Governments announce new actions to meaningfully include youth in peacebuilding efforts at the High-Level Global Conference on Youth-Inclusive Peace Processes
21 January 2022 (Doha, Qatar) — At the virtual High-Level Global Conference on Youth-Inclusive Peace Processes, more than 160 young peacebuilders from 74 countries joined discussions over two days with a diverse range of representatives from Governments, civil society, academia and multilateral institutions to explore opportunities and build partnerships for decision-makers to support youth-led and youth-inclusive peace efforts.
“A holistic approach to preventing conflicts and peacebuilding is needed — one that integrates peace and security with issues such as gender, climate and human rights. Young people are already making these interlinkages and leading by example. From monitoring ceasefires to defending democracy to taking climate action, young people have been innovating to mobilize broader constituencies and to create solutions,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
At the conference, a High-level Joint Statement underlining the need for accelerated implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda around the world was launched by Government representatives of Colombia, Finland and Qatar. The event also featured the launch of A Guide for Public Officials in support of country-level operationalization of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda, as well as a first-of-its-kind Five-year Strategic Action Plan for Youth-Inclusive Peace Processes on strengthening youth-inclusive peace processes building on recommendations put forth by key stakeholders working in the space.
“Young people around the world are a critical catalyst when it comes to building more peaceful and resilient communities. It’s time we more adequately invested in the efforts of young peacebuilders, to ensure they have meaningful opportunities to contribute to inclusive peace processes,” said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.
With a view towards ensuring that young voices can shape ongoing as well as future peace processes, the conference built on the global policy paper WE ARE HERE: An Integrated Approach to Youth-Inclusive Peace Processes, and served as an official follow-up to the International Symposium on Youth Participation in Peace Processes in Helsinki which took place in 2019.
“We affirm the need for an inclusive approach to peace, whereby women and young people have ownership of peace processes,” emphasized H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar. “This conference has demonstrated that we need a whole-of-society approach and that we must work together to create fairer, more inclusive, peaceful and sustainable societies.”
“Strengthening the dialogue between youth and decision-makers is a key element in advancing sustainable peace and security. The two outcome documents take our agenda several steps forward and implementing them will be critical in order to ensure further progress on this important agenda, particularly at the regional and country level,” said H.E. Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
H.E. María Juliana Ruiz, First Lady of Colombia, underscored, “The national and international authorities must avail youth’s capacity and active participation, while young people have to use their powerful voices and their innovative ideas to be part of the solutions.”
During his closing remarks, young peacebuilder Mohammad Yahya Qanie from Afghanistan highlighted, “I ask our leaders to think of the legacy they leave behind and how they should be remembered by young people who are struggling today around the world. The Youth, Peace and Security agenda is a key to unlocking that legacy.”
The Global Conference is a joint initiative of the Governments of the State of Qatar, Finland and Colombia, as well as co-organized by the United Nations Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth (OSGEY) and Search for Common Ground (SFCG) in partnership with the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA/PBSO), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Education Above All (EAA), and the United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY).
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