UNOY Blog

By Matteo Tonella

The World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 emphasized the severity of some of the most important  challenges currently facing humanity and declared the necessity to “bring humanitarian, development and peacebuilding efforts together”.

The themes at the core of the summit are very important to the work of UNOY Peacebuilders as a network of youth-led peacebuilding organisations. The network was represented by a group of young activists: Achaleke Christian Leke, Anca Gliga, Diego Cimino, Martine Kessy Ekomo, Marouane Bakit, Patrick Enwerem and Rashid Zuberu.

Asked about the achievements of the Summit, Patrick highlights the high level of commitment along the 5 Core Responsibilities envisaged by Ban Ki-moon in his “Agenda for Humanity”: “the stakeholders recognised global challenges as a shared responsibility, committed to an enhanced compliance with International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, and affirmed their responsibility to prevent and end conflicts upholding the essential participation of youth”.

The ‘Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action’, signed by over 30 UN Agencies and NGOs including UNOY Peacebuilders was the most relevant formal achievement of the Summit for youth. Building on UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security and on the Doha Youth Declaration on Reshaping the Humanitarian Agenda, it recognized the strengths of youth in the response to humanitarian situations as well as the responsibility to protect young people’s rights.

In addition to the formal conclusions of the Summit, the UNOY Peacebuilders representatives underline the positive effects descending from the gathering of a great variety of stakeholders engaged in the humanitarian field. The Summit, bringing together different perspectives to look at the challenges arising from humanitarian situations, worked as a platform for sharing points of view, experiences, knowledge and strategies, for fostering the enhancement of previously established partnerships and the creation of new connections.

Diego highlights this very aspect of the Summit affirming that “the main outcome is the momentum that it has created among the actors of the humanitarian field, which gathered for the first time all together to draw a common direction and a shared responsibility for addressing the huge humanitarian crisis all around the world. If they will be able to capitalize such a momentum, the Summit could be considered a success”.

It is however necessary for us to remain pragmatic on the achievements of the World Humanitarian Summit. Where do we stand at in facing the challenges arising from the engagement in humanitarian action after the Summit? Notwithstanding the positive recognition of the role of youth in humanitarian situations and the sincere commitment of the diverse range of stakeholders present, the absence of key governments remains a reason of concern. In addition, the true challenge starts now that the spotlights of the Summit are turned off and consists in living up to the promises made.

Looking at the unique and unprecedented level of cooperation on humanitarian issues reached at the Summit, and at the positive engagement of the representatives of the civil society, we remain optimistic on humanity’s joint capabilities to increase its commitment to addressing the major humanitarian challenges facing us. In addition, as Anca reports from the signing ceremony of the Compact for Young People, one of the key messages of the Summit is that in national and international fora “we are finally beginning to talk to youth, not only about youth”.

Ed4Peace-training (3)By Aura Jgamadze, Ludmila Andrade and Marjolein Kok, edited by Soraya Atmani

In the long-term training Education for Peace – Developing Competences for Peace Education in the Youth Field, 20 young peacebuilders are coming together to learn about peace education from each other and from UNOY Peacebuilders’ member organisations Academy for Peace and Development and coordinated by the European Intercultural Forum e. V. (Germany).

The three of us – Aura, Ludmila and Marjolein – are glad to be part of this amazing group. We are all activists from one  of the network’s newest member, Horizons: Global Youth for Justice and equality, a Dutch-based global youth movement. Horizons works with youth on building just, equal societies by means of intercultural dialogue. While striving for more inclusive and equitable societies, Horizons challenges ahistorical, ethnocentric, paternalistic, and de-politicized patterns of engaging with one another. Merely understanding the root causes of oppression and exclusion is not enough; a change in how we engage with one another is of crucial importance.

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At the first on-site training in Georgia last April we explored a holistic approach to conflict transformation and peacebuilding which involved explorations of inner peace, social peace and environmental peace, and how peace education can support those. The theoretical background was supported by a method of experiential learning, which includes simulations, role playing and other activities. All the participants were challenged to leave their comfort zone and embrace a participatory and rich experience. However, we did find that there could have been more emphasis on complex conflict situations and analysis, going beyond the surface of peace education.

Continue reading “Education for Peace – Developing Competences for Peace Education in the Youth Field”

By Dylan Jones and Matilda Flemming

There are today almost 60 million forcibly displaced people around the world. To put that in perspective, that’s a number fairly equal to the population of Italy. The most recent figures show that 51% of these displaced people are under the age of 18. Whilst there is no data available for those under 25 or 30, the youth demographic in most conflict-affected countries allows us to safely conclude that young people make up the vast majority of this enormous group.

Migrants and refugees in the Greek island of Lesbos. © IOM/Amanda Nero 2015 IOM Transit Centers, Niger.
Migrants and refugees in the Greek island of Lesbos. © IOM/Amanda Nero 2015 IOM Transit Centers, Niger.

From long-running refugee camps such as Dadaab in Kenya, to more recent crossings into Europe on the Mediterranean, and increasingly protracted situations across Southeast Asia, we know that a range of solutions are desperately needed. Trends are also changing. The traditional image of refugees living in large, concentrated camps is no longer the most accurate picture – 58% of refugees today live in cities. For those that have left their community or country, they are constantly faced with a lack of services – including healthcare and education – in uncertain situations where they may be excluded, considered illegal, at risk of discrimination and violence. These risks are compounded for women and girls; sexual based violence and the nationality of children with single mothers raise immediate protection issues, whilst access to livelihood opportunities, education and healthcare remain restricted – particularly for women-headed households.

