Category Archives: Post-Conflict

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! https://www.youth4peace.info/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 survey@unoy.org

 

 

Celebrating Youth and Peacebuilding: A Statement from UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director, Aisa Kaciyra

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UN-Habitat believes in the full and meaningful engagement of youth, especially those in situations of conflict. It is estimated that a 600 million young people are living in conflict zones or fragile states, many of them in the cities and towns of the world. We at UN-Habitat engage these youth, either directly or in partnership with local and national governments, seeking to partner with them to improve their lives and that of their communities. Programmes such as the Urban Youth Fund and the One Stop Youth Resource Centres have directly supported tens of thousands of youth in these situations, from Mogadishu, Somalia to Saana, Yemen.

Our engagement in laying the groundwork for this resolution – through our initial support for the creation of the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) Sub-Working Group on Youth Participation in Peacebuilding, through to our strong support of the Guidelines on Young People’s Participation in Peacebuilding and the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security and subsequent Amman Youth Declaration – demonstrates our strong and sustainable commitment to the cause of youth and peacebuilding globally.

UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security is a paradigm shift away from the idea of young people being seen as a threat to security towards them taking leadership roles in transforming violent conflict to peaceful co-existence. The resolution calls on all stakeholders to engage young women and men as partners in this process. SCR 2250 is a ground breaking achievement. For the first in its history, the Security Council recognizes that young men and women play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security. Equally as important, SCR 2250 recognizes that local government play a key role in peacebulding, and are a key partner for youth and others to assure any just and sustainable peace.

This resolution offers hope to the countries and communities plagued by violence; it is a framework which will give hope to the many youth who are struggling to bring about peace. We at UN-Habitat know through our programmes that youth are actively engaged day to day in creating peaceful environments.

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In the city of Mogadishu, Somalia, youth are coming together with UN-Habitat, local government and community members to build a One Stop Youth Resource centre. This urban public space will be one of peace as well as one of hope, where training in a range of skills from carpentry to tailoring will be offered for young men and women. The One Stop will as well be a place for youth to gather, to plan, to dream and implement programmes which better the City.

Following the passing of SCR 2250, UNSOM with the support of civil society and UN agencies such as UN-Habitat, convened over 150 young people from across Somalia to discuss concrete action points on how the Amman Declaration and ‪SCR 2250. The event was well attended, including officials from the Somali government. This event demonstrates the clear desire of youth to be heard in peacebuilding.

 

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In the City of Hebron, Palestine, young people supported by UN-Habitat and the local government were actively engaged to strengthen the spirit of volunteerism and civic engagement in their community. The project was aimed at engaging young women who were trained at a local youth centre to employ skills they gained to enhance the beauty of the center and at the same time set an example for other young people in the community.

These examples demonstrate how youth take leadership in their day to day lives to create peaceful and prosperous environments for their communities, and underline that their capacities to actively be engaged in shaping lasting peace and contributing to justice and reconciliation and that a large youth population presents a unique demographic dividend the can contribute to lasting peace and economic prosperity if inclusive policies are in place.

15 years after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 recognized the role of women in maintaining international peace and security, the adoption of SCR 2250 marks that beginning of a new Youth, Peace and Security agenda for the Council. The Resolution will support young women and men working in this field through acknowledging them by the most powerful body of the United nations, underlining the essential nature of their work and efforts to support a durable peace.

This Resolution also comes at a critical time as we move to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals; more particularly Goal 16 which promotes peaceful and inclusive societies.

I salute the leadership from the Government of Jordan and commend his Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II for bringing the voice of youth to the Security Council. I am very proud of the United Nations and our partners who have been at the forefront of collaborating with civil society on expanding the definition of peace and security to include young men and women.

We at UN-Habitat commit to working with our local government partners to implement this resolution, and advance the issue of youth and peacbuilding globally.

 

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Youth and Conflict

UN-Habitat´s work in engaging youth as positive stakeholders in fragile states is developing strategies to engage in national youth policies in Somalia and Afghanistan. Part of the discussions are with the Secretary-General´s Envoy on Youth, the World Bank and Search For Common Ground on how to ensure the trickle-down effect of seeing youth as assets and not as troublemakers. There is a growing recognition globally that youth can play a positive role in building peace even in the most fragile of states.  We have seen both in Somalia and Afghanistan government and youth working together to craft national policies and develop programmes that assure youth’s engagement in governance. In the Democratic Republic of Congo youth and peacebuilding centres are being established based on the successful Kimisigara One Stop Youth Resource Centre in Kigali, Rwanda. The discussion in New York highlighted different models of youth engagement in peacebuilding in fragile states, with the goal to initiating a discussion on the factors that go into creating successful initiatives, and what the roles of youth, local and national governments, and the UN have in supporting these.

