Belfast Youth Leader representing Northern Ireland at Young Peacebuilders’ Forum, Colombia.

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.Building on the peacebuilding momentum in the region, UNOY Peacebuilders’ 5th edition of the Young Peacebuilders’ Forum will take place in Bogota, Colombia, from 15 to 18 July 2019 and will bring together 60 young peacebuilders from across the globe. This year’s theme, chosen by our members in the Americas, is ‘Leaving No Youth Behind Through Resolution 2250 and Agenda 2030’.

Beyond Skin are leading the #youth4peace initiative in Northern Ireland as a member representative of UNOY (United Network of Young Peacebuilders), a network of youth peacebuilding organisations worldwide. Since 2012 UNOY have been working intensively towards the adoption of UN Resolution 2250, engaging with young people, peacebuilding organisations and policy makers.

Caoimhin Osborne (22) is a youth leader who has been working with John Paul II Youth Club and Include Youth in Belfast. Beyond Skin have been working with John Paul II Youth Club over the past 8 years with various intercultural good relations and peace programmes.

In March 2017 Colombian street artist Robison Sanchez visited the club as part of the #ArtsDialogue FUTyoURES programme developed and managed by Beyond Skin and Escuelas de Paz Colombia. The artwork Robison created has generated much interest with many international guests and tourists visiting the club. The area affectionally became known as ‘Little Soacha’ in solidarity with the Soacha, Colombia were Robison is from and works as a community social artist. FUTyoURES is a participatory Peace programme linking Northern Ireland, Colombia and Colombian diaspora by developing shared creative models to address conflict and the legacy of conflict. At the heart of the project are the Arts affirming the synergy between People and the Natural Environment around us. ArtsDialogue are an international intergenerational team of musicians, artists, producers, writers & peace activists. 

As part of the Northern Ireland youth4peace strategy Beyond Skin have been identifying & recruiting young people to be youth4peace ambassadors. Caoimhin is one of the recruits who also is already is involved in the FUTyoURES programme thanks to recent funding from the from the Grow Wild programme, an outreach of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

This will be Caoimhin’s first visit to Colombia and not only will he participant in the conference, he will have the opportunity to meet some of the Escuelas de Paz team.

Caoimhim said “I am thrilled to get this opportunity through UNOY, Escuelas de Paz & Beyond Skin to travel to Colombia to participate in the Young Peacebuilders Forum. I am sure my meeting and sharing with young leaders from other parts of the world will create very positive outcomes. The artwork at my youth club produced by Robison from Soacha has made a big impact with many Colombian guests visiting so it will be great for me to visit their country.”

Charlotte Davidi from UNOY commented “Bringing Caoimhin to the Young Peacebuilders' Forum in Bogotá is the essence of UNOY Peacebuilders. To connect young people with their counterparts across the world— who are resiliently working for more peaceful societies—enriches the prospect of peace, both locally and globally.”

Young Peacebuilders’ Forum (YPF) Context:
Resolution 2250: In December 2015 the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2250, the first ever thematic resolution on Youth, Peace and Security. This historic document is very important for all young peace builders worldwide because it brings recognition and legitimacy for youth’s efforts in building peace. On the 6th June 2018 UN Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution on #Youth4Peace
Youth2030: The Secretary-General tasked his Envoy on Youth, in conjunction with the UN system and youth themselves, to lead development of a UN Youth Strategy. Its aim: scale up global, regional and national actions to meet young people’s needs, realize their rights and tap their possibilities as agents of change. On 24th December 2018 the Youth2030 strategy was launched.
The first YPF in the Americas will take place within a context characterised by increased youth mobilisations for greater inclusion in peace, development, and politico-economic processes across the region. Some examples of recent youth mobilisations in the region include: implementing the peace agreement (Colombia); advocacy for reproductive rights (Argentina); access to job opportunities for low-skilled youth, young women, and indigenous and Afro-Peruvian youth (Peru); political and economic repressions (Nicaragua and Venezuela); and advocacy for immigration rights (Mexico).

On a continent where young people are at the forefront of social change, political transition, reconciliation, and resilience building, understanding what these policies mean for everyday peacebuilding endeavours is crucial, along with how they can in turn shape global, regional, and local policies. At the YPF, we will explore how to bring policy into action, to map youth engagement with Resolution 2250 and Agenda 2030, and to identify their significance for youth-led peacebuilding. The forum will provide participants with a platform to share their work and knowledge, to develop South-to-South cooperation around conflict transformation and conflict resolution mechanisms, and to build networks of support among each other.