Welcome to the Discussion Room

Please introduce yourself and share your insights. To take this discussion forward, we propose the following guiding questions.

 

As shown in the progress study on youth, peace and security (2018) ‘the missing peace’ identifies three mutually reinforcing strategies: 

 

1. Include youth by transforming systems of exclusion:

a. What kind of support to youth engagement in peace processes and national dialogues has proven more meaningful and effective?

b. Can you share any successful stories of addressing legal, structural, social and cultural barriers for young people’s political participation, and in particular for young women?

c. Can you share information on recent, ongoing and/or planned support for youth participation in mechanisms for decision-making on peace and security? What new initiatives do you deem essential to increase trust between young people, governments and the multilateral system?

d. From your point of view, what should be key priorities in promoting and protecting the human rights of young people? Why?

e. How have you supported the participation of diverse young people in economic development planning, and the development of fair, inclusive and gender-sensitive labour policies that have contributed in sustaining peace?


2. Partner with youth through legitimate and meaningful partnerships

a. Considering your own experience, what have constituted successful partnerships between youth organizations, movements and networks and the United Nations and other partners and stakeholders?

b. In what way have you engaged in / with youth advisory boards, youth-sensitive and youth-inclusive conflict analysis and / or designed projects with young people leading or co-leading the process?

c. What initiatives can increase a young workforce in peacebuilding efforts?

d. Can you share successful stories of including youth voices and priorities in responses to conflict and violence through mechanisms for dialogue and accountability?


3. Invest in the capacity, agency, and leadership shown by young peacebuilders and an enabling environment

a. What should be key priorities in recognizing and supporting youth-led peacebuilding organizations at the subnational level?

b. Do you have any good lessons learned from investing in young women’s leadership in peace and security through initiatives for the promotion of gender empowerment and women, peace and security?

c. How can the investment in entrepreneurship and youth-led social innovation best have an impact for peace in the long-term?

d. How can accessible and meaningful funding be made available to youth peace work in a better way?

Comments (43)

Maria Stage Moderator

Thank you for this week’s e-discussion on investing in young people as agents of change to sustain peace! Here follows our summary (4-10 January 2021):

Include youth by transforming systems of exclusion

  • Youth engagement in decision-making processes is important for a policy and development planning that respond to the concerns and perspectives of young people. 
  • Local institutions are an entry-point for deliberate and long-term investment in youth engagement.
  • A holistic approach to youth, peace and security was recommended, illustrated with the creation of socioeconomic opportunities as a means of preventing violence. 
  • Youth is a diverse group, and youth have diverse vulnerabilities. For instance, stereotypes around gender and age can cause invisibilization of young women which leads to their exclusion. Young women have a different experience and needs and are disproportionately affected by the social challenges in the community. By bridging the YPS and the WPS agenda will address the gap in participation of young women in peacebuilding and work cohesively to address the violence and discrimination faced by women and girls globally.

Partner with youth through legitimate and meaningful partnerships

  • Partnerships between the UN and youth were highlighted in order to move from policy to practice, mobilize funding for youth-led peacebuilding and advocating jointly for making youth, peace and security a priority of governments. 
  • The UN was recommended to recruit youth consultants to work on youth, peace and security.

Invest in the capacity, agency, and leadership shown by young peacebuilders and an enabling environment

  • There was a call for the youth, peace and security agenda to take a centre stage in the UN’s work at the country level. Furthermore, the importance of investing in the capacity of youth leading peacebuilding efforts in communities was highlighted together with awareness raising of the  youth, peace and security among young people to increase local ownership. 
  • The establishment of dedicated and accessible funds for youth-led initiatives on youth, peace and security was recommended. Funding policies and requirements need to be inclusive to formal and informal youth-led organisations. At present, youth-led networks are already disadvantaged in terms of legal structure, years of experience and, to most , if not all, level of influence. Some youth-led organizations don’t even have access to the internet where most funding opportunities are disseminated.
  • For an enabling environment, it is important to invest in conflict prevention, peacebuilding, socioeconomic opportunities and access to the internet. 

Examples: We had insights shared on youth, peace and security in relation to the prevention of electoral violence, participation in decision-making processes, investment in youth organizations, and youth-led peacebuilding and heard from Nigeria, Ghana and the Philippines.

The insights from the discussion resonates with Lynrose's experience from the Young Women + Leaders for Peace-Philippines where they integrate the pillars of YPS and WPS Agenda in ensuring that the voices and meaningful participation of youth and women are amplified in spaces especially in political decision making processes. Furthermore, Protection is crucial in ensuring that youth become meaningful partners in the institutionalization of YPS. This calls for strong mechanisms of human rights protection for youth peacebuilders. The Philippines lacks a strong human rights protection mechanism for young peacebuilders against state intimidation and red tagging. A strong mechanism for human rights protection is a requisite to continue with the work of young activists.

 

We wish you a continued fruitful conversation and are pleased to handover the facilitation to our co-moderators.

Best wishes, Lynrose and Maria

Noella Richard Moderator

Dear Colleagues,

A very warm welcome to this e-discussion, launched on a special day, Wednesday 9 December 2020, marking the fifth anniversary of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda!

After an exciting day of high-level meetings in which the extraordinary power of young people and their role as positive forces for peace were widely recognized, I am delighted to launch this conversation, brought to you by the UNDP youth global programme team! My colleague Maria and I will co-host this 4-week e-discussion and we will be joined by impressive young leaders from the UNDP 16x16 initiative, as co-moderators, starting next week!  

As your moderator for Week 1, I would like to invite you to please start introducing yourself and tell us what investing in young people as critical agents of change to sustain peace actually means to you, in your context.

You may wish to also go through the list of questions we have posted for reference, to help you frame your contributions.

Please start engaging today, even if you feel that you may need more time for an elaborated response - I look forward to your short or long, structured or less structured stories and perspectives! Please also feel free to share links to key documents, press releases, prodocs, reports, evaluations, in particular if you have less time to produce a detailed response!

Let’s use this as a space in which we can get to know one another’s work even better in this area, reflect on UNDP’s YPS journey at all levels, lift promising practices, be candid about challenges and bottlenecks, and share new opportunities to work with youth as trusted partners!

