“Who is a youth?” is probably the question on your mind at the moment. The United Nations, defines ‘Youth’, as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by Member States.
However, the definition of youth will vary in different regions. Important to note is that there are about 1.8 billion youth on the planet today representing the largest youth generation in human history and account for the largest fraction of the world’s population at nearly 40%, according to the World Youth Organization. At Arigatou international – End Child Poverty, we view the youth as crucial agents towards peace building. With such peace created, there is a suitable environment for efforts towards ending child poverty.
By being peace builders, the youth contribute to the realization of the SDGs, particularly SDG 16 on: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Here are some Insights on Youth, Peace and Security.
- According to World Youth Organization (WYO), youth unemployment is one of the leading causes for lack of peace all around the globe where we see youth getting into practices that go against the practice of peace and security such as petty theft and violent extremism so as to make ends meet.
- The youth are easy targets for recruitment, by radical and violent extremist groups as they are believed to be marginalized and desperate to alleviate themselves from hardships according to WYO. Without being educated on this groups and how they affect us, it becomes harder to prevent them from joining such groups.
- According to the World Youth Organization, war and disasters have a large impact on mental health and psychosocial well-being of the youth that is, they may still display violent tendencies even after rehabilitation making it harder for them to employ peaceful practices.
- Youth are the driving force of today’s issues on peace and seeing that they are the most vulnerable group experiencing peace challenges, they are the best people to come up with solutions to the problems they are facing.
- The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) estimates that nearly 408 million youth live in places where armed conflict took place in 2016. This estimate suggests that nearly 1 in 4 youth globally are affected, in some way, by armed conflict.
- A large youth population should not necessarily be seen as a precursor to violence, finds IEP.
- IEP further finds that all of the world’s most peaceful countries have small or medium sized youth populations. But not all of the world’s least peaceful countries have large youth cohorts, and not all of the large youth populations are in the least peaceful places.
- Creating a high positive peace environment for young people can prevent breakdowns in peacefulness.
- Filling data gaps can yield even stronger evidence-based policy recommendations for youth, peace and security – and build institutional capacity along the way.
- The UNDP recognizes that young people’s involvement is key if the call for participation, inclusion, accountability and revitalized global engagement embedded in SDG 16 on Peace is to be achieved.
In order to ensure that we can have a society where youths are not marginalized, where youths can leave in peace and where the safety and security of our youth is considered a priority, we will need to address the root causes to some of this issues and put the needs of the youth on a pedestal.