Category Archives: Campaigns

UN Security Council Resolution 2250 Reminds Us that Peace is Possible

Co-authored by Hussein Nabeil Murtaja, UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board Representative for Arab Regions and member of Advisory Group of Experts for Progress Study on Youth, Peace, and Security

The United Nations (UN) Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2250 at the end of 2015. This is the first resolution of its kind that recognizes and promotes young people’s role as peace-builders. To achieve the vision of this resolution, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the formation of a 21-member Advisory Group of Experts for Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security that will ‘carry out a progress study on the youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution, in order to recommend effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels.’ Aligning with the spirit of the resolution, this panel included nine young people under the age of 30 who have been helping prepare the report, which will be delivered to the Security Council in December of this year.

The Arab region and the Middle East region are most affected by the emergence of terrorist and tycoon groups that destroyed cities and displaced thousands of people. It has also contributed to and compounded by issues such as corruption, unemployment, migration, refugee resettlement, education and health, and violations of the rights of women and children. Given their social, economic, and political vulnerability and marginalization, it is clear that many terrorists are youth. Among others, the solicitation of youth to join terrorist organizations have led to their absence in the peace-building process.

Resolution 2250 calls for the protection of young people from all kinds of extremism, which we now see through providing a stimulating work and social environment, policies and mechanisms to enable them to contribute effectively to peace-building, and promoting a culture of tolerance and respect for religions. This requires the effective and institutional integration of young people into their societies, enhancing inclusive education, providing jobs that meet their needs.

United Nations
Poster on UNSC Resolution 2250.

Call for recognition of power of youth from informal settlements at UN General Assembly

New York, 22 September 2017 – Youth took centre stage at the United Nations General Assembly, calling to be liberated from the margins and welcomed into the centre of decision-making, based not only on their right to be there but their actions in creating economically and socially inclusive and dynamic societies.

The Cities for All event brought together young people from Kenya, France and Zimbabwe with UN Women and UN-Habitat to discuss how world leaders can support youth’s meaningful engagement in decision making at all levels of government with the goal of achieving the 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda (NUA).

The event highlighted how the provision of urban space can facilitate youth’s engagement. This meeting followed the visit of the UN Secretary-General to the Mathare informal settlement in Nairobi Kenya during the 2017 International Women’s Day.

The session, which began with a video shot by the One Stop Mathare Environmental Youth Conservation Group, outlined the journey they went through to acquire a space in the middle of the slums and how they created in this space through garbage collection and recycling, and how this space became central to the economic and social well-being of the community.

Young people at the core of advancement

Currently the One Stop and adjoining football pitch are the only public space serving a population of more the 35,000 inhabitants. It is the same facility that the Secretary-General visited during his visit to Kenya following his appointment as the new UN Secretary General, and engaged in dialogue with youth from the One Stop, inaugurated the Slum Football Pitch, and met with young women political aspirants supported by UN Women.

Researcher Tone Vesterhus followed the video, launching UN-Habitat’s new report

Youth, Informality And Public Space: A Qualitative Case Study on the Signi cance of Public Space for Youth in Mlango Kubwa, Nairobi.

“This research had the aim of examining whether public spaces play a role in improving the lives of young people,” said Vesterhus, “And while concluding that public space certainly does play a role in advancing this community, the political strategies and diplomatic abilities of the young people in the village are at the core of these advancements.”

Vesterhus went on to detail the challenges faced by youth in the slums spatially, socially and politically, framing the session and ensuing conversation.

The strength of communities

UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Jon Clos spoke at the session, highlighting the linkages between economic, spatial and social equity. He commended the efforts of the young men and women in reclaiming their dignity through the creation of the One Stop Centre.

“Public spaces are for the public good and should be protected by the community,” said Dr Clos. “The rich and people in authority will use all means to grab the last space and it is only the strength of the communities that will help them defend and protect the available public spaces.”

He went on to reflect on the video from the Mathare youth, and how they used economic means to create a social good.

“The youth in Mathare have cleared and recycled garbage to reclaim the public space which now the entire population is currently using,” he stated, “Urbanization can be done; what we need is the political will. It is not expensive, it is doable.”

