In continuation of their partnership in 2018, WIIS and the TRENDS Research & Advisory organized a global conference on “Youth and Sustainable Peace” to continue their partnership. The UN Security Council has adopted two major resolutions calling on all states to increase the role youth play in peace-building, conﬂict resolution, and conﬂict prevention. As set out in the latest UN Secretary-General view of youth participation in matters of international peace and security, it is imperative to create spaces for youth to voice their concerns and participate in decision-making processes in order create an inclusive shared vision and lasting peace. Furthermore, the UN Security Council calls for youth to be part of discussions and decisions that impact a range of security‑related areas. On September 24, 2018, The UN introduced its latest Youth Strategy, which creates a framework on how to engage youth to further international peace and security. The conference was timed to discuss the launch of the UN strategy and embody the spirit of the resolution by featuring youth panelists.
The event consisted of a Young People Forum and two discussion panels. The panels focused on direct youth participation and brought together UAE youth and global representatives.
Young Peoples Forum on UN Youth Strategy, Fifth Priority Peace and Resilience Building
The Young Peoples Forum explored how the international community can further develop innovative ways to engage youth and heighten their participation nationally, regionally, and globally the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda. The forum speakers identified key obstacles to engaging young people and how to overcome them. In addition, the forum also identified opportunities to engage with young women and men. Through their lived experience, the forum speakers shared best practice in facilitating and supporting and sustaining the inclusion of the views of young people in security‑related discussions. The speakers used the framework of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to share their best practices and lived experience.
Panel 1: Youth, Gender and Peace
The first panel Youth,Gender and Peace a provided an analysis of the gender dimensions of this agenda and its intersections with the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. WIIS President, Chantal de Jonge Oudraat moderated the panel alongside panelist and WIIS Senior Program Assistant, Nadia Crevecoeur. The panel also provided a general overview of the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda, the implications of defining youth, and the genesis of Youth, Peace, and Security. Panelists identified the challenges of engaging with young women and men.
Panel 2: Empowering Youth for Sustainable Peace
The second panel Empowering Youth for Sustainable Peace assessed the current contributions from youth in advancing peace and security and presented examples of young people’s participation, empowerment, and partnership-working with Governments to influence change and identify best practices. The panel consisted only of youth speakers. Each speaker shared how young people can be agents of change and how they can be invited and supported to participate. The panelists also shared how peer and role model approaches, can develop the confidence of a future generation of young people.
The panelists explained how they participate in international peace, why they participate, what challenges they faced and what was the outcome of their experiences. They were also asked, based on their experiences, what recommendations they have for getting more young people involved in issues of peace and security.
The conference highlighted the following areas as potential ways to move forward:
- Youth – it is important that any event discussing the role of youth includes youth in the insights presented in the discussions.
- Researchers/Thought leadership – there exists across the UAE a wide range of organizations and individuals working directly on youth engagement matters who were interested in the discussions.
The relevance and importance of this topic cannot be understated, making it a matter of wide interest.
- Creating a range of effective/best practice examples for further research and briefings.
- Reinforce and expand skills and knowledge amongst the youth participants to support their own engagement.
- Encourage greater empowerment amongst youth to participate in, and support, initiatives in this field.
- Generating networks and knowledge sharing between youth and other stakeholders.