 

Amman Youth Declaration Calls For Action From Local Governments On Peacebuilding

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August 22, 2015
After many months consultations and engaging youth globally, the Amman Youth Declaration  was adopted by the over 400 youth delegates attending the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security held in Amman, Jordan on August 21/22, 2015. The Declaration is the first of its kind to address youth and peacebuilding issues.
The Declaration calls for the full engagement of youth and youth-led organizations in issues of peace and security. Unique to the declaration is its strong focus on local authorities. As UN-Habitat has often stated, the first port of call for youth is local government; the inclusion of this in the Declaration is a strong step towards assuring the achievement of the proposed actions.
The Declaration makes a calls on local authorities, in partnership with other levels of government,  to undertake the following:
  1. Facilitate an enabling environment in which youth actors are recognised and provided with adequate support to implement violence prevention activities. This space must be inclusive of young men and women from different social, political, economic, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
  2. Recognize and support what young people are already doing in preventing violence and violent extremism. Governments at all levels should build upon the existing capacities, networks and resources of young people in their countries and communities, as well as at the international level.
  3.  Ensure that contextual research is conducted in collaboration with young people and youth organizations to identify the drivers and enablers of violence and extremism in order to design effective responses at local, national and international levels
  4. Establish mechanisms to meaningfully involve youth in current and future peace processes, including formal peace negotiations from the local to the global levels. These mechanisms need to ensure youth are engaged as equal partners and promote youth leadership.
  5. Establish temporary special measures, including minimum quotas, for the participation of girls and women in all decision- and policy-making levels.

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The final wrap up included a statement from the Envoy who declared that he will “continue to advocate for youth to have a seat at the peace negotiation table.”

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“Words are not enough, action has to happen,” Jordan Minister of Foreign Affairs on being given Amman Declaration.
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#Youth4Peace, we have finally adopted the Amman Declaration, well done youth of the World. — Francine Muyumba (@Muyumba)

Peacebuilding through Sports: Engaging the youth of Somalia

Youth represent the most vibrant section of the society, they play a pivotal role in socio- economic changes and development of the society. A nation can only progress when the energy of the youth is channelled towards constructive work. Young people in Somalia love sports, they love to watch sports and more so, they love to play sports.

However, they have very few opportunities to do so – poor sports infrastructure, lack of sports facilities, limited organized sport activities, lack of capacity and lack of sufficient support both nationally and internationally leave many to stay on the passive side. But it’s not all so gloomy as there are enough enthusiastic people in and out of Somalia willing to work hard to change this.

With the help of international partners, young men and women across Somalia strive to create their own sport activities as well as participate in available sports training programmes focused on peer education, first aid and sports injuries, refereeing and coaching. As Said Warsame from Puntland, one of the participants of training organized by Norwegian Peoples Aid Somalia, (Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development (GECPD Somalia) and CHRISC Kenya said:

“I have been to different workshops where topics such as HIV and AIDS were taught but this is the first time I have learnt new methods whereby I can use fun and games to pass different information instead of relying on workshops and seminars. This seems effective since it encourages participation and involvement. With this new knowledge I plan to use it to educate my fellow youth and at the same time have fun through sports”.

It was in 2005 when the value of sport was identified as an essential peacebuilding mechanism by the international development community. In post conflict countries, peace and stability are fragile but sport can undoubtedly help in peacebuilding and development initiatives when used wisely and strategically but we cannot expect it to do the magic without guidance as sport is by nature a contest. Expecting sport to restore the normality without any further effort would be foolish.

Sport can also serve as a fantastic tool for social and gender inclusion. Girls and women often do not have the same access to services and opportunities. Young people with physical or mental disabilities are also frequently excluded from everyday community life because of stereotypes and prejudices that accompany them. The social exclusion often felt by vulnerable communities can be challenged through sports as it offers a space, where everybody is welcomed to participate, regardless of their age, gender, or ability. It is an adaptable activity, where rules can be altered to community needs, especially if it is for having fun and attaining joy. Rules are created to give directions, not to prevent people from participation.