Women as entrepreneurs and decision makers

Maria Noel Vaeza, Director of Programme Division for UN Women called for gender equality, highlighting the many intersecting barriers women face.   “In over 189 countries women can’t inherit land, that means they cannot build houses, which is a basic need; in 76 countries women cannot access credit facilities without a man’s signature,” said Director Vaeza, “yet women make up the most entrepreneurs; who without credit facilities cannot implement their initiatives.”

She applauded the fact that in Mathare women were playing football, often represented as an all male sport, and were engaged in running for political office.

Three youth representatives spoke at the session and all focused on promoting the rights of youth living in slums, especially young women. Mureil Vincent, representing the Huairou Commission, a global network of women’s groups, stressed that women need to be included in governance and decision making, especially as decision making related to the localizing of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“We need to create political space for women,” stated Ms. Vincent, “this can be done by building and empowering grassroots women’s networks.”

Annah Sango, representing Zimbabwe Young Positives, a youth-led group fighting to improve the lives of those living with HIV, also advocated for the engagement of young women in the community, promoting “models of social responsibility where the community takes charge”.

Towards an asset-based community development model

Wrapping the session up was Linus Sijenyi, project coordinator for UN-Habitat, who highlighted the challenges faced by youth living in the slums including unemployment, disease and drug and substance abuse, and called for practical solutions.

“We must face these challenges as we saw my brother, Isaac Musua, do in Mathare,” stated Sijenyi, referring to the Mather Environmental video. “I propose an asset based approach, such as John Mcknight’s Asset Based Community Development model, which builds on the successes the community already has, and thus guarantees ownership and sustainability, and empowers groups such as young men and women to adequately address their needs.”

By the end of the session it was clear that all the speakers needed no convincing that young women and men played leadership roles in their communities, and that it was the role of the UN and other agencies to provide support to them both in the provision of public space as well as supporting directly youth-led groups and activities.

“It is messy, I always say that Nairobi is messy. It’s messy, noisy, and has fumes all over,” said one Mathare youth respondent to the Youth Informality report. “But I always tell the youth…that out of all this mess, we have some gold. Crime is not the answer. Youth is our gold. Out of the fumes, the garbage, the blocked drainages, there is some gold.”

Continue reading Call for recognition of power of youth from informal settlements at UN General Assembly

Youth #Together4Peace on International Peace Day

Nairobi, 21 September 2017 – Youth, diplomats and local leaders came to the UN Office of Nairobi today to celebrate International Peace Day.

Hosted by UN-Habitat, the event highlighted some of the work that the agency is doing around the world to promote the active role that youth are playing in peace building and keeping.

UN Under-Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director, Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, said that the event was a reminder of “the commitment of youth, that you do not want to be passive participants, but leaders in your own futures.”

(Far Left) David Kariuki, UN-Habitat Staff moderating open discussions during International Day of Peace

Elizabeth Taylor Jay, The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Colombia to Kenya and Chol M. U. Ajongo, South Sudan Ambassador to Kenya both drew on their countries’ own experience in drawn-out conflict to highlight the challenge of building lasting peace.

Respect, safety and dignity for all

As Mr Ajongo said: “You lose nothing when you talk of peace; you lose everything when you talk of war.”

The session went on to include discussions with youth groups on the role that sport can play in peace-building and development, under the theme of the day –  “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” – with a special focus on the engagement of young men and women in peace building.

Meanwhile in New York, UN-Habitat also hosted a youth and peace event in the sidelines of the General Assembly with the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake.

Youth Gathering in South Korea Call for Peace

More than 500 youth from Korea and 19 countries around the world gathered in Goyang, republic of Korea to state their firm commitment to the peace agenda and youth involvement.

The conference, focused on peace as the theme for 2017 International Youth Day through the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. It was hosted by Youth Now and UN-Habitat supported by the Seoul Housing, Happiness Foundation, Korea Tourism Organization, Goyang City, KINTEX, Kyuongki CVB.

The highlights of the discussions were on the youth commitment to peace, especially in the context of the ongoing tension between North Korea and the world. Examples of Somalia and Kenya which is currently experiencing some level of instability were echoed.

