One of our key priorities is the creation and dissemination of evidence-based knowledge on Youth, Peace and Security. We support and encourage our members to contribute to peer-reviewed journals, books, and in other fora to raise awareness on the YPS agenda and gain credibility as the experts they are in the space.
North America needs Youth, Peace and Security: young people shifting tides for positive peace
Katrina Leclerc, Saint-Paul University and Shayne Wong, University of Manitoba
The United Nations' Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda ensures and demands the protection and recognition of young people's roles in peace and security. This article focuses on why domestic YPS implementation is needed with the rise of social justice activism by young people in North America.
The rise of youth activism and youth leadership in social justice movements has given a space for the global political agenda to challenge traditional approaches to "peace and security" frameworks. This includes challenging pre-conceived notions of YPS - and its policy frameworks - as a 'foreign' agenda by North American and other Western countries. We argue that this global shift in youth social justice activism demonstrates the need for critical domestic implementation and policy priorities for the YPS agenda within traditional donor- or Western- States, using Canada and the United States as case studies.
Instrumentalizing the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda for Meaningful Impact and Growth
Katrina Leclerc, Saint-Paul University
Since world leaders officially recognized young people’s agency and leadership in conflict prevention and recovery in December 2015, the United Nations and its Member States have been grappling with the challenges of implementing the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda at national and local levels. This chapter offers a discussion on how to instrumentalize the YPS agenda, while galvanizing youth activism and commitments of policymakers, to advance a meaningfully impactful agenda. It argues that by focusing on everyday local peacebuilders, operationalizing YPS at a country-level is possible through genuine collaboration and willingness for growth. This alternative approach to the traditionally policy-oriented discourse uses “everyday peace” and “local-turn” in peacebuilding theories to argue for the advancement of the YPS agenda, focusing on UNSCR 2535 as its primary tool for doing so.
Reciprocal institutional visibility: Youth, peace and security and ‘inclusive’ agendas at the United Nations
Helen Berents, Queensland University of Technology and Caitlin Mollica, University of Newcastle
Within the architecture of the United Nations (UN), formal recognition of the contributions of historically marginalised individuals and communities to peacebuilding denotes a positive shift in rhetoric and practice. Alongside broader institutional moves towards ‘sustaining peace’; the emergence of a ‘Youth, Peace and Security’ agenda since 2015 formalises attention to youth as positive contributors to peacebuilding and in responding to violence. This article situates the Youth, Peace and Security agenda within broader institutional and academic attention on ‘inclusive peace’. It considers the ongoing challenges in legitimising youth inclusion; and positions this emergent agenda in relation to the gains made by the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and the establishment of the UN’s sustaining peace agenda. These explorations demonstrate the value of considering the evolution of inclusive peace agendas together, while remaining mindful of their distinctive characteristics, to better understand the potential of inclusive approaches to peace. It argues that the Youth, Peace and Security agenda should be understood as a key element of shifts in UN peacebuilding practice towards inclusivity that enable visibility and legitimacy to a broader range of peace actors. We suggest that greater recognition of the contributions of youth to the broader ‘inclusive and sustaining peace’ mandates is needed.
More than tokens: Canadian women in Decision-making Processes in the post-1995 Beijing Platform for Action era
Katrina Leclerc, Saint-Paul University
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action set the scene for women’s human rights frameworks as of 1995. To this day, it remains the most widely recognized and forward-looking framework for the advancement of women. In 2020 and 2021, the international community, civil society, governments, and multilateral actors gathered to recognize the 25th anniversary of the Declaration and galvanize commitments for its critical action areas.
This chapter addresses two primary action areas outlined in the Beijing Platform: women in power and decision-making; and institutional mechanisms. In doing so, it argues that the domestic implementation of both Women, Peace and Security; and Youth, Peace and Security agendas are necessary for the sustained achievement of these action areas in the Canadian context. It showcases women and young women’s movements in peace and security as central to the Beijing Platform’s commitments and successful implementation.
The synergies between both peace and security agendas complement the Beijing Platform and identify relevant domestic priorities mostly unrecognized by the Canadian government and its policies. The chapter argues that the sub-themes of tokenization, political participation, and women in policy development play crucial roles in demonstrating modern realities for women’s rights including the limitations for their attainment. Overall, this chapter demonstrates that Canada must prioritize women’s decision-making to ensure a domestic implementation of the Beijing Plan for Action, using the peace and security frameworks as tools for strengthened institutional accountability and implementation.