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Country Focused Research

Country-Focused Research

The Progress Study drew on the expertise of scholars and practitioners to analyze the reality of specific countries and how their circumstances related to the Youth, Peace & Security agenda. Numerous partner organizations collaborated to produce country-specific analyses to inform the Study and also help guide their own institutional thinking around youth, peace and security. The country- focused research presented below provides background research, specific evidence, analytical thinking and recommendations applicable to specific countries and the YPS agenda. The views and opinions expressed in these papers are those of the authors / organizations and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any entity of the United Nations. 


Youth, Peace and Security: Brazil Revisited 

By Robert Muggah (commissioned)

Brazil is not facing so much a conventional “armed conflict” as a systemic crisis of public security. Its high levels of insecurity are not due to a single cause but rather a combination of individual, household and societal factors; concentrated disadvantage and fragmented families together with limited access to quality education, employment and other opportunities all play a role.
Yet there are also remarkable efforts underway to prevent and reduce violence at national, state and municipal levels. Brazil features a rich, if understudied, ecosystem of interventions to promote youth safety and security that offer lessons to the world. The following report is designed to offer insights for the Youth, Peace and Security review. It considers first the scope and scale of youth violence. It then turns to the key perpetrators. Next, it explores the underlying risks giving rise to youth insecurity. The report closes with a review of national, state, city and civil society animated measures to prevent and reduce violence.



Youth, Peace and Security in the Americas: Risks and Opportunities for Central American and Caribbean Youth

By The Organization of American States (submitted)

This paper explores the challenges faced by youth in Central American and Caribbean in their effort to be full participating members of their societies and to play a role in building more harmonious societies under the pillars of participation, protection and prevention of the UN Security Resolution 2250. The paper focuses on the situation of youth in the specific contexts of Honduras, El Salvador & Guatemala in Central America; and Belize, Jamaica & Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean; all countries with high levels of violence. Additionally, the study looks at young people’s current efforts to build more peaceful societies in these countries by confronting social exclusion, especially of groups in vulnerable situations. For this purpose, the paper uses secondary sources as well as data coming out of consultations with OAS Representatives in the Member states covered in the study. Data and information emerging from youth organizations in the region themselves are also considered; these came as a result of a virtual consultation carried out for the purposes of this study.



Case Study: Schools of Youth Leadership for Social Transformation in the Department (Region) of Nariño, Colombia 

By UNDP Colombia and Fundación Visiones (commissioned)

This case study takes place within the framework of UNDP's Youth Global Programme for Sustainable Development and Peace (Youth-GPS 2016-2020), the UN Volunteers (UNV) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Volunteers for Peace Project, as a contribution to the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 2250 (2015). This in-depth analysis of the Schools of Youth Leadership in Nariño between 2009 and 2017 aims to highlight Colombian youth’s contributions towards building sustainable peace and their broader role in the peace process in Colombia. It is of particular relevance given Colombia’s history and the current stage of the implementation of a Peace Agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army (FARC-EP) and the Government of Colombia. Español



The Consequences of Social Exclusion and Inequality: Youth, Peace and Security in the Americas (Training School of Empirical Arts - Resolve to Build Peace)

By The Organization of American States (submitted)

The Training School of Empirical Arts is a project that moves throughout the Catatumbo Region in Colombia and aims to sow a seed of love for art in the young people of the region, teaching them another option for life, through the implementation of a methodology called Resolve to Build Peace, which consists in guiding people, and especially those who have been victims of the internal armed conflict, to explore their abilities, regain faith, self-confidence and invites them to discover their fears and explore their strengths through art (poetry, storytelling, dance, performing arts, acting, painting, among others).



Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security: Medellín Case Study 

By Beth Fisher-Yoshida and Joan C. Lopez (submitted)

This is a case study that sheds light on some of the unique and effective peacebuilding initiatives by and for youth in the city of Medellín, Colombia. Their work was born out of necessity and their continued efforts come out of grit, determination and belief that they have the ability to make a better world for youth, their communities and future generations.The report highlights some specific characteristics of  Medellín and how it came to be a place known for its beauty, but also its narco-trafficking and violence, and showcases showcase some of the wonderful and energy giving peacebuilding projects the Medellín youth have been doing. Their creativity, ability to work together in collaboration and hope in the future is something to be shared globally as a step toward mutual growth and learning. Español



Involving Non-Organised 'Outcast' Youths in Peacebuilding: Existing Challenges and Lessons Learned in the Colombian Case

By Elena Butti (submitted)

This paper addresses the question of how to better involve non-organised outcast youths in peacebuilding through an in-depth exploration of the Colombian case, where the author has conducted 16 months of ethnographic fieldwork with adolescents and youths at the urban and semi-rural margins. This paper argues that what lies at the root of youth violence is a feeling of being stigmatised and marginalised by others within their own – already socioeconomically disadvantaged – communities, and as compared to their peace activist peers. The ‘outcast’ youths at the centre of this study find themselves at the intersection of different types of marginalisation. This position generates in them a frustration to which the turn to violence is an automatic response. Their daily experiences of physical and symbolic violence at home and school starkly contrast with the peace rhetoric currently permeating Colombia, which generates in them a sense of alienation and disenchantment with the peacebuilding project.