“We call leaders globally to immediately begin a dialogue for peace in the Korean Peninsula. And youth who participated in the Youth week agreed unanimously to take appropriate action towards sustainable peace for the world.

‘We are here to find the connection between the SDGs which is the UN template for sustainable growth and peace’ Kim Juyong, Executive Director of Youth Now, “We cannot continue to go down this insane path of destruction; all the youth gathered here from all cities across South Korea and around the world must make a declaration of working towards sustainable peace. We expect that our leaders should lead from the front”

Mayor Choi Song of Goyang City told the gathered youth “You are the hope for peace for the Korean peninsula and around the world … Goyang City will take the initiative in promoting international movements for peaceful unification in cooperation with peace leaders worldwide.” The Mayor also declared the week April 13 – 15 International Peace week in Goyan City.

Linus Sijenyi of UN Habitat representing Mr Douglas Ragan said ‘The world is experiencing numerous challenges today. Lack of employment, the rise of terror groups, climatic changes which cause massive destruction of life and properties, all these have contributed to massive instabilities across the globe. Deliberate and concrete efforts has to be put in place to ensure the youth have gainful employment, deliberate policies put in place to secure the place of the youth in the society, police and other law enforcers to work together with the youth to ensure peace and to avoid this assumptions that the youth are the problems but actually the solutions.

Linus Sijenyi of UN Habitat

Other speakers who echoed similar sentiments include Changheum, Byun CEO, Seoul Housing And Communities Corporation, Teayoon KIm, representing the youth, Youngseo Min, chair of advisory committee, Doyoung Kim CSR team leader, SK broadband, Donyun Kim, Professor, Sungkyunkwan University, Mr. Yossi (Offer, CofoundDevelopment Jerusalem, Mr. Nguyen Quang, Programme Manager, UN-Habitat Vietnam Office. As a way of providing opportunities to the youth as the ambassadors of peace, youth delegates promised to mobilize resources to initiate an e-sport center in Kibera and Mathare Kenya.

This will provide employment as well as act as exchange programme centers for the Korean students.


UN-Habitat Celebrates Youth, Peace and Sustainability

UN-Habitat, the UN programme for sustainable urban development, is celebrating youth, peace and sustainability leading up to the International  Day of Peace on 21 September.

The goal of this celebration is to raise the awareness of the general public about the vital role of young men and women in peace building.

According to UNDP, more than 600 million young people live in fragile and conflict-affected regions and countries. But beyond their status as victims, the International Day of Peace, with the theme “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All,” aims to recognize the role young people play as agents for peace.

“Today, thousands of young women and men work tirelessly, often under very dangerous conditions and with very little support or recognition, to build peace and promote security for all…[Young people} are the most valuable force: we have to shape a better future,”said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

This celebration will consist of a number of on and offline events culminating in the International Peace Day Celebration at the United Nations compound in Nairobi, Kenya. The event on 21 September will bring together dignitaries and youth to celebrate and advocate for youth and peace globally.

The online events will highlight evidence-based promising practices in youth peace building –  such as the Colombia Urban Peace Labs initiative –  and peace building projects and activities in gender, governance and sports.

“As youth we should keep on engaging in developing our communities by using whatever resources we get either from the government or through our organizations. Our unity and idea’s are what we have for now and we don’t have to bleed so that they lead, but we can lead our generation to a better tomorrow,” said Isaac Mwasa, Coordinator One Stop Environmental Centre, Mathare, Kenya 

We encourage the media and public to join our online conversations to learn about innovative research and practices that show great promise in the field of youth peace building. Youth are called upon to air challenges affecting youth in urban places and contribute possible solutions to mitigate contributing negative factors.

The attached fact sheet provides a schedule for the IPM events and key hash tags throughout the month.

For more information about International Peace Day event, please visit: UN-Habitat Youth

To arrange feature interviews with project coordinators, contact:

Douglas Ragan, Chief, Youth and Livelihoods Unit, Email:

Or Jeanette Elsworth, Head of Press and Media:

International Peace Month Events:

Urban Peace Lab Training (28 Aug to 2 Sept , Cali, Colombia)

The ten youth groups selected will undergo a week long training undertaken by UN-Habitat, SENA, Ashoka and IMPACT HUB in the areas of small business development, social entrepreneurship, social innovation, peace building and programme management.