Continue reading “Young Refugees and Peacebuilding – A Missing Link”

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By Hajer Sharief

In areas of conflict, support from the international community is often greatly needed. However, the design of this support directly affects power structures in the affected community. A crucial question is therefore: Who receives the international community’s support? Who is invited to take part in negotiations? Who is recognized as an important player and what security threats are identified and prioritized?

The UN Security Council has acknowledged the role of the international community in impacting on local power structures by recognizing the importance of an approach to peace and security which is inclusive of both women and youth. UN Security Council resolution 1325 has since its adoption in 2000 formed the basis of a policy and programming framework around women, peace and security. In 2015, resolution 2250 started the same process for youth, peace and security. However, a lot remains to be done to make achieve the full impact of these Security Council resolutions in conflict areas.

Continue reading “Affecting Power Structures:
Gender and Youth Perspectives”

We in the youth peacebuilding movement have been greatly influenced and inspired by the women, peace and security community. Women and youth are both large groups, forming roughly 50% and 25% of humanity respectively, which have been traditionally excluded from the realm of peace and security, it’s time to claim our space.

Women’s role in building peace and maintaining security was recognised by the UN Security Council in 2000 with resolution 1325 and with subsequent sister resolutions. Resolution 1325, and its sister resolutions, were among the main inspirations for the push for a resolution on youth, peace and security.

Now that resolution 2250 has been passed, it’s time to look at how these two agendas – on women, peace and security and youth, peace and security – can complement each other.

Continue reading “Complementary Agendas:
Women and Youth Building Peace”

So you want to work with youth in peacebuilding, but don’t know how to start?

UN Security Council Resolution 2250 calls for the inclusion of youth in peacebuilding and the prevention of violence. That means that policy makers, NGOs, international organisations and others all need to find out how to include youth in their work.

Here are a five top tips for working with youth in peacebuilding:

Continue reading “Youth participation 101:
Five simple tips for including youth in peacebuilding

We are very happy to present our latest research report: Youth Impact for Peace: Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning in Six European Youth Organisations!

The research was a cooperative effort of the International Secretariat of UNOY Peacebuilders and five of its European member organisations, namely Service Civil International Service Civil International (SCI), The Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR), Fundació Catalunya Voluntària (FCV), The European Intercultural Forum e. V. (EIF) and International Centre for the Promotion of Education and Development (CEIPES), supported by independent researcher and former UNOY staff, Celina Del Felice.

Continue reading “Strengthening Organisational Capacities to Build Peace: Research Report”

“…engaging young people positively and giving them a stake in their societies during the transition period after violent conflict is important for long-term peace and security.”

The UN Inter-Agency Working Group on Youth Participation in Peacebuilding, which UNOY Peacebuilders co-chairs with the UN Peacebuilding Support Office and Search for Common Ground, has just published a Practice Note, titled Young People’s Participation in Peacebuilding in cooperation with the Peace Nexus Foundation.

The Practice Note provides examples of good practice in young people’s participation in peacebuilding. It highlights the work of a wide range of actors including NGOs, UN agencies, national governments and others, demonstrating young people’s role building peace in diverse contexts. It is the active cooperation, support and sharing of these different actors that made the Practice Note possible. Practice note

This Practice Note is both evidence of the positive role of young people in peacebuilding and a guide for policymakers and donors, who are provided with an insight into key strategic and programming considerations for supporting young people’s participation in peacebuilding. This Practice Note also constitutes an important effort in trying to ensure that the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security is implemented at regional, national and local levels.

This Practice Note:

  • Summarizes the situation of youth living in conflict-affected environments.
  • Stresses the importance of investing in youth and peacebuilding.
  • Explores existing assumptions and theories of change concerning youth and peacebuilding.
  • Provides an overview of key issues and promising practices in different sectors and thematic areas.
  • Provides overarching recommendations for donors and policymakers.

We strongly encourage policymakers and donors to explore this Practice Note and take advantage of its recommendations!

At UNOY Peacebuilders, we have been advocating for a strengthened policy framework in the shape of a Security Council Resolution around youth, peace and security since 2012. With the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2250, let’s take a look back over the process of the past years and tell the story of this journey.

In 2012, we restarted our Youth Advocacy Team with the support of Cordaid. The Youth Advocacy Team is made up of young peacebuilders from around the world, bringing youth voices on peace and security to high-level policy makers. It had previously been active in 2005-2007 successfully advocating for a Culture of Peace at the UN level but by 2012 the team had lain dormant for four years.

Continue reading “The path towards a Security Council Resolution on Youth, Peace and Security”

On 9 December 2015 the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace & Security. The historical document is the first of its kind to recognize the positive role young people play in building sustainable peace and to lay out the need for governments and other stakeholders to support young people in this role. It represents a landmark for the participation of young people involved in transforming conflict, peacebuilding and countering violence.

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With a larger global youth population than ever before, there is a demographic and democratic imperative to meaningfully involved youth in matters of peace and security, especially considering how conflicts impact on young people’s lives and futures.

Continue reading “UN Security Council adopts resolution on Youth, Peace and Security”