Youth, Peace and Security
The Youth Cooperation Programme of the North-South Centre is developing a “Youth, Peace and Security” (YPS) agenda with the view of including the most recent developments in the field of youth participation and youth policies to achieve its mission: to increase young people and youth organisations’ capacities and facilitates their participation in decision making processes towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
This new programmatic priority is linked to the Council of Europe’s youth priority “peaceful and inclusive societies" and is grounded on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on YPS: a ground-breaking resolution which recognizes that “young people play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security”.
The UNSCR 2250 identifies five key pillars for action: participation, protection, prevention, partnerships and disengagement and reintegration. The North-South Centre is focusing its work on the pillar of participation and it takes stock of the Independent Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security “The Missing Peace”, particularly the Chapter 3.1 which highlights the need to ensure to young people “meaningful political inclusion”.
The specific approach of the North-South Centre on the YPS agenda aims at exploring and fostering the complementary relationship between democratic participation, human rights and peacebuilding.
To that end, the North-South Centre has been promoting and participating in a series of initiatives, following a path that goes form uplifting youth engagement in peace and democratic processes to enhancing the interregional and multilevel cooperation to support such youth engagement in peace processes.
The YPS agenda of the North-South Centre is developed in partnership with the key players in the area (The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, United Network of Young Peacebuilders among others) and funded through a transversality scheme of projects and programmes: the South Programme III funded by the European Union, the Euro-Mediterranean youth cooperation project funded by the voluntary contributions of Portugal, Spain and Malta and in synergy with the Network on Youth and Global Citizenship which is directly supported by the North-South Centre.
Lisbon Forum 2018
The Lisbon Forum 2018 on "Youth, Peace and Security in the Euro-Mediterranean region" inserted in the agenda of all North-South Centre’s stakeholders the need to uplift youth engagement in peace and democratic processes in the Euro-Mediterranean Region. The main players in this area welcomed the outcomes and the key recommendations of this high-level event, and led the United Nations Population Fund* to invite the North-South Centre to present its work during the 1st Youth Forum of the Arab region.
*acts as the secretariat of the UN Progress Study on Youth Peace and Security
1st Youth Forum of the Arab region
The Youth Forum of the Arab region, which took place in December 2018 in Morocco, allowed the Youth Cooperation Programme of North-South Centre to connect with many youth organisations from the Arab region carrying out exceptional work to combat discrimination and prevent violent extremism. On that occasion, the North-South Centre also contributed to shape “the Regional Strategic framework on Youth, Peace and Security in the Arab states” initiated during the Lisbon Forum, strengthening the relationship with like-minded governments and international institutions, particularly sensitive to youth and peace issues.
2019 is a crucial year to place at the top of the global agenda the recognition of young people as key players in peacebuilding and conflict prevention. The North-South Centre is contributing to this global effort by promoting both capacity building and advocacy/networking opportunities.
A quadrilogue seminar entitled "Broadening the space for Youth, Peace and Security" organised in the framework of the 7th University on Youth and Global Citizenship, allowed representatives from governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities and civil society to share perspectives and jointly look for new youth-based and human rights-based policies on peace and security challenges.
This topic is also a relevant dimension of the work of the Network on Youth and Global Citizenship, which in 2019 focused on “youth and justice”: to ensure the protection of human rights, to advocate for social justice, and increase the capacity of young people to face and report abuses and violations will be the challenges that the Network addressed through its 2019 Universities.
Training course "Strengthening Youth Capacities for Peace and Security"
The activity built the capacities of 20 youth peace builders and young human rights activists from the Euro-Mediterranean region in the field of democratic participation, advocacy and Prevention of Violent Extremism, enabling them also to use human rights mechanisms and reporting tools to address injustice and transform conflicts.
The course focused on the complementary relationship between human rights and peacebuilding fields, unfolding potential synergies between these two sectors to create safer spaces for political participation in conflict affected communities
The activity took place in the framework of the 20th University on Youth and Development: while developing human rights-based competences, participants benefit of a unique space to build new networks and explore new approaches to face peace and security challenges.
The 2018 Lisbon Forum prompted the importance of providing spaces and prospects for youth to unfold their potential in order to sustain the youth, peace and security (YPS) UN agenda.
To this end, a seed funding scheme was launched for youth-led projects taking place in the Euro-Mediterranean region connected with the key findings and recommendations of the 2018 Lisbon Forum.
Three local and regional projects which promote youth engagement in peace, security and democratic processes in the Euro-Med region were selected. Field researches, training courses, workshops, roundtables, seminars and a forum are taking place between October 2019 and February 2020 in Egypt, Morocco and Palestine*.
This initiative takes place in the framework of the Joint Programme of the European Union and the Council of Europe “Ensuring sustainable democratic governance and human rights in the Southern Mediterranean” (South Programme III - 2018-2020).
Seminar "Enhancing interregional and interregional and multilevel cooperation to support local youth engagement in peace processes"
The seminar followed-up the Lisbon Forum 2018’s conclusions by focusing on how interregional cooperation and international mechanisms already in place can support the development of national and local youth inclusive strategies in peacebuilding process.
Funded by South Programme III and organised in partnership with the Minister of Youth of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the activity counted with the involvement of all the major stakeholders active in the “Youth, Peace and Security agenda”: from the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth to local youth initiatives from Finland to Yemen.
The Seminar encouraged a greater cooperation among relevant actors, identified new challenges to be further addressed and resulted in a set of recommendations and key messages for a more youth-inclusive global agenda for peace.