Young peacebuilders demand central role in global peace efforts

Aug 22, 2015

Youth participants attend closing ceremony of the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security. Photo: Noëlla Richard/UNDP

AMMAN - Over 200 young peacebuilders from more than 100 countries, with the full support of the Government of Jordan, called upon the international community to partner with young people in global efforts to build peace. Central to their demands was a call for the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution, recognizing the vital role that young people can - and must - play in peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism.

The declaration was adopted by consensus on the second day of the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security, which was held under the patronage of Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II in partnership with the United Nations and civil society organizations at the King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan.

Jordan will now take the declaration, in which the young peacebuilders “call upon the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution on Youth, Peace and Security” to the United Nations Security Council, where it is currently a member. It will also make the voice of the young peacebuilders heard there.

“The Amman Youth Declaration offers a recipe for engaging youth in countering violent extremism and promoting peace,” said Ahmad Alhendawi, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. “Youth have made their voices loud and clear, and it is the responsibility of all actors to recognize the vital role that young people can – and must – play in peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism.”

The four-page document spells out the vision of young peacebuilders on how the international community should include young people centrally in its efforts to achieve stability and security, and “recognize that we, youth, are engaged in shaping lasting peace in our communities as positive contributors to peace, justice and reconciliation.”

“I was not a bad person; I was just in a bad place. And there are lots of young people like me,” said young Norwegian peace activist Yousef Assidiq, as he described the factors that led him to extremism, and illustrated how his - and many of his peers’ - destructive trajectories could be averted with solutions that promote the rights, needs and huge potential of young people.

The declaration highlights the four key areas where the international community should partner with young people:

•    Participation and leadership in peace and security issues
•    Preventing violence and building peace
•    Promoting gender equality
•    Young people’s socioeconomic empowerment.

It was drafted after a consultation involving 10,000 young people engaged in peace and security issues from around the world, and then discussed, developed and adopted by the 200 young peacebuilders at the forum.

The final day of the forum also included a detailed look at the way Jordan has supported its young people, and a round of commitments from senior figures at influential organizations working in the field of peace and security.

The Forum was hosted by Jordan and co-organized, on behalf of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development, by the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, Search for Common Ground and the United Network of Young Peacebuilders.

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