Today, more than half of the world’s population is under the age of 30. Actively engaged at the community level and as change agents in formative national movements – from the Jasmine revolution in Tunisia to student uprisings in Burma/Myanmar to the climate movement in the US – young people are not only the future, they are also the present. However, both in times of peace and conflict, youth often lack access to decision making in countries across the world. In consultations, young people have identified political participation of youth as a key component of a peaceful and inclusive society.
The role of young people in peace and development, including their participation in decision-making processes, is increasingly emphasised in international frameworks and fora. UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security recognises young people’s positive contribution and calls for the involvement of young people in efforts to build peace. Agenda 2030 meanwhile recognises young people as critical agents for change and more than one third of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets reference young people explicitly or implicitly, with a focus on empowerment, participation or well-being. Yet, there continues to be resistance on the part of governments and leaders to provide space for youth participation in policy making, stemming from both cultural views and political dynamics at the national level.
How do we move beyond recognising the importance of youth participation and use these international policy frameworks to create a real change in how young people are able to influence the course of their countries and the world? What roles can international actors play in supporting existing and creating new spaces for youth to be included in decision making? How can we invest in youth, peace and security?
In this seminar, speakers who work to amplify the voices of youth in peace and development processes discussed the latest developments at the international policy level and on the ground to enable young people’s political engagement and access to decision making.
- Noëlla Richard, Youth Policy Specialist, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York
- Julius Kramer, Research Officer, Swedish Delegation for the 2030 Agenda
- Sarah Smith, Programme Assistant for Building Peace, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation
The event forms part of the seminar series “Implementing Agenda 2030”, jointly organised by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and UNDP Sweden.