ACCORD, in collaboration with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region’s (ICGLR) Youth Forum, hosted a dialogue exploring youth, peace and security (YPS) issues in the Great Lakes region on 21 September 2022, in Nairobi, Kenya.
Given that the Great Lakes Region is experiencing socio-political, economic and security instability, it is a timely and topical opportunity to reflect on the role of youth in contributing towards peace and security within the region. The dialogue provided a platform for youth explore how to address the region’s challenges, utilise its opportunities, and support efforts towards building a sustainable peace. The dialogue also provided the space to continue to advocate for, and promote, the active and meaningful participation of youth in all levels of peace and security efforts. ACCORD’s Programme Officers, Ms. Savannah Wilmot and Mr. Adam Randera, moderated the dialogue, with Mr. Kennedy Walusala, President Emeritus of the ICGLR Youth Forum, who facilitated the proceedings.
The discussions helped unpack the frameworks to guide the YPS agenda, such as the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 and the African Union Continental Framework for Youth, Peace and Security. Participants also highlighted the catalysts for youth involvement, which include funding for YPS initiatives, education opportunities, capacity building, cross sharing of knowledge and peer-to-peer mentorship. Furthermore, many participants spoke to the need for local and national YPS action plans to assist in driving context specific youth initiatives. In terms of best practice examples, many participants referred to the Kenyan youth Peace Clubs who were active in spreading sentiments of peace on the lead up to the latest Kenyan elections, while also acting as a local early warning system. The discussions provided for rich insights that helped build the understanding on how youth can best contribute towards peace and stability in the region.
ACCORD recognises youth as a key constituency in addressing complex conflicts. Therefore, ACCORD continues to use platforms like this dialogue to deepen young people’s understanding and knowledge of key peace and security issues to enhance their role in preventing, mitigating and resolving conflicts.