I sincerely thank you for your time and efforts, which we highly value in particular in these uncertain, busy and complex times, and look forward to an engaging conversation!

Pauline Deneufbourg

Hi everyone, 

My name is Pauline, I am a Youth Empowerment Specialist with UNDP Regional Service Center in Africa. Very happy to engage in this discussion, and to share experiences. 

I am currently supporting Mali CO on a SURGE mission, and one concrete priority of the current transition government, on the agenda of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, is to draft and vote a new law which would impose a quota of young people in all decision making governement entities. If there is any similar experience in other countries, i am happy to exchange. 

In my view, it is important that youth inclusion in decision making processes is also captured and materialized at the most local and community level. We have good results out of PBF funded projects in all aspects related to youth, peace and security: a number of youth has been involved and trained in local committees on conflict prevention and peace building, including in remote communities. 

Looking forward to hearing your stories and to engaging in this exciting discussion!

Pauline

Salome Ponsin

Dear Pauline,

I would be very interested in exchanging about the process in Mali. We are currently thinking about the diverse options to include young people in the designing phase of the National policy, whether it could be through a reedition of the National Dialogue or the building of a Youth parliament, or many other options that we are now exploring. How will work the implementation of the quotas in your context ?

Noella Richard Moderator

Chere Pauline Deneufbourg, un grand merci pour ta contribution! Thank you very much for posting this input to get our conversation going :)

It would be great if we could hear more about this law indeed, and we will share other examples! In the meantime, I am sharing here an article, developed by the UNDP ACE project (https://aceproject.org/about-en/ace-partners/undp) which you may find helpful: http://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/yt/yt20/quotas-for-youth .

Could you perhaps share more information here about the projects and results in Mali? Maybe on cross-border collaboration with young people supported as leaders, too?

Your comment on local and community-level decision-making is key! It is a point consistently being made by young peacebuilders and young political activists.

Thank you and happy #YPSanniversary!

Noella Richard Moderator

I am pleased to welcome Francesca Masoero Ezgi Ozturk Pauline Chauveau Juan Pablo Gordillo Susanna Dakash Jean De Dieu Sibomana Salome Ponsin Aboubacar Koulibaly in addition to Pauline Deneufbourg who has already started contributing! Colleagues, many thanks for joining and happy Youth, Peace and Security anniversary and happy Human Rights Day!

How important is working with young women and men as trusted partners, in your own context? What are your strategies to support and promote the positive role young peacebuilders play? How do you partner and invest in youth? Do you include youth in fragility and conflict assessments? Do you encourage and fund youth-led peacebuilding initiatives? How do you engage with youth organisations, movements and networks to sustain peace? Can you share examples of initiatives addressing structural barriers to youth meaningful participation and fostering safe and inclusive spaces for youth?

Please share your experience and reflections here! Thank you for your time!

 

David Andersson

Hello everyone – my name is David Andersson and I’m a Strategic Advisor on SDG16 working with UNDP’s governance team in New York. I’m very happy to take part in this e-discussion, which is an excellent way to mark the fifth anniversary of the YPS agenda and Resolution 2250.

In recent months, I have been leading a consultation series on the Future of Governance – an initiative to explore contemporary governance challenges (and approaches to address them) and identify priorities around UNDP’s future governance offer. One particularly interesting and topical discussion was on trust in public institutions. It touched on the multidimensional drivers of trust, issues around fairness (e.g. in how services are delivered) and the importance of local, bottom-up approaches to building trust. The session also reinforced the notion that our understanding of trust is often informed by assumptions, and that trust is in many ways a matter of perceptions and linked to values and standards (not just policy outcomes). And while the discussion was too brief to cover youth-specific issues in any depth, it is clear that these lessons are of much consequence to young people as well.

In many countries, trust in governments and public institutions is low, which in turn is linked to growing frustrations among young people who are often neither included nor represented in decision-making. This distrust also goes both ways in how authorities may harbor distrust against young people. The progress study on YPS (cited above) accurately describes this distrust in terms of negative stereotypes and assumptions about young people as a “problem to be solved and a threat to be contained”. Such stereotypes not only perpetuate marginalization but also negate the positive roles that young people can, should (and often do) have in influencing development policy, as peacebuilders, and as leaders.

This serves as a reminder that we need a better and more nuanced understanding of the trust dynamics that concern, and affect, youth. We must also pay more attention to the unique social, political and cultural contexts in which they live in order to understand their needs and aspirations and, ultimately, build trust-based relationships. The fifth anniversary of the YPS agenda is a fitting occasion to redouble our commitments to tackle negative stereotypes around youth and to strengthen the responsiveness and accountability of the institutions who are supposed to represent them.

I’m looking forward to a good e-discussion and exchange of ideas and experiences, including on building trust. And happy 5th anniversary to the YPS agenda!

Noella Richard Moderator

Dear David Andersson,

Many, many thanks for your thoughtful contribution!

The connection you make with the issue of trust is truly welcomed and very much in line with ongoing debates with youth grassroots movements and young peacebuilders, indeed!

Thank you so much for highlighting the complexities of mistrust (being a two-way issue) and its consequences on widespread assumptions related to the role youth can play in society (and their systemic exclusion).

Any recent example(s) you could share, based on the great work on SDG16+/future of governance, would be excellent, including on innovative approaches to durably and meaningfully build bridges between youth and institutions, at national or local levels! 

Thank you again, very appreciative of your contribution!

Salome Ponsin

Dear David,

The Tunisian context reflects your contribution. Actually, Tunisia CO is participating in Deep Demo with Chôra foundation on trust issues. I am part of the team to include Youth aspects to the process. I'll be happy to exchange more on aspects of trust and rebuilding trust tools.

Victor Lachenait

Hello colleagues and thank you for launching this very interesting discussion. I’m Victor Lachenait, Youth, Peace and Security intern at the Istanbul Regional Hub.

