United Nations Youth Assembly in Kosovo showcases young peoples’ role as agents of change in communities and peace-building

Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2019

UN Secretary-General Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake at a panel on "Kosovo Roadmap on Youth, Peace and Security: successes and gaps"
UN Secretary-General Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake at the panel on "Kosovo Roadmap on Youth, Peace and Security: successes and gaps"  Photo: United Nations in Kosovo

The third United Nations Youth Assembly brought together more than 200 young people from diverse communities from across Kosovo,[1] sending out a bold message that youth are important agents of change in community-building and peace-building and need to be involved in decision-making processes.

The Assembly, held from 24 to 25 April, provided a platform for youth from different ethnic, religious and linguistic groups to share experiences and challenges across ethnic, religious and linguistic boundaries, while engaging directly with decision-makers and influencers.

The Assembly encouraged young people to be part of decision-making and play a role in building resilient communities and providing solutions to shared problems, not only as future leaders in society, but also in the present especially as the largest demographic in Kosovo.  

“One of the slogans of the global Agenda 2030 is to leave no one behind”. Ulrika Richardson, United Nations Development Coordinator in Kosovo, told the participants. “This is an important message, one that you can bring back to your communities, to your cities and to your villages”. she said, highlighting young peoples’ critical role as agents of change.

Among the largely youth-led workshops, one focused on youth advocacy, during which participants came up with ideas on different levels of decision-making. One of the panel discussions and presentations focused on assessing the ‘Kosovo Roadmap on Youth, Peace and Security’, which calls for the inclusion of young people in Kosovo’s decision-making and peace-building processes. 

Throughout the two-day event, special attention was also paid to the importance of including young women and girls in decision-making processes. "We learned so much from the event. I now understand how important it is to cooperate with people from diverse backgrounds, participate in decision-making processes and ensure gender equality in all areas”. said Lorenta Kadriu, a participant in the Assembly.

“We know how structural and cultural barriers prevent young women and girls from actively participating in life, and actively participating in society”. said Jayathma Wickramanayake, United Nations Secretary-General Envoy on Youth. “We must make sure that young women and girls are front and center of all our initiatives when it comes to building capacities and empowering young people.”

The 2019 Youth Assembly, which featured various interactive platforms, including a televised debate and small-circle discussions, concluded with recommendations and commitments for the empowerment of youth and the achievement of the Roadmap.

This event is organized within the joint United Nations “Empowering Youth for a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Sustainable Future in Kosovo” project, supported by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.

 


[1] All references to Kosovo on this website shall be understood to be in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).