23 November 2017
Young People Featured in Peacebuilding, Human Rights Initiatives
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

UNA-Canada hosted the 'Youth as Peacebuilders Forum' on the sidelines of the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference.

The UNGA's Third Committee, UN Environment, and the UN Country Team in Sudan also took action on engaging youth and highlighting the views and ideas of youth.

21 November 2017: The UN Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) recently hosted the ‘Youth as Peacebuilders Forum’ to invite youth from Canada and around the world to share innovative ideas and engage perspectives on current challenges. The UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, UN Environment, and the UN Country Team in Sudan also took action on engaging youth and highlighting the views and ideas of youth.

The Youth as Peacebuilders Forum convened with the support of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, from 14-15 November 2017, on the sidelines of the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference in Vancouver, Canada. It provided an opportunity to discuss Canadian policies regarding youth participation in peacebuilding, as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2250 (S/RES/2250) of December 2015 on Youth, Peace, and Security, and its five pillars for action on participation, protection, prevention, partnership, and disengagement and reintegration. The Forum followed a youth-led consultations that took place from 23 October-10 November 2017, on the contribution of youth to peacebuilding. Among the Ministerial conference’s achievements, Canada’s press release notes that 54 countries endorsed the Vancouver Principles on the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers in peacekeeping operations.

On 17-18 November, more than 130 young Members of Parliament around the world attended the Fourth Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians. The Conference, jointly organized by the Parliament of Canada and IPU addressed youth political participation, migration, social integration, and inclusive economic opportunities for all. UNGA President Miroslav Lajčák, speaking via video message, remarked that young people have, historically, “been shut out of the rooms and halls where decisions are made,” and it is time for those voices to be listened to. He noted that young migrants and refugees can be assets to their new communities, as sources of skills, labour and new ideas, but this can only happen if they are integrated and included. He also reported that 73 million of young people are unemployed, and said he will host an innovative youth event in May 2018 that will focus on education, employment, and prevention of radicalization.

On 17 November, the UNGA’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) approved a revised draft resolution on ‘Policies and Programmes Involving Youth’ (A/C.3/72/L.15/Rev.1). The resolution urges governments, in consultation with youth and other relevant stakeholders, to develop integrated, holistic and inclusive youth policies and programmes based on the World Programme of Action for Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to evaluate them regularly as part of the follow-up action on and implementation of the Programme of Action at all levels.

For the first time in 2017, UN Environment, together with Covestro, held the Young Champions of the Earth competition, to support the innovation of the world’s younger generation to find lasting environmental solutions. From 600 applications, six Young Champions from each region (Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and West Asia) will be selected as winners. These will have the opportunity to receive US$15,000 seed funding, intensive training, and tailored mentorship to help them operationalize their environmental ideas. On 16 November, Adam Dixon from the UK was announced as one of the Champions for his hydroponic technology that supports the growth of plants using ten times less land and water than conventional horticulture. UN Environment will announced other winners throughout November.

Young Sudanese artists showcased original paintings and sculptures inspired by the SDGs.

In Sudan, the UN Country Team, in collaboration with the Rashid Diab Arts Center the and the College of Fine and Applied Arts of the Sudan University of Science and Technology, organized the ‘Youth Colour the Future’ art exhibition from 16-18 November. Featuring 50 young Sudanese artists, the exhibition showcased original paintings and sculptures inspired by the SDGs, based on briefings, photos, videos and stories provided by communications staff of 19 UN agencies, funds and programmes.

Youth will also feature in a number of upcoming discussions. Among them, the Fifth African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) Summit taking place from 29-30 November 2017, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, will focus on investing in youth for a sustainable future. Ahead of the Summit, UNICEF carried out an opinion survey of young people living in fragile settings in West and Central Africa, on the importance of education in times of conflict. Per the UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe, the survey’s outcome is expected to be relayed to the African and European leaders attending the Summit.

The 6th EU-Africa Business Forum (EABF) is scheduled for 27 November, in Abidjan, and will consider ‘Investing in Job Creation for Youth’ as its overarching theme. The Business Forum will look at the challenges and opportunities for investment in Africa along strategic priorities of the EU-Africa cooperation, including: renewable energy; agribusiness; infrastructure; and the digital economy. Female and youth entrepreneurship will be considered a cross-cutting theme in all discussions and will be subject to a specific thematic session with a strong focus on ensuring decent work and quality jobs for young people and women. [UNA-Canada Webpage on Youth as Peacebuilders] [University of British Columbia News on Youth as Peacebuilders Forum] [Canada Press Release on 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Conference] [UNGA Revised Draft Resolution on ‘Policies and Programmes Involving Youth’ (A/C.3/72/L.15/Rev.1)] [IPU Press release on Fourth IPU Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians] [UNGA President Remarks during the Fourth IPU Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians] [UN Security Council Resolution 2250 (2015)] [UN Sudan Press Release on ‘Youth Colour the Future’ Exhibition] [UNRIC Press Release on AU-EU Summit] [EU Webpage on 5th AU-EU Summit] [6th EABF Website]

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