Youth, peace and security – A programming handbook

(Reposted from: United Nations. 2021)

Youth, Peace and Security: A Programming Handbook, developed by the United Nations with the generous support of the Folke Bernadotte Academy – the Swedish Agency for Peace, Security and Development – seeks to contribute to the operational readiness and capacity of United Nations practitioners to implement the youth, peace and security (YPS) agenda.

For the United Nations, the development of the handbook was led by the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Development Programme and the Peacebuilding Support Office in the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, in consultation with a task force including various United Nations entities represented at global, regional and country levels, as well as Folke Bernadotte Academy partners.

The handbook is intended to be used by country, regional and global teams in the United Nations system, but it can also provide insights and guidance to field practitioners beyond the United Nations, including other international or regional organizations, national counterparts, youth-led and youth-focused organizations, movements and networks, and peacebuilding organizations.

download the handbook here


Investing in the capacity, agency and leadership of young peacebuilders can strengthen their ability to collaboratively lead peace efforts, and to use their skills to tackle other challenges that affect them, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

This recognition of young people as a positive force in preventing and resolving conflict and building sustainable peace has gained significant momentum since the adoption of the United Nations Security Council resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security (YPS) on 9 December 2015. The historic resolution marked a fundamental shift in acknowledging the positive role young women and young men play in the maintenance of peace and security, and the importance of enabling their meaningful participation in decision-making at all levels. Since then, the YPS agenda has developed into a comprehensive agenda, consolidated by Resolution 2419 (2018), which recognized the importance of regional and sub-regional bodies for the implementation of the YPS agenda and called for the meaningful inclusion of young women and men in the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements. Most recently, Resolution 2535 (2020) gives a welcome boost to the YPS agenda, signalling Member States’ determination to drive practical action forward in an integrated and coordinated way across the United Nations system as a whole and asking specific actions of various United Nations entities.

This handbook builds on the momentum gathered around the trio of resolutions and responds to the call by Resolution 2535 to ensure full, effective and meaningful participation of youth without discrimination of any kind. This includes any bias on the grounds of race, colour, sex, gender identity, language, socio-economic status, disability, religion or belief, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Such participation is key to advancing peacebuilding processes and objectives that take into account the needs of all segments of society.

In response to the Secretary-General’s call for accelerated implementation of the YPS agenda, this handbook provides guidance to all United Nations entities on the implementation of the YPS agenda in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of context-specific interventions that are youth sensitive and youth inclusive. It seeks to complement existing guidelines created by the United Nations and partner organizations and reflect priorities identified by young people and partners in recent learning forums and consultations. It addresses, in particular, the need to meaningfully engage young women and men in all stages of the programming process.

While this cutting-edge guidance targets practitioners in the United Nations system, it is our hope that it will also be useful to Member States, as well as civil society organizations and other international organizations, such as regional and sub-regional organizations.

The handbook was developed by the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Development Programme and the Peacebuilding Support Office of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, with the generous support and technical insights of the Folke Bernadotte Academy. It reflects our joint commitment to continuing to drive forward the YPS agenda as a central component of the United Nations’ work for and with youth, and as a core dimension of our work to support national efforts to build and sustain peace.

Diene Keita, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director for Programme, United Nations Population Fund

Oscar Fernández-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support

Haoliang Xu, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, United Nations Development Programme

Sven-Eric Söder, Director-General, Folke Bernadotte Academy


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