Re-building the country starts with the youth and sport can be a useful entry point for social change as it represents a great tool to mobilize, empower and engage young people to do just that. It brings people together, which is particularly important in a country like Somalia. It can teach them a thing or two about leadership, conflict resolution, fair-play and communication – transferable skills crucial for life outside the game as well.

While the country is on its way to recovery and reconstruction, the lack of safe and accessible sport infrastructure, qualified coaches, trained professionals with capacity to establish organized sport activities and sufficient equipment, remain a challenge. Through its Urban Sports Programme, UN-HABITAT is thus looking into possibilities to partner with the Government as well as local youth organizations and groups to tackle these issues and thus support urban and community development in Somalia.

 

147 Dreams – #147NotJustANumber #Garissa

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On April 2nd, 2015 four gunmen stormed into Garissa University College, in Garissa, Kenya and took students hostage for hours of panic and pain. This was the deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya since 1998, killing 147 students, and injuring many others.

Today the UN family gathered in a vigil to honor those lives taken away.

147 is not just a number. They were daughters and sons, they were brothers and sisters, they were friends, more than anything they were human beings who were pursuing their education to fulfill their dreams, their hopes and aspirations.

The shocking images of that bloody Thursday will haunt us, and will be sadly remembered.  The reckless attack on university students was a direct attack on the future of Kenya. Those 147 young people killed are no longer able to contribute their talents neither to fulfilling their dreams.

The barbaric attack took away from Kenya 147 unique opportunities. Those youth will no longer grow to become doctors, or teachers, lawyers or musicians, will not become engineers neither politicians. 147 lives cut short, 147 dreams terminated before they had the chance to make a difference.

That is why today the UN family in Nairobi united in their honor. We want to remember the victims not just as another tragic number, but recognize their lives and stories and honor their passions and their dreams.

The vigil hosted today at the United Nations Campus in Gigiri, Nairobi was accompanied by Andrew Cox, UN-Habitat Chief of Staff and James Ohayo, President of the UN Nairobi Staff Union.

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The Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi sent his message of condolence, but as well expressed strong support for the people of Kenya in their time of need.

The vigil was an opportunity for staff members to pay respect to the young men and women whose lives were so needlessly cut short, remembering the bereaved families and praying for the recovery and emotional restoration of those who were injured, as well as hundreds of students who were traumatized by this heinous and despicable attack.

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147 is not just a number, today the UN honor the loss of 147 dreams.

Visit… Wadi Foukin

Sharek Youth Forum and Wadi Foukeen’s Youth Local Council Conduct the “Visit Wadi Foukeen” Campaign

Sharek Youth Forum alongside with Wadi Foukeen’s Youth Local Council conducted the campaign, “Visit Wadi Foukeen”, in hopes to shed the light on Palestinian farmers and show the cruel realities in which they face. By organizing regular visits from families and tourists and whilst inviting the media to document and track these violations we have been able to show what the village is currently experiencing. This was accomplished with the presence of more than 250 visitors and a number of officials including local and international organizations.

Abdel Sabaaneh, the Project Manager, affirmed that this campaign is one of many campaigns conducted by Sharek in accordance with local youth councils conducted by Sharek in accordance with local youth councils to promote youths’ role in their communities and ensure their active participation in making all possible changes.

Sabaneeh added, “These kinds of activities can help youth get involved and influence local government policies”.

Salah Baba, the Director of Agriculture in Bethlehem, asserted the importance of youth in preserving the local agriculture despite all the obstacles they currently face. Baba confirmed the necessity of continuous agriculture advancement in this village, stating that these factors help them supply the city with crops.

Furthermore, the Youth Local Council of Wadi Foukeen stressed that this campaign was born out of a sense of responsibility for the village. Expressing that they are determined to improve the situation of the village and preserve its’ cultural and natural heritage whilst promoting the role of Palestinian farmers and the resistance.

The council added that this is only their first step in encouraging the regular visits to the village and stated that they will not stop until they have fulfilled their duty.

“We Have a Role”, is a project implemented by Sharek Youth Forum alongside UNHABITAT and three local governing bodies that are located in Jenin, Bettir and Al-Khader. This project works to engage young people with their local governing bodies and encourage them to strive for policy development, further hoping to enhance their social accountability.

 

PDF download with pictures available here: wadi foukin