as an independent, evidence-based and participatory research process, giving 4,230 young people across the world the opportunity to contribute to the discussions on the main peace and security issues facing their communities. Below is a thought-provoking piece by Ali Altiok, written on the occasion of the publication of ‘Missing Peace: Independent Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security‘ in 6 official languages of the UN. 

Since the United Nations Secretary General introduced his Plan of Action to prevent violent extremism (PVE), in 2016, numerous UN entities, from UNESCO to UNDP, have gone into overdrive to produce countless reports and develop programs on PVE to demonstrate their dedication to this “new agenda”. Regional organizations, such as the European Union and the African Union, all showed their political and financial commitments to this arguably new agenda. Numerous national governments have already developed national action plans on the prevention of violent extremism. Even key non-governmental peacebuilding organizations who work with or are run by young people, welcomed this new policy agenda and started to work in the field of PVE as well. While all these actors work for the PVE policy agenda, almost all of them also endorse the Youth, Peace and Security agenda (YPS), born through the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2250 in 2015.

This is not a surprise considering that both the PVE and the YPS emphasize the importance of youth empowerment. At the same time, we need to see the qualitative differences in the way these two fields approach youth empowerment. While the PVE agenda supports empowerment programs where young people to take a more active role in the prevention of violent extremism, the YPS agenda promotes youth empowerment in the context of fostering social inclusion and increasing youth participation in peacebuilding. Continue reading “Youth, Peace and Security: The New Kid on the Block”

Tensions in Sri Lanka have risen after violent clashes between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in central Sri Lanka. On 6 March, the government imposed a nationwide state of emergency. Our member organisation Sri Lanka Unites is working hard to bring the violence to an halt and address the underlying tensions. Below is their update on the current situation in Sri Lanka.

As a movement, Sri Lanka Unites has been on top gear looking to respond and ensure young people in our network play a positive role. We have a responsibility as the largest (non-government) youth movement in the country, especially because we have young leaders from every ethnic and religious community. We are trying to navigate our role and respond.
Continue reading “Responding to Tensions across Religious Lines in Sri Lanka”

Written by Gizem Kilinç

Accessing sustainable funding is a persistent challenge for youth organisations working in the peace and security field. In 2016, an average of 71% of the grant applications submitted by member organisations of the United Network of Young Peacebuilders were sadly unsuccessful. A majority of the youth-led organisations operate with limited funding, with 49% operating under USD 5,000 per year. The main sources of income of youth-led peace organisations come from local donations and membership contributions, as demonstrated by the report Mapping a Sector: Bridging the Evidence-base on Youth-Driven Peacebuilding.

Despite the increasing recognition of the important role of young people in peacebuilding, reflected in UN Security Council resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, existing assumptions about youth organisations still limit the kinds of investment that donors are ready to make in youth organisations. Youth are not recognised as key practitioners in the peace and security sector on an equal basis with other experts in the peacebuilding and the broader development field. Most funding schemes are designed to enable non-youth actors to work with young people as passive beneficiaries rather than supporting youth to develop and carry out their own initiatives.

Continue reading “Youth-Accessible Grantmaking: How (Not) To Do It?”

A recent global survey of youth-driven peacebuilding shows that youth-led movements and organizations are uniquely able to mobilise both youth and other community members as agents of peace, having and creating access where other organisations may not. They are successful at preventing violence in their communities, including by preventing recruitment to violent groups, and help build social cohesion and inter-faith unity. They are also the ones to deliver humanitarian assistance when national infrastructures are inadequate. The report Mapping a Sector: Bridging the Evidence Gap on Youth-Driven Peacebuilding, a descriptive analysis of the findings of the global survey, reveals that while youth around the world are engaged in noteworthy endeavours for peace with remarkable successes, they unfortunately face significant challenges. Many youth-led peacebuilding organizations operate on a budget of less than 5,000 USD per year. They encounter a lack of trust from governments and other stakeholders, leading to marginalization and sometimes even face threats of violence.