Youth Speak Out ! Participatory analysis of their engagement for peace and security in Côte d’Ivoire 

By Interpeace (commissioned)

For more than twenty years now, Ivorian youth has played an active role in the successive socio-political crises that the country has endured. This has largely contributed to a quite negative reputation in matters of peace and security. However, a sizeable minority of young people exert themselves on a daily basis in their community in favour of peace and security. Among these are a number of youths with a violent background, who have converted from violence to peace in spite of remaining a target for stigmatization. Although youth-inspired initiatives for a positive contribution to peace and security in their communities are numerous and very diverse, they are frequently unsupported and go unnoticed, receiving little to no media attention and being poorly documented. These factors are a hindrance to transforming the image of Ivorian youth from actors, and victims of violence to actors for peace and security. The added value of the present study of the Ivorian context is to highlight youths’ positive contribution to peace and security without ignoring the challenges of such an engagement. Français



United Nations Peacekeeping Engagement with Youth: MONUSCO Case Study

By United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (submitted)

The purpose of this case study is to examine how MONUSCO engages youth in Eastern DRC in the implementation of its mandate and to draw lessons for other peacekeeping operations. The report finds that young men and women in Eastern DRC hold rather pessimistic views of their future and of the government’s ability to improve their lives. Their expectation to work with the Congolese government and the UN to promote youth-led social change initiatives creates frustration vis-à-vis MONUSCO’s interventions. They further expressed a lack of confidence in the ability of their government and MONUSCO to ensure adequate protection to the citizens of DRC. MONUSCO, however, has implemented some successful approaches, and the report offers a series of recommendations for MONUSCO and the UN country team to build upon these approaches. 



Being and Becoming a Peacebuilder

By Life and Peace Institute (submitted)

“Being and Becoming a Peacebuilder” puts forward key insights and resultant recommendations inspired from an analysis of a conflict transformation methodology, called Sustained Dialogue. Building on lessons and insights gleaned from 20,000 hours of youth-led dialogues, this submission primarily focuses on echoing and relaying the voices of diverse young women and men with whom the Life & Peace Institute and its partners have engaged, in order to be genuinely true to local experiences across the Horn of Africa. The findings show that young women and men face compounded, entrenched socio-political and socio-economic dynamics of marginalization. This deep-rooted exclusion further hinders youth’s meaningful inclusion and participation in decision-making processes, and specifically in peace processes. A fundamental challenge to youth’s meaningful inclusion in peace and security efforts is the narrow and homogenizing definition “youth” - thus obscuring the multiplicity and complexity of young women and men’s identities.



Disaster Recovery and Youth, Peace and Security: Examining the Project, “The SOKA Global Action"

By Soka Gakkai International (submitted)

Using the example of the SOKA Global Action campaign,and the theme on post-disaster recovery efforts, this paper will review youth contributions to peacebuilding in Japan. While not experiencing armed conflict, Japanese youth face various challenges that relate to their sense of peace and security as mentioned above, and earthquakes and natural disasters are among their top concerns. Efforts to lay the foundations for sustainable peace in Japan thus need to reflect its unique national context. The report aims to examine the impact of natural disasters in the broader context of peace and security, and in particular their impact on young people; to highlight tangible activities conducted by youth in Japan to contribute to post-disaster recovery following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake; and to advance knowledge of how the framework of Youth, Peace and Security can be applied to the context of youth post-disaster recovery in Japan and beyond.



Youth, Peace and Security Case Study: Jamaica 

By Elizabeth Ward (commissioned)

In Jamaica, youth are the major segment of the population affected by crime and violence, both as victims and perpetrators. They identified that there were key push factors including unemployment, unstable families, attraction to the ‘fast life’, exposure to violence and a negative community environment which drove youth to become perpetrators of violence. While the disproportional representation of youth has identified them as a key target group for focused interventions, this case study highlights that they are yet to meaningfully propositioned as key agents for change. The primary objective of this case study is to inform key policy and programming considerations for strengthening youth-led and youth-based initiatives that are aimed at improving peace and security in the country. Jamaica has a very vibrant youth sector and robust set of youth leaders but we need to harness the potential and vision and passion in these young people as it relates to peace and security and ensure they are being included beyond tokenism lest they become disenchanted.