In the last couples of months, I notably participated in the organisation of Youth exchanges in Central Asia as part of a broader PVE program in the region. These exchanges aimed at developing regional youth networks on the implementation of SDGs (and particularly SDG 16), expanding knowledge sharing on PVE, improve intercultural awareness and skills and design follow-up action plans to increase youth inclusion in local communities. Also, it proved critical in incorporating young people’s perspective and informing the priorities for PVE in the region, and one of its key moments was the inclusion of Youth participants in a regional dialogue where they were able to share their perspectives and recommendations with governments, NGOs and International community representatives. To my understanding, such mainstreaming of Youth representatives in High-level dialogues including policymakers is an essential first-step that would gain to be systematised when trying to answer the lack of inclusive decision-making processes and of “whole-of-society” approaches on Peace and Security.

Also, I find it crucial to put an emphasis on digital rights in two ways that would help to promote and protect human rights of young people. First, while UNDP as well as other organisations are all working of developing the digitalisation of our programs, “leaving no one behind” would be best embodied by further focusing on supporting the digital literacy of young people, and working in providing access to internet and modern telecommunication means to remote and marginalized communities. It would particularly help to correct the natural effect making the most “privileged” young people, for whom digital activism is the easiest in practice, the main contributors to digital projects. Also, working on digital practises for peace and security, a reflection on the means to combat online repression and to best protect those who fight for human rights on social networks would surely have its place at the top of our HR agenda.

 I hope this helps contributing to this conversation, I am looking forward to the discussion and would be particularly interested to know more and learn about colleagues' experiences on the matter !

Noella Richard Moderator

Thank you so much @Victor for your input! Great hearing you supported the youth exchanges in the context of the PVE sub-regional project in Central Asia and you highlight key linkages with SDG16/SDG16+ and YPS indeed. On your digital rights/digital activism point, I would like to tag colleagues who may have additional perspectives to bring as well - Emanuele Sapienza and Minerva Novero. Thanks a lot !

Salome Ponsin

Hi everyone !

My name is Salomé, I am programme analyst at UNDP Tunisia, in charge of the impementation of a project on Youth empowerment, in support to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, with the financing of The Netherlands.

Since the 2011 Revolution, young Tunisians went from hope in a new inclusive and dynamic future to a feeling of despair. They express a perception that even if their role as drivers of change has been recognized in the new Constitution, no public actor has done a concrete effort neither to developp tools for inclusiveness nor to elaborate programms that address youth needs and expectation. As a result 60% of the young population (18-35) express mistrust towards public actors. This mistrust feeling is deeply rooted as young people describe their schooling time as a first contact with unfairness, corruption and non-inclusion. Expressions of this feeling are mutliple, from diversion from the public/citizen sphere to migration or even sporadic use of violence and violent extremism. Actually, the pandemic crises has strongly worsen the situation as it impacted young people social inclusion and eco-pro start (>breach in their studies, job loss, etc.).

In this context, the Ministry of Youth and Sports requested, in 2017, UNDP's support to elaborate a sectorial strategic vision on Youth and then support to implement it.

The project elaborated and currently on-going is based on both top-down and bottom-up complementary approaches as on one side we support the improvement of the institutionnal capacity of the Ministry and the process of elaborating a national multisectorial policy ; and on the other side we contribue to a concrete change at the local level by supporting significant changes in Youth Centers.

There are over 500 of those all over the territory, including in rural areas that are accessed through itinerant models of youth centers.  Their capacities are limited and they function mostly on a vertical spatio-centric approach. So we work on a complete new concept, Youth Centers 2.0, where the insitution's role is to accompany young people in their projects and orient them towards all actors relevant regarding Youth needs or issues. In this way, Youth centers are like local hubs of actors to the service of young people ; safe spaces were ideas can be tested and issues are heard. Youth centers work based on inclusiveness and a horizontal ethnocentered approach, and integrate accountability tools.

Concerning the national Policy, work has been delayed this year due to the global context. However, we continue producing knowledge and recommandations to support the process next year.

As good practices, I can espacially share two :

- Supporting CSOs + Youth Centers partnership as an accelerator of change at the local level : two actors that whether have a legitimate awarness rising position and/or knowledge of young people issues and local context ; which put together are able to elaborate innovative inclusive tools ;

- Working with a Youth Commitee at each phase of the project (designing to monitoring and evalutation). Having such a Commitee contributing to every activties, espacially activities with youth sector actors has made significant change in the way those actors perceive young people, from service consummer to a creative proactive force.

>> capitalizing tools will come soon.

Also, at the CO level, we have other experiences such as the SDG Camps and PBF project, I'll be happy to share later on in the conversation.


Wishing all of you a great week,

Salomé

Noella Richard Moderator

Merci beaucoup Salome! Very helpful input! Thanks for putting youth needs and aspirations in perspective historically, and for sharing very concrete promising practices.

May I ask whether you could share more about Deep Demo and the Chora foundation? How do you proceed to include youth aspects into this process?

Coming back to your recommendation to work with youth committees, how have you gone about composing them in the context of your work in Tunisia? Any written methodology which you could share? Any lessons learned? 

Would you have additional thoughts about how to fund youth-led peacebuilding initiatives and about how to sustain youth-led safe and inclusive spaces?

Many thanks again!

Salome Ponsin

Dear Noella,

> Concerning our work with Chôra (https://www.chora.foundation/) : we integrated a pilot to reflect on our ways of elaborating our intervention to move from a point where we mostly work with projects and clusters, to a more connected, integrated, holistic approach via portfolios. The CO decided to work on the issue of trust as it is a key one in this long phase of political transition Tunisia is going through and a concern that all clusters and projects tend to work on whether it is directly or through contributing to key related matters.

We have completed 1/3 of the overall process. So far, we have included young people or youth perspective through 2 main ways:

  • In the data collecting phase: we interviewed a representative of Youth organization, a student, an activist as well as two previous Secretary of State on Youth ; as Chôra encouraged us at interviewing also unusual suspects, we reached out young people who are more difficult to access : i.e. a young member of an ultra-football support group ;
  • In the portfolio designing phase: we work with personas to question our positioning and expected impact ; so we created 2/3 young profiles.

In this process, we also take benefit from the datas we collect through our work with Youth Centers, CSOs and the SDG Camps.

Salome Ponsin

Noella Richard 

> Concerning the Youth Committee, it is composed of 64 young men and women. As a main criteria, we look for young people who are involved in their community, who have the willingness to be an actor of change and development, who benefit from qualities such as the capacity to listen and to promote and implement dialogue. We have chosen to have a non-formal living group of young people instead of an institutionalized one to give to the participants the most of flexibility and create a long-term relation based on their own drive. Participants are usually identified by our partner local CSOs and pilot Youth Centers, or parts of the SDG Camps or different networks of local volunteers.

