Youth Participation in Peace Processes

The UN defines ‘youth’ as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years. The world today is home to the largest generation of young people in history, 1.8 billion. Close to 90 per cent of them live in developing countries, where they constitute a large proportion of the population.

On 21 September 2020, following several months of negotiations, world leaders adopted the Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the United Nations (UN75 Declaration). This groundbreaking document included 12 commitments one of which focused on youth:

“We will listen to and work with youth. A UN Youth Advisory Council is needed to elevate the voices of youth in international decision-making and to ensure youth inclusion in programming across the UN system. It would offer advice and oversight in advancing the 2018 UN Youth Strategy and serve as an advocacy body for young people’s rights around the world.”

One recommendation by a think tank is to create a UN Youth Council as an advisory body to the UN General Assembly. The advisory body would support the implementation of the UN Youth Strategy and ensure meaningful youth participation in achieving the 2030 Agenda.

WIMUN is the first Model UN in the world to incorporate a simulation of the UN Youth Council which has been proposed by think tanks but not yet implemented. It is part of a new initiative to include futuristic simulations of entities that could one day become part of the UN system to strengthen its global governance.

The focus of the first simulation of the UNYC will be on youth participation in peace processes. The majority population in countries with ongoing peace processes are typically young people. While peace negotiations remain central to decision-making in a peace process, young people continue to be politically marginalized, excluded, and undervalued in these negotiations. 

This simulation will include delegates representing leading youth organizations around the world that are involved in some way in peacebuilding to highlight the active engagement of youth in peacebuilding initiatives to advocate for youth inclusion in processes that aim to prevent violence and achieve sustainable peace agreements. These WIMUN UNYC delegates will work together to reach consensus on what the UN Member States need to do include youth in the political processes that aim to rebuild peace, trust and reconciliation.