Continue reading “Five Ways in which Europe Can Move the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda Forward”


Learning that can transform intercultural conflict does not arise from a single event but throughout a process. The #Youth4Peace Training: EuroMed Peace Trainers has been carefully designed to maximise its impact and ensure its sustainability beyond the 20 young people that have completed the course. This blog will walk you through the learning cycle, highlighting the experiences of participants as we bring the project to a close.

Continue reading “The Learning Cycle of Peace”

In Nigeria, young peacebuilders have formed a coalition to push for more youth participation in addressing the country’s security challenges. In Liberia, youth are working to ensure a violence-free election process. In Cameroon, young people are working with their peers in the prison system to help them disengage from violence. Across West and Central Africa, young people are not only raising their voices for peace, but taking active measures to build peace from the ground up.

With 21 youth-led peacebuilding organisations as members of UNOY Peacebuilders, West and Central Africa has long been one of the most active regions within the network. However, coordinating all these efforts across a vast region has been a challenge. Now, with the creation of the position of Regional Coordinator for West and Central Africa, UNOY Peacebuilders is better equipped than ever before to address the region’s needs and ensure that young peacebuilders are able to work together across national boundaries.

Continue reading “Building a Closer Network in West and Central Africa”

The work of Youth Development Foundation, a UNOY Peacebuilders member organisation based in Pakistan, was featured in the newspaper Dawn in July 2017. The article is published here with the permission of Dawn.


For Kinza Roma, being the only Christian girl in college forced her to go through experiences that continue to haunt her even today.

“The discrimination I had to face varied from being taunted about my religion to being spat at whenever they passed me by,” she remembers. “They did not want to share a room with me, but that was nothing. They even made me wash the bathrooms.”
Continue reading “An Effort to Burn Bridges of Discrimination Through Interaction”

By Ludmila Andrade

The team in Strasbourg

The Council of Europe (CoE) has played a pioneering role in promoting and supporting youth participation, capacity building and active citizenship. Within the topics of democracy, rule of law and human rights, the Council has well-structured and accessible institutions and funding mechanisms for young people of the forty-seven member states. For instance, the European Youth Foundation supports several youth-led projects focused on intercultural dialogue among its members. Moreover, the No Hate Speech campaign has mobilised thousands of young people online and offline in the promotion of human rights and dignity online. Therefore, the Council’s commitment to facilitating youth participation in society indicates that it can also be a key partner in the implementation of UNSCR 2250 in Europe.

Continue reading “E-YAT’s First Mission to Strasbourg”

 

Youth for Peace International, a UNOY Peacebuilders member organisation, the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute for Youth Development, and the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN) gathered young peacebuilders from across South and South-East Asia to engage with themes including youth, peace and conflict management & transformation at a training of trainers in Chandigarh in October 2016.


Mridul Upadhyay and Omang Agarwal, of Youth for Peace International, wrote the following blog post about the background to the training and the experiences of participants.


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 “I lost my father 9 years ago. And when I chose cycling and music to empower young girls, I didn’t know it’ll make me a nominee for Nobel Peace Prize 2015”. –Zhala Sarmast, 17 years old, Afghanistan

“I had to leave my home, family and country to save my life from violence in communal riots. And now I am trying to search a meaning of this life by helping my fellow refugees.” -Ali Johar, 21 years old, Refugee in India from Myanmar

 

Thirty-seven amazing young peace-builders such as these, from India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Maldives and Malaysia attended a five-day residential training aimed at empowering young minds from South Asia on themes of Youth, Peace and Conflict Management & Transformation. The International Training of Trainers (ToT) on Youth and Peacebuilding, from 18 – 22nd October 2016, was hosted by Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD) Regional Centre, and took place in Chandigarh, India. The event was held in collaboration with Youth for Peace International (YFPI) and the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN).

Continue reading “Youth, Peace, and Conflict Management & Transformation – Empowering youth from South Asia”