The sectorial vision of the Ministry is strongly innovative comparing to the old model, so Youth centers workers have been strongly reluctant, especially in implementing participative decision-making processes and having a horizontal relation with Youth. So in all activities organized, we concretely implemented the horizontal approach to encourage a relation of trust and understanding between Youth centers workers and young people. By multiplying exchanges and opportunities to interact and to reflect together on Youth Centers 2.0 model; the change has been significant regarding their behavior and their comprehension of each others’ needs, challenges, capacities, etc.

>> I can’t recommend more an approach than the one of creating spaces for dialogue to reinforce understanding, on which trust relation can be built. Though, to make it successful, we also work on capacity building with both actors.

As we support the process of elaborating a national multisectoral Youth Policy, one of the challenges is to duplicate/adapt/put to scale this approach, so I am interested by good practices if anyone has some to share!

Salome Ponsin

Dear Victor,

How Young people were actually inclsuded in the Dialogue, how have they been selected and have they been supported in the preparation of their intervention (capacity building i.e.) ?

Also, have direct measures been recommanded to address PVE issues at the local level ? It is actually, one of the outputs of the project I have shared. If there is any material on this, it would be really helpful.

Thank you !

Victor Lachenait

Dear Salome,

Young participants were young leaders in their communities, both women and men, as well as representatives of youth groups, civil society and underrepresented youth that the UNDP Country Offices are working with to deliver the in-country activities. They were selected based on an open call for proposals, disseminated through and shortlisted with the help of UNDP Country Offices (Applicants were asked to fill in a form clarifying their background, motivation and added value they bring to the consultation). The selection was made with the view of achieving geographical and gender balance and ensuring socio-economic diversity and representation.

A large part of the last youth exchange done within this project has been dedicated to preparing the Youth for their intervention. Through group discussions and plenary presentations during the exchange, the participants came up with analysis and recommendations in several fields. They then prepared together to coordinate their interventions, and a final session with UNDP was dedicated to review their presentations, advice them on their formats and on the way to better deliver their messages at the Regional Dialogue.

Regarding direct measures that have been recommanded to address PVE issues at the local level and complementary informations on the PVE outputs of the project, I am tagging some colleagues who are probably better informed than me Doruk Ergun Nikita Shabayev @Dana Oraz !

Marte Hellema

Hello everyone, 

My name is Marte Hellema and I work as communications consultant with UNDP Asia Pacific and Citi Foundations, Youth Co:Lab, which focusses on young social entrepreneurs, leadership and innovation as means to stimulate the acceleration of the SDGs. 

However, in the past I have worked for a long time on conflict prevention, peace, security and human rights, including specifically on and with youth. 

So here are some initial reflections in response to the questions above. I might respond to some others later. Hope that is okay. :-) 

Across Asia-Pacific, shrinking civic space has been an ongoing battle. However, recent times have seen a political and social awakening among many young people. Such active civic participation of young people is crucial for healthy and vibrant democracies. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has put all of this at risk.

Everyone agrees sacrifices have to be made to ensure the health and safety of our societies. However, in doing so, we all need to be vigilant that these measures and restrictions are proportional and necessary and do not unwittingly or needlessly infringe on people’s human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly young people.

Civic space of young people is often dismissed as a non-priority. Young people are seen as non-essential to civic engagement and political and social discourse. And even if their civic engagement is recognized as important, it is often seen as something for the future, and can therefore be postponed or set on-hold.

In any region, but particularly one where young people represent such a significant portion of the population like in Asia-Pacific, such thinking is not just harmful and undemocratic in present but will jeopardize our societies’ future. Stumping off young people’s political and civic involvement now, might turn them away in the long run. We cannot afford a lost generation.

As young people have already taken to online spaces to claim their civic space and become socially and politically involved more than other generations, it is important to ensure that such efforts are recognized as equally relevant as similar expression offline. Too often online expression and assembly is still seen as frivolous or fleeting. Yet, as our lives during COVID have shown us, online spaces are an extension of our lives offline. Not only should it be recognized and valued as such, all rights and freedoms that apply offline, should be guaranteed and protected online as well.

Maria Stage Moderator

Hi Marte ,

Thank you very much for your comment! Your points on shrinking civic space in times of the COVID-19 crisis and the need to promote and protect the civic and political rights of young people are important.

What do you think should be key priorities in guaranteeing and protecting rights online? Online spaces provides opportunities for reaching and including more young people, but we also see that some young people are discouraged from engaging in dialogues online, some experience harassment and some can even experience personal security risks. Protection is one of the five pillars of the youth, peace and security agenda and was also highlighted in many of the activities on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 2250. At the same time, we have limited guidance and evidence on the protection of young people, which leads back to your point on the need to recognize youth civic engagement and promote the rights of all people. I would add the importance of measurement and data disaggregation.

With your background in conflict prevention and peacebuilding and your current work on youth-led social entrepreneurship, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this question as well: How can the investment in entrepreneurship and youth-led social innovation best have an impact for peace in the long-term?

Thank you, Marte. Appreciate your participation in this e-discussion!

Pauline Chauveau

Hi everyone,

My name is Pauline, I am a junior consultant supporting youth-led peacebuilding at the Istanbul Regional Hub. I provide support in the implementation of a youth-led and youth-focused peace and security research and advocacy project in the Western Balkans.

In our region, a whole new generation of young people is growing-up continuing to experience the legacies of conflict. This generation is seen as suffering from inter-generational transfer of traumas and being even more hardened in its identity lines. However it is also seen as more willing to interact across ethno-religious identity groups.

Among the several reasons why UNDPA and UNFPA designed this youth-led research and advocacy initiative was the fact that regionally comparable data to compare youth’s perceptions about peace and security, their priorities for their lives and for the future of the region is lacking.

