More joint efforts required to unleash young people’s potential — panellists (The Jordan Times)

By Mohammad Ghazal – Aug 22,2015 – Last updated at Aug 22,2015

MADABA — UN and civil society leaders called on Friday for more institutionalised efforts to unleash young people’s potential to contribute to building global peace and safeguarding security.

Speaking at the opening of the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security, the panellists said all governments, civil society organisations and youth institutions should join ranks to render efforts in this respect a success.

“Youth can play a very important role in building peace… Their role is strategic,” said Oscar Fernandez, assistant secretary general for Peacekeeping Support at the UN Peace Building Support Office, during the session.

Young people can play a vital role in mobilising local communities. They can play a role in efforts for mediation, reconciliation, negotiations and others, said Fernandez.

“All countries need to create the enabling environment for youth to assume their role in shaping security agendas,” said Fernandez.

Shamil Idriss, president of Search for Common Ground organisation, said non-violent social inclusion of young people is the main pillar to enhance their role in peace building.

“We need to invest in youth capabilities as peace builders… There is a need for proper coordination among all stakeholders in this regard,” Idriss said.

Fighting exclusion of young people in societies is the way to realise growth and development and lead to a better future, Sima Bahous, assistant secretary general, assistant administrator and regional director for Arab states at the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said during the panel.

“Youth are the hope. They enjoy the passion, power, energy and enthusiasm so we must support them… We all need to work together as there is no development without peace,” said Bahous.

It is also a must to focus on providing young people with quality education and services, Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said at the panel.

Held at King’s Academy in Madaba, some 30km southwest of Amman, the forum, which concluded Saturday, gathered around 500 participants, including high level officials and leaders of youth organisations from all over the world.

Organisers of the forum include the Office of the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, United Nations Peace Building Support Office, UNFPA and UNDP with support of the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development, in partnership with Search for Common Ground and the United Network of Young Peace Builders.

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