Setting the path for peace on International Youth Day
There are currently 1.8 billion young people in the world and while this population presents a tremendous opportunity for positive change, for the EU and the world, youth are disproportionately affected by issues such as violence, political instability, labour market challenges and limited space for political and civic participation.
The situation is particularly challenging for youth in some regions more than others and this is exactly what UNESCO and the European Union’s groundbreaking project, Networks of Mediterranean Youth (NET-MED Youth), seeks to address.
The Project, which began in 2014 and is due to reach the end of its first phase at the end of this year, works with young people in 10 countries along the eastern and western basins of the Mediterranean Sea. Alongside national decision-makers, civil society and the media, youth are engaged in initiatives that address challenges related to civic participation, employment and youth representation in the media.
“NET-MED Youth gives us the ability to accept the fact that we are positive agents for change, not only for ourselves but for our communities,” said Rita Bitar, a NET-MED Youth participant from Lebanon.
Indeed, initiatives such as NET-MED Youth are vital to upholding Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, which places young women and men at the very heart of promoting peace within their countries and communities.
In just three short years, the Project has already made huge strides in fomenting the next generation of peacebuilders in the region – through the creation of transparent, proactive youth networks; opportunities for youth participation in the design of national youth policies; the fair and objective coverage of youth in the media; and the development of watchdog mechanisms to ensure the appropriate implementation of policies, strategies and programmes that address youth skill development.
“International Youth Day 2017 focuses on the vital role of youth building peace,” said Souria Saad-Zoy, Project Manager for NET-MED Youth. “NET-MED Youth is a great example of organizations, like UNESCO and the European Union, coming together to combine their skills and resources to support young people in becoming the positive and peaceful agents for change that our world really needs.”
In Brussels, on 19 September 2017, NET-MED Youth will be hosting ‘Creating the Future of the Mediterranean’ an event that will bring together EU decision-makers with young people themselves to debate and discuss their shared vision for youth in the Mediterranean region. To find out more and register to take part, click here.
Activities building skills among youth organizations and young journalists; to enhance youth representation in media and promote freedom of expression, media and information literacy and youth-generated media content.
Activities joining youth organizations, employment experts and different national stakeholders to engage in dialogue and work together on unemployment solutions and skills needs.
Activities empowering youth to participate in the communal and national development, revision and implementation of national youth strategies and public policies.