For this initiative a group of 23 young women and young men across the Western Balkan region was selected, to have a consultative role in the research design process and advocacy. What I think is important and which I encourage other future projects to consider is the importance of involving  young people at every step of the initiative. In this initiative not only have young people co-designed the survey, but they are also going to take part in the data analysis and formulation of recommendations, as well as the organisation of local events to promote the results of the research to policy makers. I think the sooner young people are engaged in an initiative, the greater the impact this initiative can have. 

Thanks to everyone who shared information about their projects, it’s been very interesting to read about what is being done in other regions.

Maria Stage Moderator

Hi Pauline,

Many thanks for your contribution to this e-discussion and sharing insights from the project on youth-led research and advocacy in the Western Balkans and how it is contributing to reconciliation and dealing with the past.

Indeed, it is inspirational how this project engages young people throughout the programming cycle. What lessons learned could you share with colleagues that might be looking to do the same? Any additional recommendations on how to meaningfully engage with young people in the context of societies still affected by the legacies of conflict?

Earlier this year, the project was also presented as part of a UNDP CoP Chat on partnerships with youth on data and research for a more inclusive COVID-19 response.

Thanks a lot for your work Pauline and participation in this discussion!

 

Pauline Chauveau

Hi Maria,

Thanks a lot for your questions and link to the youth partnerships on research and data. For colleagues looking to implement a similar kind of initiative, I would recommend: 

  • Keeping young people in the loop by providing them with updates on the project, including steps which they were not a part of. In this initiative that meant updating them about steps such as the survey translation and piloting. The reason for that is that young people want to see the bigger picture to their action in order to know the purpose of their engagement.
  • Insuring young people have the space to connect without our presence. If consultations are run online, that means planning for break-out rooms where they are free to communicate without feeling supervised. Creating a Facebook or Whatsapp group for them to keep in contact might also be a good idea.
  • Designing the project in a way that young people can benefit from the research project by receiving some trainings tailored to their specific profiles and needs.

Hope this can be of help! 

Maria Stage Moderator

Dear all,

Young people are taking action to sustain peace and we must be better at investing in youth peace work and an enabling environment to prevent conflict, leave no one behind and foster inclusive governance and peacebuilding. We need your ideas to spark action!

We are pleased to be your co-moderators of the rest of this week: Wevyn  Muganda and Maria Stage.

Wevyn is a youth activist from Mombasa Kenya and a part of UNDP's 16 x 16 initiative that recognizes the leadership of young people working on SDG16. Her activism focuses on increasing participation of young people in peace, security and political processes.

Maria is programme analyst on youth empowerment in the governance team in BPPS, GPN, UNDP, supporting UNDP’s work on youth, peace and security and UNDP’s Youth Global Programme (Youth-GPS).

It is our hope that together we can come up with ideas to foster inclusive and just societies with trust between all people and decision makers, change power relations and structures that exclude young people from influence upon society, and approaches to programming that adequately recognize and support the multiple ways that young people engage in sustaining peace.

We are looking forward to this conversation with UNDP practitioners and partners, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Best wishes,

Wevyn and Maria

Susanna Dakash

Hello everyone, and thanks Noella and team for initiating this discussion! I recently wrote a testimonial on YPS work for the Folke Bernadotte Academy YPS Handbook for Advisors, so to begin with my contribution to the discussion, I will reiterate some points made there :)

I have been working on youth engagement and youth-led peacebuilding at UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub since 2016, most recently as the Youth, Peace and Security Specialist. I support country offices in the Europe and Central Asia region, which comprises a fascinating landscape of middle-income countries ranging from Eastern Europe, Western Balkans and Turkey to South Caucasus and Central Asia.

Across the region, phenomena such as brain drain of the young and educated, marginalisation of rural youth and youth unemployment are what attract the attention of policymakers. These all have an impact on the overall sense of stability and security that young people themselves feel. The legacy of past conflicts and the volatility it creates means that young people are in a crucial role in building more sustainable and peaceful societies. Still, while youth are acknowledged as a group of interest, there is a lot to do in terms of creating meaningful ways for young people to participate in decision-making and to engage positively.

One of the biggest challenges I face is the narrative that decision-makers, policymakers and also us international actors ourselves cultivate around young women and men. Oftentimes young people are seen as a problem to be solved, a threat that needs to be controlled, or as passive and disengaged and in need of better guidance. Older generations are very eager to preach to younger people about what they should do, and I have witnessed this on all levels. Building trust is also about bridging intergenerational differences and creating dialogue between youth, older generations and decision-making authorities.

Another challenge in both government and UN, is going beyond tokenistic engagement of elite youth, and making room for marginalised and hard-to-reach groups.

In my view, the key for youth-responsive policies, strategies and programmes is to start with solid evidence of young people’s views and priorities. When you can show what the specific needs and ambitions of different groups of youth are, it is easier to get government and UN senior management on board. As Pauline Chauveau mentions in her comment, this is what we are doing in the Western Balkans: together with a youth advisory group, we designed a study on peace and security involving the group in analysis and advocacy efforts. The results will be used for more targeted and bottom-up peace and reconciliation programming that takes into account the generation born after the past conflicts. For this, we are partnering with an intergovernmental, regional youth organisation called RYCO whose mandate is strengthening reconciliation and youth cooperation.

Another point I would like to make is that overall, awareness of the YPS agenda is low, among UN and other stakeholders. However, my experience has been that it is well received by youth, UN colleagues and government representatives alike. Highlighting the global commitment to YPS and clarifying what it actually is about is a way of getting buy-in for a topic that is not without sensitivities in the region. What also helps is facilitating opportunities for resource mobilisation around the youth agenda –  concretely helping draft youth project proposals that are a solid reflection of YPS principles and inclusive of young people at all stages. We also need to create space for and build the capacity of youth civil society to participate in dialogues, meet senior officials, design projects and implement them, and overall take the lead in making a difference.

Wevyn Moderator

Hi Susanna

Thank you for these important insights on increasing young people's participation in decision making and doing that meaningfully. I echo your sentiments that in order to enhance trust we need to create opportunities for inter-generational dialogue and bridging the differences that exist. In my own experience, youths are misunderstood by the older generation while the older ones feel that the youths don't listen. These are biases and through inter-generational dialogue, we can achieve a common ground.

