As we begin a new year in the hold of a persisting pandemic, there are critical issues that the Commonwealth’s Youth Programme is fighting to keep in the hearts and minds of decision-makers and influencers. One of them is the peace and security of our youth.
Twenty-twenty was a tough year for young people, in every sense of the word. The pandemic has not only snatched away rites of passage and defining development milestones; it is predicted to plunge already critical youth unemployment levels to greater depths. Young people continue to be marginalised, excluded from decision-making, and are often the most vulnerable to conflict and violence.
Speaking at an event in celebration of the anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, Assistant Programme Officer in the Commonwealth Youth Programme, Aurelia Bruce, stressed the connection between peace and security and youth development.
She said: “Access to opportunity or our ability to take advantage of social and economic prospects depend on our security. Whether we’re talking about youth development in the context of jobs, education, gender, climate, health, political participation – whatever it is, it is grounded in our safety, our security and our ability to pursue those things without fear.”
Organised by the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN) the event is part of an ongoing pan-Commonwealth collaboration to devise and implement strategies to protect our youth and support young peacebuilders. And, to ensure we lead by example, we have put our young people in charge of the process.
Working alongside experts in the Secretariat, youth-led organisations and groups have been working on strategies to catalyse action and positive change in the youth peace and security paradigm.
One such initiative was the convening of the ‘Power of Youth to Build Peace in the Commonwealth’ forum – a collaboration between CYPAN, youth groups, the Commonwealth Youth Programme and the Commonwealth’s Countering Violent Extremism unit. This forum not only focused on raising awareness of issues around peace and security, and giving young people a platform to discuss and create solutions, it will help shape messaging for Commonwealth leaders ahead of their upcoming summit in June 2021.
Speaking at the forum, youth peacebuilder and pan-Commonwealth Coordinator for CYPAN, Christine Odera, pointed out the importance of political will and action at a national level. She said: “The National Action Plans will need people to support its implementation. Hence an all-inclusive, multi-stakeholder approach and engagement in the whole process is a must.”
For more information or to get involved in this aspect of our programme contact: [email protected]
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