Young people call for a seat at the peace table

May 19, 2017

This week, 40 young peacebuilders, from 20 countries, gathered in Bangkok to craft recommendations for sustaining peace in Asia and the Pacific.

In recent years, the region has witnessed growing violent extremism that have threatened the security and stability of societies across the world. This is a growing concern for the security of the Asia-Pacific region.

The United Nations and its partners see young people among the key demographics that can play an effective role in creating and sustaining peace.

The participants, some of the region’s most driven peace advocates, were brought together as part of a series of regional consultations for the United Nations Secretary General’s Progress Study on UN Security Council Resolution (SCR) 2250. The Asia-Pacific United Nations Interagency Network on Youth convened the meeting by gathering young activists, government representatives and peacebuilding practitioners on Youth, Peace and Security.

The consultation presented an important opportunity to support a strategic dialogue between young people working on peace and security issues, civil society organizations, and regional partners and institutions working on SCR 2250 to support concrete change on the ground.

 Paramount to their recommendations were including young people at the peace table, as well as:

  • Localizing content for peace studies and better resources for teachers to teach in class
  • Involving local youth experts to review and evaluate youth peacebuilding projects
  • Developing National Action Plans for SCR 2250 and localizing frameworks to support implementation of 2250
  • Calling for a legally binding International Convention on Youth, Peace and Security
  • Ensuring the inclusive (age, gender, ethnicity, race, religion) participation of youth in decision making and policy making and peace processes to ensure implementation and monitoring, and promoting their role as young citizens of the state

These recommendations and other contributions will feed into a Consolidated Reply that will expand the knowledge base available on the role of young people in sustaining peace and support the development of the Progress Study on Youth, Peace & Security mandated by UNSCR 2250.

Peacebuilders #SayUrPeace

youth4peace

Throughout the consultation, we asked participants and partners to "say your peace" in the form of a ten second twitter video. Here are some of their responses:

“Sustaining peace for me is not only the absence of war and terrorism but an environment where we can live within in it.” – female youth participant

“Peace is our way of life.” – Male youth participant

“LGBT persons should be able to live in peace and free from discrimination.” – Male youth participant

“Sustainable Peace means peace at the community level and the individual level.” – Male youth participant

“Peace means international friendships towards peaceful leadership.” – Female youth participant

“Peace is a basic human right that we can do and express ourselves without fear and intimidation.” – Male youth participant

“Without engaging youth, we won’t be able to create enduring peace. So let’s all get involved and work with youth to make it possible.” – Helen Clark

Asia-Pacific Youth for Peace Initiative

Commit card

Recognizing the importance of young people's role in peace and security, the Security Council, in December 2015, urged Member States to consider ways to give youth a greater voice in decision-making at the local, national, regional and international levels. Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2250 (2015), which defined youth as persons aged 18 through 29, the Council also urged Member States to consider setting up mechanisms that would enable young people to participate meaningfully in peace processes and conflict resolution.

With this resolution in place, the United Nations Asia-Pacific Working Group on Youth has launched the #Youth4Peace Initiative that encourages Governments, at all levels of decision-making, to participate and commit to including young people, with special attention given to young women, in the peace process. This initiative is led by young people with the support of the United Nations.

To download the commit card visit here.