UNFPA celebrates International Youth Day by engaging Youth for Peace | Sunday Observer

UNFPA celebrates International Youth Day by engaging Youth for Peace

To celebrate International Youth Day, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) hosted its fourth Youth4Youth symposium in the Central Province from August 12 – 14, 2018.

This year’s theme for International Youth Day explored the role of ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’ in contributing to freedom of expression, mutual respect and constructive dialogue.

Understanding the importance of providing safe spaces for young people, the Youth4Youth Central Province symposium created a space for over 100 Sri Lankan youth to connect ideas and build communities to nurture lasting peace in Sri Lanka. In creating an exclusive environment where no one is left behind, the Youth4Youth programme ensures the participation of young people from diverse backgrounds.

Speaking on the important and positive role of youth in peace building, UNFPA Representative, Ms. Ritsu Nacken said;

“In order to build peaceful communities, we must consider young people as partners for peace.When youth have safe spaces to engage, without fear of discrimination, they have a better chance to contribute to peace and social cohesion in the country”.

Leading up to the symposium, a survey was conducted by UNFPA’s partner organization, Chrysalis – a social enterprise working to empower women and youth in Sri Lanka – to identify issues and opportunities that young people face in relation to peace building in the Central Province.

In light of this, Shayami Caygill, a young participant at the symposium added: “Most often, opportunities for young people are in the city.

The Youth4Youth programme promotes meaningful youth participation because it provides a space for young people from all over the island to contribute to social change”.

The 3-day symposium was attended by H.M.P. Hitisekara, District Secretary at the District Secretariat in Kandy and Ms. W.M.K.K. Karunarathna, Secretary to the Provincial Ministry of Youth Affairs.

In line with UNSCR 2250 on youth, peace and security, the Youth4Youth Programme empowers and connects young people from the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Central Provinces in Sri Lanka through a series of regional symposiums that will lead up to a National symposium to take place this year.

Youth4Youth is delivered by UNFPA in partnership with UN Volunteers and Chrysalis, and supported by the UN Peace building Fund.