Outside the Box: Amplifying youth voices and views on YPS policy and practice

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What if we found a way to consistently and regularly include more youth priorities, such as environmental protection and technology, in policy? Could we better anticipate future ecological disasters? Could we become even more resilient for peace?

Anupah Makoond, Beneath the Wakashio Oil Spill: Exploring the linkages between youth marginalisation, environmental disaster, and resilience for peace in a small island state.

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If the YPS agenda is about youth, its implementation must also be about youth. We cannot afford to exclude youth from the process when we try to address youth exclusion itself.

Mridul Upadhyay, Assessing Youth Participation in the Implementation of the YPS Agenda

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Young people around the world are advancing peace and justice and seeking to transform societies grappling with the legacies of both short- term and multi-generational conflict in exciting and powerful ways.

Anjli Parrin, Advancing Peace Through a Youth-Centered Approach to Transitional Justice

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About the Policy Briefs

Interpeace is passionately committed to the inclusive and meaningful participation of the youth in all the policy and practice arenas that impact their lives.

This reflects the organization‚Äôs commitment to local ownership and leadership in all its peacebuilding work, and therefore to the voice, agency, and leadership of young women and men in moving the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) Agenda from policy to practice. This should not be limited to ‚Äėyouth consultations‚Äô at policy forums/discussions, but should extend to youth involvement in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the YPS agenda (including at the country-level).

Young women and men have strongly expressed the view that they should not be ‚Äúghettoized‚ÄĚ, or seen only in youth or sports organizations, but that their interests are varied and diversified. Young people are found in human rights organizations, in women‚Äôs organizations, in academic institutions, in trades unions, in civic organizations, in the police as well as in the communities being policed, and in many other contexts. This reflects the heterogeneity of youth and their complex and intersectional lived experiences.

In recognition of this, Interpeace is dedicated to creating this platform which amplifies the voices and leadership of young women and men, especially in many of the areas that might not get the mainstreamed attention of policy-makers at national or international level, but which are important to young people themselves.

This online portal is dedicated to creating such a space for youth-led, youth-authored and/or youth-informed policy interventions, reflections, and advocacy. Interpeace hopes that this portal not only responds to existing policy priorities, but enables the young contributors to frame and set the policy agenda themselves‚ÄĒso that they can define and fill the gaps in policy and practice which are not getting the necessary attention.

In 2021, Interpeace, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ireland, commissioned an initial nine Policy Briefs as part of its series; ‚ÄúOutside the Box: Amplifying youth voices and views on YPS policy and practice.‚ÄĚ

These Policy Briefs have all either been authored by young peacebuilders, scholars or practitioners, or have been based on participatory research or consultations with young women and men. They are all focused on policy and practice gaps in the evolution and implementation of the YPS agenda. These Briefs, published here, do not necessarily reflect the views of Interpeace, but we wanted to play a convening role in creating a platform for the initiative and uncensored voice of youth themselves.

Interpeace is delighted to have had the opportunity to collaborate and convene leading youth policy thinkers and practitioners through this platform of learning and debate about the evolving YPS agenda.



The Counterstrike Generation



This policy brief presents an analysis of the dangers and challenges posed by the ‚Äúsecuritization‚ÄĚ of the YPS agenda, addressing both hard counter-terrorism approaches that target youth in the name of countering violent extremism (CVE), and the increasingly pervasive influence of ‚Äėsofter‚Äô securitization through the guise of preventing violent extremism (PVE). It draws attention to the fact...

Authors: Ali Altiok





Assessing Youth Participation in Implementation of the YPS Agenda



This policy brief, drawing on available data and interviews with youth peacebuilders from six country cases, assesses youth participation in the relatively early national implementation phases of the Global YPS agenda. The brief addresses the role of young women and men in the design, implementation, and evaluation of national action plans and national YPS coalitions, and provides insight and anal...

Authors: Mridul Upadhyay





Psychosocial Support and Societal Transformation



This paper explores the key issue of mental health and psycho-social services (MHPSS), from a youth-specific perspective. Drawing on the assertions and recommendations of the YPS Progress Study, and coupled with the increasing attention to MHPSS within the sustaining peace agenda, this policy brief pays special attention to the role of youth-specific psycho-social services as a vital dimension of ...

Authors: Brandon Hamber, Denis Martinez, Marlies Stappers, David Taylor, Thomas Unger





Voices from the Margins: Young men and post-conflict masculinities in Northern Ireland



This paper points to the gap (noted in the YPS Progress Study’s recommendations) on masculinity and masculine identities as part of the gendered approach to implementing the YPS agenda. This policy brief focuses attention on supporting the development of alternative and positive masculine identities. While the paper draws on lived experiences in Northern Ireland, it derives lessons and recommend...

Authors: Brandon Hamber, Conor Murray





Beneath the Wakashio Oil Spill: Exploring the linkages between youth marginalization, environmental disaster, and resilience for peace in a small island state



This brief, by a young author from Mauritius, sheds light on the under-explored nexus of YPS, climate justice and social cohesion, speaking to the topic from the experience of a small island country, and applying the lens of resilience. Her paper draws attention to the need for inclusive governance and a political system that can meaningfully accommodate the concerns of young people when it comes ...

Authors: Anupah Makoond





Youth as Guardians of the Future ‚Äď Sustaining Climate, Peace and Security in an Urbanizing World



This brief, co-authored by a young analyst and a colleague from UN Habitat, addresses the nexus of the YPS, climate change, and rapid urbanization. The paper pays special attention to the gendered impacts of climate change on urbanization and on young women in urban centers in particular and draws attention to both the importance and the prevailing deficits of young people’s inclusion in urban p...

Authors: Sharmaarke Abdullahi, Mathieu Lohr





Resilience in the face of exclusion: stories from Kenyan and Swedish youth



This paper captures the voices of young women and men from two cities ‚Äď Nairobi, Kenya and Stockholm, Sweden ‚Äď in a facilitated dialogue on their experiences of living in urban neighborhoods that are often defined by those outside them as ‚Äėvulnerable‚Äô, ‚Äėunsafe‚Äô and ‚Äėat-risk‚Äô. The brief offers a rich exploration of the universality of the YPS agenda across very different contexts, t...

Authors: Yosra Ali, Rasian Ferej, Asha Jaffer, Samson Kuboko, Maryan Mohamed, Dheka Mustakh, Felix Orwaka





Political transition, reintegration, and the challenges of reconciliation in Colombia from the perspective of youth



This brief, written by a young Colombian scholar and based on interviews with youth, is the first of two briefs addressing a specific aspect of youth inclusion and leadership in peace processes. The brief addresses this topic from the perspective of DDR (and particularly social reincorporation programs), noting that while youth were severely under-represented in the Colombian peace negotiations, t...

Authors: Laura Henao





Advancing Peace Through a Youth-Centered Approach to Transitional Justice



This brief, written by a young Kenyan human rights lawyer who works in the transitional justice and international criminal law field, provides an overview and road-map of the ways that youth-centered and youth-inclusive transitional justice efforts can advance durable peace and transformative peace processes. Drawing on the recommendations and findings of the YPS Progress Study, this policy brief ...

Authors: Anjli Parrin