On the 9th of December, 2015, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a pioneering resolution on youth, peace and security. This resolution recognizes that youth play an essential and positive role in sustaining and promoting international peace and security. As part of efforts commemorating the fourth anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, on Saturday 14th December 2019, Building Blocks for Peace Foundation in collaboration with the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY) and West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) Nigeria organized a one-day Nigeria Youth4Peace Forum themed “Mobilizing and Strengthening Capacities of Youth towards Peacebuilding and Localizing UNSCR 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security in Nigeria”.
Mr Rafiu Adeniran Lawal, the host and the Executive Director of Building Blocks for Peace Foundation while welcoming participants to the event, opined that since the adoption of UNSCR 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security in 2015, there has been a noticeable challenge with national implementation resulting from lack of awareness, lack of skills and capacity and stakeholders lukewarm commitments to push it through. The 2019 Nigeria Youth4Peace forum, therefore, convened over 70 young peacebuilders, scholars, representatives of government ministries, relevant stakeholders and members of the public to discuss and explore strategies with which they can localize the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 and how youth participation in peacebuilding can be strengthened in Nigeria.
While delivering his opening remark, the chair of the event, Honorable Olajuwon Olaosebikan from the Lagos State House of Assembly asserted that when young people are excluded or disempowered from peacebuilding processes, the end result will be structural violence. He encouraged youth to be well informed in order for them to be able to participate actively in peacebuilding and also noted that the Lagos State government is fully committed to implementing policies that will help foster youth participation and engagement in peacebuilding and sustainable development.
The Keynote Speaker, Mrs Patience Ikpe Obaulo, Head of Programs of WANEP-Nigeria who spoke on ‘Building a Culture of Peace in Nigeria’ argued that sustainable and positive peace can only be attained in Nigeria if we make peace Â a culture and not just a one-time thing that comes up in times of conflicts. According to her, one of the ways in which we can build a culture of peace is to catch them young; which means that peaceful living should be taken to the younger generation through peace education in the lower classes. Similarly, Mr. Imrana Alhaji Buba, a renowned young peacebuilder from Yobe State, Nigeria who spoke on ‘Youth Building Peace’, posited that it has becomes imperative for youth peacebuilders to develop and create non-traditional peacebuilding initiatives such as art, music and dancing in promoting peace.
Panelist at the event also discussed the various pillars of the UN resolution and argued that there is need for strengthening inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue at community levels, good governance, economic empowerment and increased collaboration between youth and all other stakeholders in the society.
Participants at the event commit to working together as one body towards ensuring that peace is restored to every conflict zone and urged government at all levels to ensure that young people are meaningfully engaged in the peace and development architecture in Nigeria. They ask government at all levels to create a Youth, Peace and Security unit to cater for issues affecting youth and peacebuilding.
Awards were also presented to young individuals and organizations who have worked for peace within 2019.
The 2019 Nigeria Youth4Peace forum was supported by Gwise Agric Concept, the United Nations Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Youth Network on SDGs and the Ministry of Education, Lagos State.
EFFEVOTTU, Efetobor Stephanie
Research Assistant, Building Blocks For Peace Foundation