This conference, the second of its series, highlighted the power of youth volunteering to address violent extremism and promote social inclusion. The conference offered a platform for youth volunteers to connect with and influence the broader global agenda on peace and development and foster greater international collaboration among youth volunteers.
The main theme of this year’s Forum is “University Consortium and Volunteers”. The Forum will provide an opportunity for the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme to strengthen its long-standing partnership with Japanese universities for the mobilization of young Japanese professionals fielded as University UN Youth Volunteers. Currently, nine universities are part of United Nations University Volunteers Program led by the Kwansei Gakuin University and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan.
More than 130 young people, representatives of youth-led organizations and youth activists took part in the event. The Forum-Café drew attention to youth contributions to peace and development globally, and strengthened cooperation between youth and the representatives of the Government, educational institutions, civil society, and international organizations.
During the forum, the participants discussed the role of youth in promoting energy-efficient lifestyles, advocating for sustainable development and securing equal access to resources for peace and stability.
On 19 August 2017, national UN Volunteer Ahmed Osman, serving as Protection Assistant with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Sudan, led an interactive discussion with youth on the importance of volunteerism to achieve peace and contribute to development across all communities. Ahmed highlighted how “the SDGs cannot be achieved without people’s engagement at all stages.” He also underlined that volunteers can facilitate and support participatory approaches in planning, implementing and monitoring the SDGs.
Ludovic Brandhot is a national UN Volunteer serving with the local government in Mbrès, Central African Republic. For more than four years, instability persists in the country. Approximately 60% of the territory remains occupied by armed groups. In the prefecture of Nana-Grébizi, in the heart of the country, clashes between rebel groups in 2016 and March 2017 completely paralyzed the activities in the city. The civilian population was trapped. Today, te humanitarian situation continues to be unbearable.
To mark International Youth Day, India launches with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) its first national online volunteering platform, a first of its kind in India and for UNV. The platform serves as a marketplace for non-profit organizations and volunteers to connect, allowing youth networks, volunteer involving organizations, civil society organizations, public institutions and State governments to get support from online volunteers completely free of charge.
The world’s youth population is at an all-time high, with 1.8 billion people aged 15 to 29. Most importantly, close to 87% of them live in developing countries, and 13% are unemployed. Both poverty and unemployment are well-known breeding grounds for conflict.
As you will be able to read in the stories below, volunteerism offers valuable opportunities for youth engagement, leadership and participation to contribute to the development of peaceful and inclusive societies.
Three national UN Volunteers are working to empower adolescent girls by raising awareness amongst adolescents, their families and local authorities on women’s rights, and addressing issues such as early marriage, sexuality and violence against women. Their work contributes to the Saqilaj B’e Joint Programme (JP) implemented by UN Women, PAHO/WHO, UNESCO, UNFPA and UNICEF, together with the Government of Guatemala.
In Mali, the road to peace and reconciliation has been wrought by a 2012 military coup and insecure borders, combined with a proliferation of small arms illegally imported or stolen from unsecured stockpiles. This, however, has not stopped the Malian people from championing democracy—the country is in a period of transition geared towards the re-establishment of constitutional order and democratic governance. In 2013, Presidential and Parliamentary elections were held in the country, representing a milestone on the path to peace.
One international UN Volunteer, ten community volunteers, and one UN Online Volunteer are running the Start-Up Choihona project, which has so far organized two national entrepreneurial competitions promoting innovation and youth employment. Quarterly competitions offer an opportunity for new entrepreneurs to present their unique business ideas to a panel of judges. Given the chance to pitch their ideas, Tajik entrepreneurs have the chance to get feedback on whether their business ideas could work and gain access to valuable networks of potential business partners and investors.