Youth as Peacebuilders: Enhancing youth resilience and building peace

Violent extremism threatens the security and fundamental rights of citizens all over the world, and undermines the attempts of many countries to achieve sustainable peace. Many violent extremist organizations recruit disenfranchised youth and incite them to commit acts of violence.

The way youth resilience manifests itself is highly dependent on its social, economic and political environments. When youth are provided with opportunities for participation, they are more likely to capitalize on their resilience constructively, thus becoming very valuable assets in peacebuilding.

Youth are essential actors in contributing to peacebuilding processes. They are among the most affected by conflict and can play important roles as agents of positive change. UNESCO aims to create opportunities for young people to practice new forms of global solidarity so that they can become engaged as change-makers and peacebuilders in their communities and wider societies, and promote a constructive vision of young people as leaders.

UNESCO’s framework for action on resilience and peacebuilding is structured in three areas:

- Youth empowerment and inclusion:
- Foster youth participation in peace and security decision-making processes, thus supporting good governance.
- Engage with Member States, partner organizations and other stakeholders to develop national youth policies.
- Support the design and implementation of youth-driven actions and initiatives for resilience and peacebuilding.
- Support Member States in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2250, for the inclusion of young people in peacebuilding processes.

- Global advocacy and awareness-raising:
- Organize events to give visibility to young people participating in peacebuilding processes and to raise stakeholder awareness of PVE-related topics.
- Develop visibility and communications actions that sensitize (both online and offline) on resilience, peacebuilding and violence prevention.
- Support research actions on violence and radicalization to better understand the social, political and economic factors that lead to violent extremism.
- Foster knowledge exchange and transfer of good practices at local and regional levels.

- Capacity development:
- Strengthen local resilience and equip youth (including youth organizations) with values, knowledge and skills to exchange, communicate and cooperate peacefully across social and cultural boundaries, and to meaningfully engage in civic processes.
- Strengthen youth capacities to counter false or violent narratives.
- Elaborate knowledge products and pedagogical materials.