ACCORD, in partnership with the African Union and its Youth for Peace Africa Program and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, supported an experience-sharing workshop around the development of national action plans (NAPs) for youth, peace and security (YPS). The workshop took place at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 12 to 13 April 2023. ACCORD’s Programme Officer, Ms Savannah Wilmot moderated a discussion on the role of youth in developing and implementing NAPs and Programme Officer, and Mr Adam Randera presented on the YPS work that ACCORD conducts across the continent.
The two-day workshop provided the opportunity to share lessons learnt among countries that have adopted NAPs on YPS and those who are still in the process. The workshop included representatives from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which already have YPS NAPs, and representatives from Tunisia, Zimbabwe, The Gambia, Uganda, Liberia, Burundi, and Cameroon, which are all in the process of developing YPS NAPs.
Through this experience sharing exercise, challenges and opportunities were outlined and best practices shared as guidelines on how to shape YPS NAPs. While certain steps that are necessary for developing NAPs were outlined, it was apparent during the discussions that each country has a different approach to executing these steps, relevant to their context, structures and processes already in place. Therefore, a contextualised approach to developing NAPs was highlighted as a recommendation. Another key recommendation that emerged was the need to build youth coalitions and leverage YPS networks already in place. This was emphasised as an approach that could broaden the reach of consultations, curate buy-in from youth practitioners and utilise structures within coalitions, such as steering committees, to assist in the implementation of the NAP.
The workshop highlighted the momentum of the YPS agenda on the continent, and provided practical recommendations on how to strengthen national efforts towards ensuring the meaningful inclusion of youth in peace and security efforts. The workshop aligns with ACCORD’s strategic efforts to enhance the role of youth to prevent, mitigate and resolve conflicts, as well as to contribute to evidence-based analysis, policy support and knowledge to respond to complex conflicts.