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Celebrating youth’s role in peace and security efforts

After feeling unequally treated for her gender in schools, Minna was inspired to do something and bring men into the conversation on how to realise gender equality. Nathan films and screens documentaries to facilitate conversations on what is needed to address inequality and violence in his hometown of Fortaleza, Brazil.

These young peacebuilders started the discussion during the seminar that the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation co-organised with Fryshuset to celebrate the third anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security. This was a landmark step for recognising the positive and essential role that young people play around the world.

Minna Höggren and Liam Skogsby.

Minna Höggren of Sweden and Nathan Sampaio from Brazil shared the above stories to explain why they became engaged and what they are doing to promote peace in their communities. They were joined by Liam Skogsby of Sweden who through the project Tillsammans för Sverige (‘Together for Sweden’), brings young people from different religious backgrounds into dialogue. Together the youth explore how to work together to build a more peaceful and inclusive society.

Nathan Sampaio, Brazil.

When the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2250 on 9 December 2015, it highlighted the role of young people in promoting peace and conflict resolution. To help give light to the stories of youth work around the globe, a Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security was submitted to the Security Council in March 2018 (the full version ‘The Missing Peace’ was launched in September 2018). This important report underlined how young people contribute to peace and security and the need for greater collaboration in supporting these efforts and ensuring that they are meaningfully included in decision-making.

The second panel then turned to what is needed to bridge the gap between the policy processes described and practice. Joao Scarpelini, UN Youth Advisor for the Integrated Office of the

Joao Scarpelini, UN Youth Advisor for the Integrated Office of the UN Resident Coordinator for Somalia.

UN Resident Coordinator for Somalia, underscored the need to move beyond simply providing youth a seat at the table to instead support the active leadership of young people in peacebuilding. This kind of meaningful participation, Linda Skoksby, Project Manager at Fryshuset, described as requiring a connection with local organisations to share information on various policies and reach those youth who are most vulnerable to exclusion. Erike Tanghøj of the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) also noted that civil society has been working with youth for decades and that their best practices should be collected. At the same time, we need to continue advocating on youth, peace and security at the policy level to ensure action by the UN and Member States. Khalid Mohammed, with For the People Vivalla in Sweden, also discussed the importance of finding ways to facilitate better communication and dialogue between policymakers and grassroots initiatives, like his at the neighbourhood level.

Erike Tanghøj, Folke Bernadotte Academy.

The panel discussion concluded noting how best to link policy developments with implementation on the ground. Using the resolution as a tool to advocate for greater youth engagement by translating it through local experiences was mentioned as an effective way of bridging this gap. Many young people feel that they want to know about and understand what the UN resolution says in order to work with it. It is equally important to support, financially and otherwise, the work that young people are already doing in their communities to promote peace and security, even if this means sitting in a car for 48 hours to reach certain communities or helping youth get birth certificates.