Youth Perspectives on Social participation: The missing link in the development of an Anti-
Gang Strategy in Jamaica?

By The Commonwealth Secretariat (submitted)

One of the major obstacles to addressing gang violence in Jamaica is the esoteric understanding and subsequent lack of appreciation for youth social engagement and interaction and the spaces in which these engagements and interactions take place. There is a gap in the knowledge of those in policy-making positions about what is happening at the community level which might explain the focus on efforts of eradicate gangs, without looking at some of the factors which might be at play in precipitating youth involvement in gang activities. This is the crux of the paper as it will not seek to explore the issue related to those who are already involved in gang activities however, it seeks to unearth their perception of social participation, their interactions with the security forces and community safety and security among youth who are not currently, but may become, involved in criminality and gang activity.



Youth, Peace and Security in Kenya

By Olawale Ismail (commissioned)

This case study assesses the drivers of youth’s participation in peacebuilding activities in Kenya by providing concrete empirical examples (through case studies) of youth-led peacebuilding interventions. It acknowledges the reality that some female and male youth do participate in violence; however, it emphasizes that not all youth respond to the threat or actual violence with counter-violence. It affirms the peaceful, non-violent nature of a majority of young people in Kenya. The report explores the activities, tools and instruments used by youth to engage in, and contribute to peace and security in Kenya, and uses both data such as scholarly publications, websites and other reports as well as interviews, whose respondents provided invaluable insights into their work, those of fellow youth organizations, and broader issues of peacebuilding.



The Libyan Youth Today: Opportunities and Challenges

By UNFPA (commissioned)

Young people today in Libya face complex challenges that seem to have had an intense negative impact on their physical, social and psychological conditions, which confronted them with difficult choices and feelings swinging between despair and hope. This report aims to consolidate youth gains and achievements in line with the main thrusts of the draft constitution of Libya which calls for empowering young people and giving effect to their participation in public life. It seeks also to take stock of the current situation of young people in Libya in terms of demographic, social and economic characteristics, the opportunities for peace and development that go along with them and the challenges that Libyan youngsters face. This diagnosis helps towards developing priorities for the formulation of an alternative vision and policies for youth empowerment and giving effect to their participation. Arabic



Supporting Youth Contributions to Peace in Myanmar

By Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (submitted)

In assessing how young people are engaged in Myanmar, this report considers both more traditional peacebuilding efforts and development initiatives as relevant for sustaining peace. While young people may not consider their work as contributing to peace, activities geared towards promoting human rights and democracy, as well as more local-level projects that provide basic services to communities, all in the long run lead to more peaceful and inclusive societies as outlined in Sustainable Development Goal 16. This report aims to highlight the major challenges young people in Myanmar face engaging in peace and development initiatives and identify methods for strengthening their engagement.



'Aaba Hamro Paalo' (It's Our Time Now): Youth experiences of conflict, violence and peacebuilding in Nepal

By Search for Common Ground (commissioned)

This case study seeks to provide a platform for Nepalese youth who were part of the 1996-2006 civil war or the Terai/Madhesh movement, in order to bring attention on post-conflict issues that affect them. While many stories show positive transformation and social contribution to communities, young people converge in saying that they still live in insecurity, and are highly vulnerable to violence, unemployment, and radicalization. They feel stigmatized and disadvantaged, and they lack opportunities to meaningfully be engaged in society today. Youth are therefore skeptical of the actual potential of consolidating peace. A number of examples of initiatives and transformation, however, show that despite challenges, young people are experts of their own experiences and local realities. They are motivated and able to make a positive difference. 



Youth, Peace and Security in the Northern Triangle of Central America

By Interpeace (commissioned)

This study encompasses the Northern Central American Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) and addresses the situation of youth in situations of high vulnerability and violence, the contextual dynamics driving conflict and violence among youth, and the opportunities to identify and strengthen peacebuilding strategies and youth involvement. The study brings together the voices of young people in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala and highlights the differences between those who speak from conditions of marginality and exclusion with heightened concerns about survival in contrast with those who belong to social organizations and educational institutions who perceive their surrounding reality in different terms.



