The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the United Nations together with civil society representatives will hold the First International Symposium on Youth Participation in Peace Processes on 5–6 March.
Approximately a hundred specialists, mediators, researchers and opinion-makers will gather in Helsinki to share their experiences of mediation, to strengthen their networks and to consider new ways of fostering young people’s participation in peace processes. Half of the attendees will be youth with first-hand experience of peace processes in conflict-affected areas. Finland’s active input in mediation shows in that the event will be held in Helsinki.
The conference will be co-hosted by United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake, Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini and the Foreign Minister’s Special Representative on Mediation Jutta Urpilainen, together with Colombia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Holmes Trujillo and Qatar’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi.
President of the United Nations General Assembly for the 73rd session Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Nicholas Haysom, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Laura Londén, and United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco will also attend the meeting.
“Young people account for a considerable share of people living in the developing world and in conflict areas but they are often left outside of the scope of all decision-making in society, including peace processes. Mediation is one of Finland’s foreign policy priorities and the conference in March offers a concrete opportunity for Finland to promote young people’s inclusion in peace processes. From the point of view of effective and sustainable peace processes, comprehensive inclusion is of utmost importance. Sustainable peace requires youth’s active participation and we all must support them. It is wrong to consider young people only as victims of conflicts or perpetrators of violence,” Minister Soini says.