Seminar on Peaceful and Inclusive Societies and Democratic Governance

International_Peace_Day_logoThis meeting elaborated on a report written by Dr. Timothy Sisk, whose presentation formed the majority of the afternoon’s discussion. Given that 2015 is the designated time for the 10-year review of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture, this talk about the foundational elements of a peaceful and inclusive society had particular relevance.

Dr. Sisk began his presentation by noting that, contrary to the typical level of discord among scholars, there is a broad consensus within the research community regarding the idea of peace as a prerequisite for development. Many elements of the UN’s post-2015 agenda are therefore tied to peaceful relations among and within countries around the world.

The principle finding of Dr. Sisk’s report is that poverty is increasingly concentrated in fragile and conflict-affected countries. For many the roughly 60-80 countries classified as fragile, violence, poverty, and poor governance have become mutually reinforcing elements of a vicious cycle that prevents the success of development initiatives. As violence is reduced, however, and post-conflict development is begun, virtuous cycles can be created.

Dr. Sisk’s report found that peace, development, and governance are all interrelated. The level of inclusivity and democratic participation within a society contributes both to peace and development—the presence of robust civil and political society and the establishment of norms of equality and inclusion have historically led to a rapid growth in democracy. Social cohesion is extremely important, especially in fragile states. When a state is on the path to development, no real results will be achieved without an underlying base of social cohesion.

Dr. Sisk concluded by urging a continued, dedicated effort at reducing conflict, including social and interpersonal violence. Further, in developing states, access to justice is vital in creating positive perceptions of a government for its citizens, and state accountability in general will encourage individual citizens to make personal investments in the country’s advancement.

Meeting: Seminar on “Peaceful and Inclusive Societies and Democratic Governance.”
Date & Location: 6 February 2015, Conference Room 8, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
Speakers: Ms. Yvonne Lodico, Head of the UNITAR New York Office; Mr. Massimo Tommasoli, Permanent Observer for International IDEA to the United Nations; Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez, Permanent Representative of Peru to the United Nations; Dr. Timothy Sisk, Professor, Associate Dean for Research, University of Denver; Thomas Gass, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Written By WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Orientating the Post-2015 Agenda

The second day of the Forum on Youth focused on young people’s input into the post-2015 development agenda. Image

Mr. Russell-Moyle opened the proceeding by reaffirming that it is the tradition for young people to be agents of change. He urged young people to adopt various roles and strategies to make their voices count, whether it be respectfully communicating their wishes or passionately protesting against the darker shades of society. He encouraged advocates not too lose sight of the long-term goal of making young people the center of decision-making, for their work may “not reach our skyscraper of ambition, but will build our foundation of success”.

Mr. Awasthi briefed the conference on the consultation of young people on the post-2015 agenda. He believed that the crowdsourcing exercise of the Global Partnership on Youth on the post-2015 agenda provides a good reference point on which member states can refer to when consulting youth domestically. Mr. Awasthi pointed out several differences between the ideas raised by the General Assembly’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development and that in the crowdsourcing process, and said that such differences illustrate the need to consult young people on issues of their concern. For instance, young people spoke out strongly in demanding the SDGs to enshrine provision for education in ICT, reproductive health and human rights, which is overlooked by member states in the Open Working Group.

The Forum continued with breakout sessions on the five thematic priorities identified in the crowdsourcing process, namely education, employment and entrepreneurship, health, peace and personal security and governance and participation. Meetings discussed the youth collaborative document proposing goals and crucial targets for the youth population: ‘The Global Youth Call: Prioritizing Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’. 

 

Meeting Title: Post-2015 working sessions (“#Youth2015: Realizing the future they want”)
Speakers: Mr. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Vice-President, European Youth Forum (Keynote Speaker); Mr. Prateek Awasthi, Technical Analyst, Adolescents and Youth, United Nations Population Fund (Moderator of Interactive Dialogue); Various Youth Delegates.
Location: United Nations Headquarters, Conference Room 1
Date: 3 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Harrison Chung
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark