September 29th, 2016
By Matteo Tonella
The Young Peacebuilders Forum took place in The Hague for the third year in a row in September 2016. The Forum brought together 45 young peacebuilders from UNOY Peacebuilders’ member organisations as well as youth organization working in the field of peacebuilding.
This years’ Forum, the third such event organised by UNOY Peacebuilders, focused specifically on the advocacy efforts of youth peace organisations. The Forum was an opportunity to discuss UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security as well as other policies relating to youth participation in peacebuilding including European Union and Council of Europe policies. The Forum was an opportunity for the newly set up European Youth Advocacy Team, which brings the message of the youth peacebuilding movement to European decision makers, to present their work and get input and inspiration from other young peacebuilders which they will use in advocating for increased youth participation in peacebuilding.
A great part of the discussions was dedicated to understanding these policies. Forum participants reflected on how they could transform the provisions of UNSCR 2250, a legally binding document, into national policies: “During the Forum, I have developed an enhanced self-confidence in how to use Resolution 2250 to approach people and build peace” said Anca Agachi from Romania, where she was formerly Youth Delegate to the United Nations.
The Forum was also a moment of reflection and learning for participants, as they have been confronted with the experience of other people working in the field of peacebuilding in different parts of the world. The story of Fred De Pater and Ugur Tosun, working locally to study and prevent the radicalization of young people in the neighborhoods of Delft, was one of the highlights of the event. In this regard Marcelo Velazquez, president of Argentinian youth organisation OAJNU and member of UNOY Peacebuilders’ International Steering Group, underlined the importance of looking at one’s own situation from a different perspective as one of the added values of the Forum; “the energy and motivation that I received from the Forum, will be crucial in bringing back to Latin America the culture of peace intended not only as absence of war, but as a way of life as a whole”. Forum participants shared their own experiences, tools and methodologies with each other, using the opportunity of so many experts on peacebuilding being together in one space.
Aya Chebbi, of the World Peace Initiative and member of UNOY Peacebuilders’ International Steering Group representing the MENA Region, described the Forum as a unique platform thanks to the involvement of a wide range of young people all working in the field of peacebuilding in its different facets and levels: “The common goal of all participants makes the Young Peacebuilders Forum a unique platform, from which inspiration, empowerment and solidarity will come out”. Similarly Deepak Bashyal from Jagriti Child and Youth Concern Nepal said that: “the connection among young peacebuilders is one of the the most meaningful results of the Forum”.
The Young Peacebuilders Forum 2016 identified some of the challenges lying ahead for the youth peace movement, and helped lay the ground for a common understanding of the needs we face together as well as common priorities for the actions we need to undertake.
We are a global network strengthening sustainable youth-driven peacebuilding. We connect 70 youth peace organizations across 45 countries.
Our goal is to create a world where young people have the opportunity and skills to contribute to peace. We work to strengthen youth-led peacebuilding initiatives, facilitate a safe space for dialogue and conflict transformation, develop the organizational capacities of our members and to bring the voices of young people to policy makers on a regional and global level.