What are some of the practical ways that we can understand the ambitions and needs of the different groups of young people? Especially at a time where a lot of programmatic activity has moved online and many young people in the Global South still have challenges in accessing digital spaces? How do we make youth spaces more inclusive and still relevant to the emerging changes in communication?

Finally, capacity building is really essential in ensuring that youth participation is far from tokenistic since young leaders will be able to engage and participate in their own capacities and can truly advocate for their needs. This is the only way to also keep young people's participation a norm and sustainable.

Thank you so much for the great work you are doing Susanna. I appreciate it.

Noella Richard Moderator

Dear colleagues and partners,

We have concluded the first phase of this e-discussion and will retake this exciting and timely conversation on youth, peace and security in early January!

Many thanks to colleagues from Mali, Tunisia, UNDP’s regional hubs in Istanbul and in Bangkok and the governance global team, who have contributed already! Special thanks to our guest moderator Wevyn from the UNDP 16x16 initiative, from Mombasa, Kenya, for contributing to this crowdsourcing of ideas and lessons learned exercise and to our colleague Maria Stage from the UNDP global youth team, who co-moderated Week 2.

To conclude with this first phase, and help bring all new participants up to speed in January, here are a few highlights:

  • Youth, Peace and Security programming should be multidimensional/comprehensive in its approach and contextual to the social, cultural and political contexts of the young people. Stakeholders/partners should design their programmes WITH young people rather than FOR young people -this cultivates a relationship based on trust and encourages ownership which would make the project gains sustainable beyond funding
  • Mainstreaming youth representation and meaningful participation in high-level dialogues is an essential first step that would gain to be systematized
  • Young people’s participation in decision-making processes is pegged on their capacity to engage meaningfully. This calls for stakeholders to invest in building the capacity of young people from diverse backgrounds particularly young people from rural and informal areas to ensure that they are not excluded and further marginalised. Capacity building of young people to understand, contextualise and design their own solutions will also address the challenge of youth participation being tokenistic rather than equal partnership with other key stakeholders
  • Active civic participation of young people is crucial for healthy and vibrant democratic governance. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges: while everyone agrees sacrifices have to be made to ensure the health and safety of our societies, we all need to be vigilant that these measures and restrictions are proportional and necessary and do not unwittingly or needlessly infringe on people’s human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly young people.
  • All rights and freedoms that apply offline, should be guaranteed and protected online as well. Putting an emphasis on digital rights can help promoting and protecting the human rights of young people - by further focusing on supporting the digital literacy of young people and working in providing access to internet and modern telecommunication means to remote and marginalized communities. Reflecting on the means to combat online repression and how to best protect those who fight for human rights on social networks would surely have its place at the top of our human rights agenda.
  • Some interesting youth initiatives and projects were mentioned: Deep Demo with Chora Foundation (https://www.chora.foundation) and the support to multisectoral national youth policy in Tunisia; Youth exchanges as part of the broader sub-regional  UNDP PVE program in Central Asia; the UNDP-UNFPA youth perceptions on peace and security initiative (Western Balkans); the SDG16/Global alliance work, UNDP Youth global programme and Youth co:Lab.
  • Some useful publications were referred to: the UNDP Frontlines Report  which focuses on the positive role young people play as partners in the prevention of violent extremism and the Folke Bernadotte Academy Youth, Peace and Security Adviser’s Handbook, just released on 9 December 2020, at a joint high-level event by co-convened by UN partners, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, PBSO/DPPA, UNDP, UNFPA and Sweden, Jordan, France and the Dominican Republic, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Youth, Peace and Security first Security Council resolution.  

Thank you again, stay safe and well, and best wishes for the Holiday season! 😊

Maria Stage Moderator

Dear all,

With the beginning of a new year, we are pleased to welcome you back to this public e-discussion on investing in young people as agents of change to sustain peace!

We are your co-moderators of this week: Lynrose Jane Genon and Maria Stage.

Lynrose is a young woman activist from the Philippines. She is a member of the executive council of  the Young Women + Leaders for Peace-Philippines (YW+LP-Ph), a program of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders. YW+LP-Ph is a network of young women leaders and allies for peace championing for the localization of the YPS and WPS agenda. She is also part of the UNDP's 16 x16 Initiative.

Maria is programme analyst on youth empowerment in the governance team in BPPS, GPN, UNDP, supporting UNDP’s work on youth, peace and security and UNDP’s Youth Global Programme (Youth-GPS).

Your ideas and experiences are critical for improving collective efforts supporting youth as critical agents of change, moving from policy to action, and accelerating the implementation of YPS at the community level.

The first part of the e-discussion highlighted the importance of inclusive societies, addressing mistrust, prioritizing the local and community level, including those at risk of being left behind, protecting rights online and enhancing youth participation in decision-making and policy processes. As for programming, it stressed the need for multidimensional and comprehensive approaches to youth, peace and security and working with youth at all stages through equal partnerships.

We are looking forward to continuing this conversation and don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Best wishes,

Lynrose and Maria

NITYA NAND JHA

Thank Maria...

Thanks for Infos on how youths are involving and participating in decision making and planning.  important insights on increasing young people's participation in decision making and planning. I do support that youths should have opportunities to bridge the gap by being envolve in making policies. According to me youths are important for making important decision for world because seniors can't understand the concerns of youths.

Maria Stage Moderator

Thank you, NITYA NAND JHA. Yes, the participation of young people in decision making is important in order to have choices and development solutions that respond to the specific situation of young people and their needs and aspirations. I am wondering if you could share an example of addressing legal, structural, social and/or cultural barriers for young people’s participation in decision making processes? 
Appreciate your contribution to this e-discussion, thanks!

Melody Azinim

Dear All,

I am Melody Azinim, Programme Analyst Peace and Governance UNDP Ghana. The youth are a critical group that need to be properly engaged and this must be done deliberately. In 2019 the CO undertook a research in partnership with a CSO - Centre for Democratic Development on electoral violence and youth political "vigilantism" one of the challenges that made a lot of the youth vulnerable as tools for violence was the lack of opportunities and jobs. To survive, they avail themselves to persons who can give them a token and instruct them to cause violence such as intimidating political opponents.