Awarding of the Urban Peace Labs recipients (29 Aug Colombia, Nairobi).The Urban Peace Labs initiative is a partnership between UN-Habitat and Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA) with the goal of promoting peace and entrepreneurship amongst Colombian youth. Ten youth groups will be awarded grants to undertake social entrepreneurship projects that advance the goal of peace in Colombia.


Inclusive Cities Summit (29 – 30 Aug)
The Inclusive Cities Summit will bring together leaders to translate the New Urban Agenda into a Toronto and Canadian cities context. The Summit will examine how we can build better cities, and based on trends, a better world of the future through a New Urban Agenda and 2030 Agenda lens that also advances the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Innovate Counties Challenge (3 to 7 Sept )

The project seeks to establish ICT based mechanisms for democratic and inclusive participation at local level to enhance youth engagement in local governance in Kenyan small and medium sized cities. The project seeks to accomplish increased youth participation in decision-making processes at the local county government level and; Increase transparency and accountability of local county governments.

#InnovativeYouth4Peace     #IYP

Sports and Peace Building (8 – 12 Sept)

UN-Habitat is committed to continue using sports as a powerful tool for building culture of peace in conflict and post-conflict countries. Organized sport activities are regularly delivered to vulnerable and marginalized young people in the One Stop Youth Centers, unique model of community youth hubs set up to mobilize, empower and inspire the young generation to become active citizens and contributors to the efforts of rebuilding their countries.


Peace Now! – Goyang, South Korea (13 – 17 Sept)

On International Youth Day 2017, 500 youth gathered in Goyang, South Korea and launched the Peace Now! Declaration calling for immediate cessation of hostile intent: in the Korean peninsula and the start of talks leading to peace. The initiative is part of the Youth 21 youth and good governance programme which seeks to engage youth in


International Peace Day Celebration – UN Compound and Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya (21 September)

The event will highlight evidence-based promising practices in youth peace building, such as: the Urban Peace Labs initiative; gender and peace building; governance and peace building; sports and peace building  The event will be graced by Elizabeth Taylor Jay, Colombian Ambassador to Kenya, Aisa Kaciyra; Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat; Isaac Musa, Coordinator, Mathare Environmental One Stop Centre, and others.



#Urban Action Game On!

The countdown is on! Since the adoption of the New Urban Agenda in Quito in October 2016, we’ve been working with our partners, AIESEC International, to develop a global campaign and a game to spark the real action of young people in their cities that will contribute towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.

To celebrate that young people were recognized as key stakeholders in the drafting process of the New Urban Agenda as well as in its implementation, we want to put them in the front line of action to turn NUA from paper to reality. The power of 1.8 billion is not just in its volume! Young people’s potential, capacity, passion and drive are the reasons we believe they can be the first ones to act! Unlike governments, they have the freedom and flexibility to start working immediately and we want to ensure that every young person out there feels the same way.

At the occasion of UN-Habitat’s 26th Governing Council, Ms. Tanya Landysheva from AIESEC International paid us a visit in Nairobi to help us launch this exciting game.

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#Urban Action is part of a larger campaign to engage youth on the Road to 2030, Youth 4 Global Goals. To make it all more fun and engaging, we’ve created a game around the process and results. The game revolves around all SDGs and their relation to SDG 11. The main mission is to create better cities while fighting typical urban challenges along the way. 16 challenges posted weekly shall contribute to creating nicer, safer, more resilient, and more sustainable cities, thus not only hitting SDG 11. targets but also significantly contributing to implementing the New Urban Agenda.

While we’re still fixing some last details, stay tuned and keep checking the website so you don’t miss the start! Game on!

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UN-Habitat’s Youth Advisory Board at GC 26!!


YAB GC story pic
YAB hosted by the United Nations Association of Germany in Berlin for talks with representatives of the Government of Germany, Mayor of Berlin and stakeholders. 

