The youth population of the world is estimated 1.8 billion, the largest it has ever been. The crucial role that youth can play in promoting peace, security and peacebuilding will be the subject of an EU conference on "Youth, Peace and Security, Promoting Youth in Peace building" on 23-24 May in Brussels. It will bring together young NET-MED members with young peacebuilders, senior EU leaders, the UN, MEPs and civil society from Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean.You can join and follow all the discussions using the hashtag #youth4peace. The event is due to be opened by the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani and closed by EU High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini.
The event is part of EU's implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda, as set out in UN Security Council Resolution 2250 (UNSCR 2250) It builds on the work done at around various EU networks and initiatives to promote youth in peacebuilding, such as the Africa Union – European Union (AU-EU) Youth Plug-in Initiative and the Young Mediterranean Voices Plus initiative. The EU has held a regional consultation in September 2017 on Youth, Peace and Security in support of the global Progress Study on these subjects.
In conflicts and instability around the world, young people are often the most directly affected and this event will have a series of thematic panels to debate some of the most pressing issues. The following issues will be discussed on 23 May in the European Parliament in Brussels:
"Youth inclusion for conflict prevention and sustaining peace": This panel will look at how we can get young people more involved in preventing conflict. Preventing conflict and addressing its root causes.
"Young people innovating for peace": This panel will discuss the unconventional and informal peacebuilding approaches and explore how young people harness the power of technology, media, sports and the arts to build peaceful and inclusive societies.
"Empowering young people to prevent/counter violent extremism": The overwhelming majority of young people are peaceful. Simplistic approaches overexpose "youth at risk", stereotyping young men as "potential perpetrators" and young women as "potential victims", while neglecting the peaceful majority.
"Protecting the human rights of youth": Protection is one of the five pillars of UNSCR 2250, and research shows that youth feel disproportionately affected by repressive governments, organised crime and gender-based violence.
On 24 May at the European External Action Service (EEAS) there will be the closing session with the EU High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini and the young peacebuilders participating in the conference, reuniting her with some of the young leaders whom she has met in previous dialogue events.
The interactive discussion between the High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini and the young peacebuilders, including NET-MED Youth members, will focus on the four main themes of the conference from the previous days and it will allow for validating the recommendations and conclusions of the conference in an inclusive way.
The discussion on 23 May will be web streamed live from the European Parliament and on 24 and the closing session will be covered on social media by the EEAS using the #youth4peace hashtag.