Building the capacity of the youth to actively participate and lead peace processes in their communities is important, creating opportunities for the youth through entrepreneurship and vocational skills is also important to reduce their vulnerability. Secondly, the a lot of programs have been moved online due to the covid19 pandemic, unfortunately so many of the youth do not have access to mobile phones or even the internet to get involved. Identifying institutions that are operating in most parts of the country can serve as an entry point to continuously engage the youth. 

you can read the report here https://www.gh.undp.org/content/ghana/en/home/library/democratic_governance/electoral-violence-and-political-vigilantism-in-ghana.html

Maria Stage Moderator

Dear Melody Azinim, thank you for contributing to this e-discussion and sharing the report! Yes, it is important to invest in an enabling environment for youth civic and political engagement. The majority of young people are contributing to sustainable development and sustaining peace, can you share more information on planned support for youth participation in mechanisms for decision-making on peace and security, in particular at the community level and perhaps following up on the insights from the report? It would also be interesting to hear your thoughts on how can the investment in entrepreneurship and youth-led social innovation best have an impact for peace in the long-term?
Thank you! Appreciate your contribution to this e-discussion.

Lynrose Jane Genon Moderator

Hi, Melody! Thank you for  raising very important points and for sharing the report. I agree that we need to allow young women , men and members of the LGBTQIA+ community to be in charge and be meaningfully included in the implementation of YPS Agenda in a more holistic approach from programming, to implementation to monitoring and evaluation  and impact assessment, and this must be coupled with capacity building.

If I may add on reducing vulnerabilities of youth, we need to recognize that youth is a diverse group, and youth have diverse vulnerabilities. For instance, stereotypes around gender and age can cause invisibilization of young women which leads to their exclusion . When you are a woman and you are young, you have a different experience and needs and you are disproportionately affected by the social challenges in the community. In our work in the Philippines we integrate the pillars of YPS and WPS Agenda in ensuring that the voices and meaningful participation of youth and women are amplified in spaces especially in political decision making processes. 

This totally resonates with our work in the Philippines.  

 

 

Andy Iji

Greetings  From Andy Iji

Moving from Talking to implementation of Youth , peace and Security Agenda.

Dear e -colleagues,

YPS is a unifining element for cohesion , representation, action and social change like no other.

Have we drive the change well? NO. Why is not working as it should be? Because we are engaging in motion without out movement!

How?

Five years after the adoption of the resolution 2250, no country of the has a National direction of action in the name of National Action Plan on UNSCR 2250!

Why is it so difficult to achieve?

1. .We have got many youth without the knowledge of UNSCR 2250.

To some, it is something by the UN in New York for the UN in New York.

This is because it is one thing to adopt a resolution is another to get it down to the very grassroots dwellers most of whom never heard about the resolution in their lives. That is , they were not involved in the process. And of course the whole population can never be  brought in the early stages of policy development that is why the birth of a resolution marks the beginning of investment in the resolution or policy.

, 2.Unfurtunately the UN had thought that the member States will be interested in the document as they never objected to adoption .The reality is that many governments don't care about youth, peace and security agenda.. attention is devoted to providing large inflated budgets for military hard ware and operations.prevetive diplomacy does not simply work in many places like Nigeria.Trouble makers are celebrated and rewarded. Special rewarding packages are prepared for them in the name of amnesty.

These criminals pose for photographs with state governors and other public servants. This tells youth that criminality pays!

3.Whereas young peace builders spend days and burn the mid night oil to prepare life changing initiatives for acceptance and implementation by the government representative. There never got read.or at least we never got feedbacks.

The story is long but the summary is simple. Youth peace and security agenda should be a cardinal objective for the UN in any country.

UN , please don't leave  YPS for the youth to run with it alone.we need your support to connect the governments, your financial support. To implement initiatives. and to train youth on YPS.

A dedicated youth agency is needed in UN .

I have worked on WPS with women over the years ,if there is a success to mention, it will be connected to the fact we have UN Women that assert itself on WPS .

I live in Nigeria.the story on YPS  will be told someday 

Meanwhile it is noteworthy  to mention that UNDP in Nigeria was receptive to us about this time last when we visited the UN headquarters in Abuja.

It behooves on the UNDP ,to translate our discussions, our planed programs, initiatives to action.

COVID 19 is here it's is even more imperative that  the regular red tapes are not explored to kill our passion to serve. COVID 19 means urgency in interventions.

Dealing with you requires flexibility and agility .Delay in implementation of work plan will kill YPS agenda.

Space and time will fail me to talk about YPS. 

Someday, I believe we will have the opportunity to drive the YPS to its destination , that, to me is more important  than talking

 

 

 

 

 

Lynrose Jane Genon Moderator

Dear Andy, thank you for your contribution. I agree with your point on the need for sustained support for youth initiatives . In the Philippines, I work with young people who are actively engaged in sustaining peace in the local  communities, and one of the roadblocks in scaling up existing youth-led initiatives is access to opportunities of funding and resources. Most of the youth-led networks making the YPS agenda tangible and real in the lives of young people in the communities  work with meager resources and taps mainly on volunteer labor.

In your context, I am wondering what would you say is needed for international organizations such as the UN to effectively support the work you do in Nigeria, especially in the localization of YPS and increasing awareness of the YPS agenda? 

Andy Iji

Dear Jane,

Thank you very much for the good work you are doing in the Philippines.It is encouraging to know that we 've got a UN personality who moved from talking to doing.

Here are what the UN and other international organizations should do.

1. Create a dedicated easy to access fund windows for youth led initiatives in YPS. Some of the youth organizations are not registered because of the nature or organization  and government requirements for registration.yet they are working real good.

2. UN  recruit youth consultant (s) who will develop and program for YPS agenda. 

UN & international organization funds training and capiciryu building on YPS , some of the training elements could be

1.understanding the YPS agenda and its provisions 

2. Mediation and reconciliation

3.Preventive diplomacy

4. Preventing violent extremism  amongst other related issues.

3. UN agencies working with youth leaders  and introduce  YPS agenda to the relevant  government departments  for government buy-in and ownership.

4.financial support to disseminate information on YPS to local languages.for example I have a publication on YPS which I share to participatants who attend my free trainings on YPS. It needs to be mass produced and translated into some major languages and share at Community level where access to internet is limited or non existent.

