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.
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:
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.
“…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.
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.
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.
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.
“Today youth in Afghanistan play a crucial role as Afghanistan civil society organizations are mostly run by young people. However, the tribal and Jihadi leaders remain as obstacles ahead of youth in political decision-making processes. Despite this reality, more than any time before, youth in Afghanistan is now more aware of their environment and contemporary issues. Afghans for Progressive Thinking (APT), a youth-led organization and a member of UNOY Peacebuilders, demonstrates the fact that Afghan youth are now working not only on the national level but on international platforms too. Recently, I (APT) attended the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security, in Jordan. In the Global Forum, youth representatives from all over the world adopted the Amman Youth Declaration on Youth, Peace and Security that calls on United Nations, international agencies and national governments to take serious actions regarding issues pertaining youth and also youth commitment by implementing the actions points of the declaration.
Rashid Zuberu (30) is the founder of Young Peace Brigades, one of our member organizations located in Ghana. Rashid is also a member of International Steering Group (ISG) and focal point for the Sub-Saharan youth advocacy team on the Amman Youth Declaration. Earlier this month he was in the Netherlands for the Young Peacebuilders Forum and the Annual ISG Meeting. He took the opportunity to be interviewed by Cordaid and talk about the importance of empowering youth, the challenges faced by young people and the importance of a UN Security Council resolution on Youth, Peace and Security. According to him: “A UNSCR would give 600.000 million young people in conflict-affected countries a bigger tool to force their leaders and representatives to listen to them”.
Four young peacebuilders from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Norway joined this mission, accompanied by YAT’s advisor Meg Villanueva (Philippines) and UNOY’s Leading Coordinator, Matilda Flemming. The team had an active role before, during and after the Summit as Matilda facilitated part of the prep-meeting with the youth participants and Meg facilitated the event. Moreover, two participants of the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security were key speakers during the Summit: Yousef Assidiq, co-founder of the Norwegian organization JustUnity, and Achaleke Leke, from Cameroon. They shared their inspiring stories of how they became agents of positive change after being involved in violent extremism.Their participation was featured in the British newspaper The Guardian. UNOY International Secretariat also coordinated the draft of the Summit’s outcome document, the Youth Action Agenda to Prevent Violent Extremism and Promote Peace, with support from Search for Common Ground.
As part of our pledge to young people, Local Youth Corner Cameroon in collaboration with Action for Change Cameroon organized a Post Youth CVE Summit restitution Workshop with youths in Cameroon.
The title of the workshop was “Youth, Peace and Violent Extremism” and the theme was “Sustainable Peace and Nation Building: A Requirement for Cameroon’s Emergence by 2035”. This event was held on 16 October 2015 at the National Youth Children Correction Centre, Bostal Institute.