Mandated by the UN-Habitat Governing Council, the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board (YAB) will be participating in the 26th Governing Council of UN-Habitat, ready to represent the voices of the global youth that elected the board in 2015.


To bring together all the youth joining the GC, UN-Habitat’s youth unit and the YAB are hosting youth caucuses every morning to discuss important developments at the GC and to organize that the various youth representatives speak with a coherent voice.


In addition, the YAB members will be involved in various events and consultations. On Monday, May 8th Margaret Koli, African representative on the YAB, will give input at a side event on “Combating poverty and promoting peace through job creation. Opportunities for young people.” On Tuesday, May 9th Jonas Freist-Held, European representative on the YAB will join a special session on housing in Europe, led by the German government and will give insights on challenges young people face in Europe.


The week’s highlight will be the YAB’s side event “From Rhetoric to Action: The UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board and the Berlin Declaration” with high level panelists such as UN-Habitat’s DED, YAB members, and representatives of the German GIZ, the European UN-Habitat office, UN MGCY as well as the Russian youth representative and the Norwegian delegate.

Global Survey of Youth-led Peacebuilding Organizations and Initiatives

UNOY Peacebuilders and Search for Common Ground have been working with the  Secretariat for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security to develop a global survey of youth-led peacebuilding organizations and initiatives.

The purpose is to map youth organizations and initiatives building peace and preventing violence, to identify what they are doing, what impact they have made and their needs and goals for the future.

The survey will be one of the key ways of collecting data for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security, forming a direct way for young people to have their work represented in the study. It will also be used to create a publicly available database of consenting youth peacebuilding organizations and initiatives.

Does your organization fit the following?

  • Youth-led: The organization or initiative is primarily made up of, and driven by (including leadership positions) young people. Resolution 2250 defines young people as falling within the age range of 18-29 years old, while taking into account the variations of defining the youth that may exist in different contexts.
  • Working on peace and security: Implementing actions that aim to build peace, prevent violence, transform conflict and actively contribute to establish sustainable peace in their community, nation or region.

If so, please take part in the survey!

The survey is composed of 5 sectons which include areas of work and methods, results and impact, challenges and issues, and recommendations. it will take around around 30 min to complete the survey.

If you have any questions about the survey, please write to



It’s World Cities Day!

It’s a World Cities Day! So what are you doing to make your city a better place?


Since 2013, the 31st October is designated to celebrate the world’s cities and draw attention to its opportunities and challenges. In fact, the whole month of October was dedicated to promote better urban future, with Habitat III – the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development as a highlight of the month. The conference brought over 30,000 delegates to the Ecuadorian Capital Quito to discuss the way forward for our cities in the next 20 years and representatives of all the member states who took it upon them to commit to deliver on the newly adopted New Urban Agenda.


But the change and advancement of our cities is not only up to our governments. We young people have equal responsibility to contribute to making our cities more liveable, sustainable, safe and resilient. And how are we going to do it? That’s up to you! There are no “one size fits all” guidelines. The world’s cities are as diverse as our societies, with their unique structures, cultural heritage and vibrant people. They require individual approach that takes into consideration all its special features. It is up to you to be creative and design a plan of action that is doable, smart and impactful.


Motivated? Great! Join the #UrbanAction, a global campaign to encourage young people all over the world to take action in their cities to advance SDGs and support NUA. Sign up and share your ideas, your plan of action, struggles and victories with the others! Inspire them! Motivate them! Join them! Together we can do so much more than on our own! In the spirit of the SDG 17, let’s build unbreakable partnerships between all segments of society and make our urban future better.


Celebrate World #CitiesDay!! UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda show how investing in cities advances progress across societies.” – UNSG

The world is celebrating cities — join in!! Following the highly successful Habitat III conference , the world is now focused on how cities can be #Cities4All and a positive force sustainable development and the achievement of both the 2030 Agenda and the NUA.

Please watch UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s World #CitiesDay message.

If you want to get involved please follow us our on Facebook a UN-Habitat Youth, or twitter at @unhabitatyouth, and the #UrbanAction campaign.