 5.Implementation of annual work plan. When our organization (Youth Peace and Security Network) develops work plan for the year, resources mobilization is always the major challenge, funding from UN is  needed to to achieve this. I will also suggest that even if the UN does not have all the funds, it is in a better position to mobilize resources from outside the UN system through partnership with other international organizations to get the funds to implement the work plans.

I think we can learn this from UN women.

6. A radio program on YPS , I have written to the UN in Nigeria for that purpose and no response. This radio program is the best shot to raising the awareness level on YPS.

In my training sessions, I discovered that out of 2000 persons in urban areas only 2 to 3 persons are aware of YPS. In rural Communities, awareness level is zero.

This shows there is work to be done!

 

 

 

 

 

supportfor youth led training 

 

Maria Stage Moderator

Thank you for your suggestions, Andy! Accessible and dedicated funding to youth organizations is needed, but - as you mention - there are barriers complicating this. Some of these barriers are described in the progress study on youth, peace and security 'the missing peace' and a report by UNOY and Search for Common Ground on the nature of youth peacebuilding organizations. Some UN funding windows that support young people as agents of peace through projects are the Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative of the Peacebuilding Fund and UNDP's funding window on governance, peacebuilding and resilience.
You have a good point on the recruitment of young professionals to work on youth, peace and security projects. A young workforce is a part of the UN Youth Strategy 'Youth2030' and there are some entry points in place, for instance the youth volunteer modality of UNV.
I like your reflection on the UN having a role in bringing together young people, governments and other stakeholders. It is important to create space for conducive discussions on youth perceptions on peace and security.
Thank you for your work on youth, peace and security and for your contribution to this e-discussion!

 

Samira Barucija - Homoras Moderator

Hi Andy,

Thanks for your engagement in your local community and here on the platform.

I agree with your suggestions and there should be a deeper conversation about each of the proposals you made. 

I relate to your struggles as not many people in my country know of YPS or Agenda 2030 or even SDGs. This is the reality that I have to work with together with my colleagues. What we have decided is to focus on is implementing the activities that are a part of these larger frameworks and informing people about them along the way. I can see some progress on recognizing YPS and the SDGs but as long as activities that will help us achieve these great frameworks are happening I am hopeful that we will get to the goal. Youth that I have worked with locally and globally have clearly expressed a will to implement principles of youth empowerment, peace and security without necessarily knowing of understanding of YPS. I am happy to have a platform that can help them grow and learn more about it, and I believe that grassroots organizations are positioned well to do this work.

Keep up the great work!

Samira

Noella Richard Moderator

Hi everyone!

Many thanks to Maria Stage and Lynrose Jane Genon for the comprehensive summary of the past week of exchanges! Welcome to the last week of this e-discussion on youth, peace and security and let me also convey my warmest wishes for 2021!

My name is Noella Richard and I am UNDP youth global programme manager. I am very honored to moderate this online conversation with Samira Barucija - Homoras  a young peacebuilder from Bosnia and Herzegovina and young leader from the UNDP 16x16 initiative.

Samira and I very much look forward to hearing about your perspectives and experiences regarding the roles young people play as critical agents of change to sustain peace, in your own context, and how we could best invest in them. 

A helpful and detailed list of questions has been posted for reference (e-discussion description), to help you frame your contributions. Please also feel free to share links to key documents, press releases, project documents, reports, evaluations, in particular if you have less time to produce a detailed response!

It is our hope that we can use this space as a way to reflect on the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda and on UNDP’s YPS journey , lift promising practices, be candid about challenges and bottlenecks, and share new opportunities to work with young peacebuilders as trusted partners!

Please remember that this conversation is public - we therefore encourage you to spread the word in your networks!

Thank you for your time and valuable insights!

On behalf of Samira and myself, with kind regards.

Samira Barucija - Homoras Moderator

Hi Noella Richard,

Thank you for the introductions.

We are so excited to be able to engage in meaningful conversation with everyone who decided to join us on this platform.

Thank you all for your thoughts and work!

Samira

Priya Sood

Greetings to all.

Thank you for a meaningful e-discussion. My name is Priya Sood and I am the coordinator of the Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies

My question to young leaders today is how do we, as the SDG 16 community, reach citizens that are not part of conversations, not the usual suspects, not the ones that already have access to information on the 2030 Agenda and SDG 16.   We are a multi-stakeholder platform and have engaged dynamic 16X16 youth speakers at high-level events here in NYC.  Their participation alone has positively changed the way our advocacy messages are received by member states.  This can be noted as a success but baby ones. 

Since we focus on monitoring and reporting on SDG 16 I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight a Global Alliance & Transparency, Accountability and Participation Network guidance that was recently launched - 'Mainstreaming SDG 16. Using the Voluntary National Review to Advance Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies'.  Chapter 5 takes a deeper dive at how to ensure meaningful youth engagement and a LNOB approach to mainstreaming SDG 16 by promoting youth participation in national planning and local planning, budgeting and decision-making processes.  Case studies and lessons learned are shared throughout which could help our  community. We plan to rollout a thematic focused webinar discussion on LNOB – what does it mean practice? Look forward to reviewing all the comments in greater detail and feeding these into our plans and action in 2021.

All the best

Samira Barucija - Homoras Moderator

Hi Priya Sood,

Thank you for your contribution to this important conversation and the work that you are doing.

Your question is of great importance and I am glad we get to talk about it. I will be diving my reflection on it from my personal experience and global and local work. 

I think it is important to meet the target group, youth, educators, entrepreneurs, governments, where they are, doing what they do. If the target group is youth, I would suggest meeting them in youth-focused spaces in the grassroots, identifying those who are already doing work on the track of what the Agendas and SDGs are aiming for, and assisting them with the implementation of what they are doing and bring them closer to the global initiatives and provide opportunities to get better connections to other stakeholders, including the UN. I believe that 16X16 is a great example of this and its success. The same is an option of working with any stakeholders.

Local UN offices have a great opportunity to assist in the outreach to different stakeholders and a productive link with them in the middle and the grassroots being at one end and UN and it’s platforms on the other. 

@Andy gave some great input on how to support youth in particular from his experience in his comments above. I encourage you to read his comments made 5 days ago.

Sincere greetings from Sarajevo,

Samira


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