The United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) in collaboration with Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), last week launched the “Realizing the Youth Peace and Security Agenda” programme with the aim of providing practitioners with the skills and knowledge they need to effectively implement the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) Agenda. A total of sixty selected participants went through a rigorous screening process to join the competitive programme, with a number of participants selected on scholarship thanks to the generous support of the FBA.

The five-week online programme with a unique focus on the YPS Agenda is the first of its kind for the Staff College. It is based on the successful UNSSC-FBA May edition piloted by young peacebuilders and peer-reviewed by UN partners comprising of the steering-committee of the UN YPS Programming Handbook.

The programme combines self-paced modules with engaging virtual webinars delivered by UNSSC and FBA subject matter experts. A key feature of the programme is the curriculum which is structured to teach important concepts such as enabling meaningful youth participation, conducting youth-sensitive conflict and analysis and programming for youth, peace and security. Each self-paced session is designed to enable participants to interact and connect with each other through discussion boards called “Padlets”. Participants will also reflect on their own learning through the use of Learning Diaries that will give them an opportunity to capture and implement important takeaways from the programme.

“I am thrilled to finally launch this programme! It is an important milestone in enhancing youth efforts in peacebuilding, by affording UN personnel who serve as youth, peace and security (YPS) advisers, as well as focal points, an opportunity to sharpen their skills on youth-sensitive conflict analysis, capacity building, programmatic interventions, as well as enhance their overall knowledge of the YPS agenda” said Maria Kero, Learning Portfolio Manager at UNSSC.

The need to build sustainable and peaceful communities is more pronounced now than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to decimate lives across the globe. Young people are at the centre of conflict prevention and resolution processes, although their efforts have not always been given due regard. UNSSC and FBA are optimistic that this programme will serve as a catalyst for the implementation of the Youth Peace and Security Agenda.

“There needs to be an increasing recognition of young peacebuilders as a positive force in yielding legitimate and sustainable peace dividends. However, while young women and men’s meaningful participation and influence in decision-making at all levels of society is an asset for lasting peace, it is first and foremost their right. I believe this course will strengthen the work of UN practitioners, with the resulting effect being an increasingly inclusive UN which recognizes and invites the skills and knowledge of young women and men in peace and security efforts, at the international, as well as regional and country levels” said Erike Tanghøj from FBA.

The “Realizing the Youth Peace and Security Agenda” programme is set to run until 9 December 2021 on the anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 2250. A ground-breaking resolution on Youth, Peace and Security which recognizes that “young people play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security”.