Youth Participation in Peace and Security: A Look at the Impact of Violent Conflict Members

Published February 16, 2023
Reading | 3 min

Many of the countries and societies represented at EDYN are turned apart by violent conflicts, which keep impacting the young generation. This is why the questions of what is peace and security remain highly relevant. However peaceful methods of conflict resolution are important not only to prevent military confrontations but also to ensure quality living for all on a daily basis. To understand, what is a violent conflict, which is opposed to peace and security, we should define them. Security is the predictability of one’s future. Nobody’s future is predictable in a totalitarian state. This predictability is needed both for individuals and the states. When an individual is protected against repression and the state from destruction and war. Peace is not only the absence of war but the way we treat each other in everyday life, whether or not we discriminate against each other. Violence is something that interferes with an individual’s or collective’s choice against their will. It may be direct, structural, or cultural (the latter 2 usually lead up to the first one). Conflicts do not always imply violence. They often are a counter-diction of either just publicly announced positions or more hidden interests, but also may stem from the exhaustive nature of resources, which are needed by the many.

Youth are expected to both fight in the wars and be active in transforming society and state, however without the participation of all generations, real change is not possible. Often young people are in survival mode and do not have time, resources, or social and other capital to influence processes around them. Youth with disabilities are often disproportionately affected by conflicts, yet are not involved in peace processes or disaster preparedness. Young people under 25 are not allowed to be elected to Parliament under the law. Currently, there are no members of Parliament under 30 in Georgia. Young people, who live apart from their families have difficulty voting.

At the Network of Former Youth Delegates to the UN, where I am a co-founder, we promote youth participation and advocate in front of the UN ambassadors to encourage them to create UNYD programs in their countries and to involve youth more in the UN work. We organize events involving the UN staff together with young people from all around the world including the parties to different conflicts. We even had an internal argument amongst the network members on the posts 2 of them were publishing regarding an ongoing conflict. I also have been participating in training courses and confidence-building in-person meetings with young people from Abkhazia.

Young women often are missed out, as organizations working on either women or youth think that young women and girls belong more to the other’s competence. Young women often get discriminated in youth organizations, as they are being assigned gendered tasks of being more in the back, implementing the technical side of the activities, while they are considered young beginners in women’s organizations as well. Only 20 percent of decision-making positions are held by women in Georgia. Women own less real estate and earn less than men on average. Women have to work 2 shifts, meaning their home responsibilities and work, if they are employed, while men do not bare home duties. Young women and girls shall be paid more attention to through both the Women, Peace and Security and Youth, Peace, and Security resolutions.

Young people shall be not only beneficiaries of peace-related strategies, but co-creators of them. There are a few different levels of civic, including youth participation: The information level, when youth only know, what is happening, consultation when the youth are asked for an opinion before a given policy is planned and co-management when decisions are made together with young people when they are a part of the formal decision-making bodies. Youth shall be involved in all its aspects including the peace negotiations; We also are capable of raising public awareness of cohesion.

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