Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, April 2021 -  The Government of Turkmenistan and the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan organized a virtual International Peace and Trust Youth Forum following the UN’s declaration of 2021 as the International Year of Peace and Trust.  

Representatives from the Government, UN agencies and youth leaders came together to discuss experiences on the establishment of mechanisms for the involvement of the youth in the development of the culture of peace, trust, tolerance, intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

We at the UN aim to see a world in which the human rights of every young person are realized; that ensures every young person is empowered to achieve their full potential; and that recognizes young people’s positive contributions as agents of change for peace and trust,” noted Ms. Christine Weigand, UN Resident Coordinator a.i. in Turkmenistan.

During the first segment of the Forum, young leaders representing youth organizations and networks from the region and beyond exchanged their views on the importance of youth participation for regional peace and creating a culture of trust at all levels. They also contributed to the Joint Appeal that was later adopted by the Forum.

“Since 2015, when Resolution 2250 was unanimously adopted by the Security Council, we have witnessed an important shift in the recognition of the role of young people in peace and security,” stated Joao Scarpelini, an independent Youth, Peace and Security Expert, “We need to move beyond ad-hoc and siloed youth initiatives and invest in real efforts to integrate youth, peace and security principles in all aspects of our work and within our organizations.”

UN-Habitat facilitated the involvement of youth globally in the forum, inviting Mohamed Arshad, coordinator of the Youth-led Covid-19 Emergency Response initiative in Kismayo, Somalia and Gwendolyn Myers, Global Peace Activist from Liberia.

“Young people must be heard and meaningfully engaged to bring about peaceful and just societies,” stated Raf Tuts, Director of UN-Habitat’s Global Solutions Division. “We have heard the many stories of the young people we work with globally in informal settlements and conflict situations, and are inspired to act and partner with them.”

The results of the Ashgabat Youth Forum will contribute to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum on 7 and 8 April 2021.