Youth Initiatives Foster SDG Implementation, Peace and Security
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
story highlights

In Sri Lanka, 'SDG Action Campaign' partners selected 50 schools representing 25 districts of the country to receive funding to design and implement an SDG project in their communities.

UN-Habitat announced it is creating youth opportunities through the Urban Peace Labs programme.

The UN Security Council held its first open debate on youth, peace and security, in advance of the High-level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace.

May 2018: In Sri Lanka, a campaign is mobilizing and funding youth-action on SDG implementation. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council held its first open debate and considered a report on youth, peace and security – steps towards finalizing the UN Strategy on Youth and fostering the engagement of young people in the 2030 Agenda. In addition, under the umbrella of SDG 16 (peace, security and strong institutions), the UN-Habitat Urban Peace Labs programme is promoting behavioral change among youth to prevent conflict and violence and to create livelihood opportunities.

In Sri Lanka, the UN, together with the Ministry of Education and in partnership with Hatton National Bank and the Presidential Secretariat, launched the ‘SDG Action Campaign’ in 2017 to reach out and mobilize youth to advocate for and work towards the SDGs. The campaign encourages school students from across the country to design and implement an SDG-based project in their communities. ‘SDG Action Campaign’ partners selected 50 schools to receive funding to design and implement an SDG project in their communities. The schools, which represent the 25 districts of Sri Lanka, were recognized at a ceremony in Colombo on 5 April 2018. They were awarded a financial grant and technical support for implementation of their projects over a five-month period. [Sri Lanka Press Release on SDG Action Campaign]

On 23 April, the UN Security Council held its first open debate on youth, peace and security, in advance of the High-level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace organized by the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) from 24-25 April. Participants called for changing negative stereotypes on youth, underscoring the role of young people in preventing and resolving conflict. They also welcomed a study titled, ‘The missing peace: independent progress study on youth and peace and security,’ the first-ever report of its kind. A UN-Habitat press release notes that both the debate and the study serve as key milestones towards finalization of the UN Strategy on Youth, which seeks to advance the needs and rights of young people across the globe and promote their engagement in the implementation, and in the follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Open Debate on Youth, Peace and Security] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on High-level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace] [UN-Habitat Press Release on Youth and Peace]

UN-Habitat also announced that it is creating opportunities for youth to contribute to the peacebuilding process through the Urban Peace Labs programme. The programme seeks to promote behavioral change among youth to prevent conflict and violence, and to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities that foster their social and economic reintegration. Per UN-Habitat, the programme has, so far, held 1,500 peacebuilding workshops and training sessions for young people, engaging 55 youth in leadership roles. [UN-Habitat Press Release on Youth and Peace]

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