Frontlines: Young people at the heart of preventing and responding to violent extremism - Pakistan Case Study

By UNDP (submitted)

This case study explores young Pakistanis’ perceptions of the phenomenon of violent extremism, their views on root causes and their suggestions for inclusive and effective PVE measures. It also highlights promising youth PVE initiatives in Pakistan, their successes and the challenges young people face in engaging in this work.



Young People and their Role in the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Negotiations

By Michael Frank A. Alar (commissioned)

Young people have been playing various roles in the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). They have not only made up the bulk of the secretariat of both Peace Panels providing administrative and technical support, they have also been involved in shaping the content and language of agreements and in providing the necessary informal back channels that reshaped the dynamics and relationships across the negotiating table. Young people’s motivations for joining the process ranged from a sense of duty (religious, familiar, and tribal) owing to their being born into the armed struggle, a desire to contribute and become part of the solution, and to the practical need to engage in gainful employment that would later find deeper meaning. A number of factors facilitated their participation in the peace process, but being young was also a challenge as some senior officials are unable to take young people seriously, especially young women. 



Strengthening Youth Engagement in Post-Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia

By Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (submitted)

While Tunisian youth started and were actively involved throughout the Jasmine Revolution starting in 2010, the inclusion of youth following its end has been limited. Growing disenchantment and disillusionment among youth needs to be addressed in order to ensure an inclusive society in which youth feel they have ownership in peace and decision making processes. Early findings from the Tunisian case study present considerations for engaging youth in building peaceful societies that are also relevant in other contexts. They include the importance of youth having opportunities to set the narrative about their experiences; the key role civil society, educational institutions and the private sector play in engaging youth; the critical element of dialogue and trust building between youth and security forces and civil servants; and the need for better coherence between peacebuilding and efforts aimed at countering violent extremism.



Reformed Warriors: A Case Study from Uganda

By Mercy Corps (commissioned)

Only 8 years ago, Northern Uganda, and particularly the Karamoja sub-region, was riddled with various levels of conflict, inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic divides and the LRA. Today, much of that violence has subsided. The question is, how did Uganda move towards peace?
In this case study, Mercy Corps looks to answer that question in part by examining the role of youth, particularly a group of youth known as ‘reformed warriors’ a name generally used for young people who have given up violence in the Karamoja area of Uganda. In some cases, youth that were formally perpetrators of violence are now building peace in their communities. These  'reformed warriors' were reintegrated into their communities. Not only have these Reformed Warriors turned in their weapons and reintegrated into their communities, but some have become ambassadors for peace, working to spread messages of peace to their communities and beyond. Their experiences are paramount in the story of peace and development in Karamoja.



Youth, Peace and Security: A Study of the United States

By Columbia School of International and Public Affairs (commissioned)

This report supports the research for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security through a case study on the value of engaging youth in promoting sustainable peace and security in the United States. As peace and security are concepts not often discussed outside the context of conflict and post-conflict zones, this study will identify and contribute to the formulation of a peacebuilding agenda for youth in developed nations.

Download the Case Study



Frontlines: Young people at the heart of preventing and responding to violent extremism - Yemen Case Study

By UNDP (submitted)

This case study explores young Yemenis’ perceptions of the phenomenon of violent extremism, their views on its root causes and their suggestions for inclusive and effective PVE measures. It also looks at the remarkable resilience of these young people who, despite the current crisis, have maintained their engagement and are actively working to mitigate the impact of violent extremism and violence in their communities. By describing their experiences with extremism, their own responses and the challenges they face, these young people also shed light on how they can act as partners and be better supported to respond to violent extremism, and act as peace-builders and change makers in their communities.



Leaders of today: Engagement of youth in sustaining peace

By Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (submitted)

Building on the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation’s work on inclusive peacebuilding, the Foundation has been exploring youth engagement in development and peacebuilding, with case studies on Liberia, Myanmar and Tunisia. This paper presents findings compiled from these studies, with an aim of highlighting how young people participate in peace efforts, what specific challenges they face and suggestions for strengthening their engagement.



Frontlines: Young people at the heart of preventing and responding to violent extremism

By UNDP (submitted)

Many countries around the world have experienced attacks from violent extremist groups, and for those in fragile situations among them, especially in conflict affected states, the threat posed by violent extremist groups has become a grim fact of daily life. While young people have received disproportionate attention as members and recruits of these groups, it is only a very small proportion of young people who join them. A much broader swath of young people is affected by the phenomenon itself—either as direct or indirect victims of violence, as the targets of recruitment and threats by violent extremist groups, as targets of public suspicion and securitized interventions by officials. It is remarkable that despite the many challenges young people face, compounded by the phenomenon of violent extremism, they have commonly displayed not only resilience, but a notable degree of activism.