“We are like a super nova: an explosion of new ideas, cultures, colors, something unexplored. Our world is full of imagination and ideas that need to surface, and that will change our planet earth. Everyday, there is a new dream to be fulfilled, a new discovery, a new technology. I think peace makes it possible today, it gives us the opportunity to develop Colombia sustainably”, representative of the young women´s organization of Pasto.
“We young people have the historical task of being the active builders of the societies we want, of the processes we want to advance at a crucial moment in the history of our country”, explained Melissa Herrera in the department of Nariño in Colombia, talking about youth as agents of change and peacebuilding after the signing of the Peace Accord.
Melissa is 26 years old and is part of the youth platform of the department of Nariño that has been promoting a culture of peace and reconciliation through art, theater and other mechanisms of citizen participation. She also leads processes of social organization for young women to voice their concerns and influence public decisions and policies. UNDP has been working with this platform promoting their social and economic empowerment through locally developed sustainable opportunities.
Nariño is a stronghold of citizen mobilization thanks to a long-standing leadership of social organizations claiming their rights. UNDP has worked with local public and private stakeholders to support the design of a local peace agenda, the only local peace agenda developed thus far in the country.
Youth represents a demographic and democratic imperative that governments need to strengthen to ensure their active participation and meaningful inclusion in peace and security matters, human rights and sustainable development.
UNDP has been working with youth organizations strengthening a culture of peace by unravelling the social, cultural, ethnic, gender and economic narratives that have underpinned the war, thus contributing to building a new reality that reflects their concerns, hopes and ideas to achieve the world they want.
As part of the UNV-UNDP Volunteer Programme for Peace, youth takes part in education campaigns, SDG advocacy, workshops to strengthen their social and economic capacities and activities to prevent violence and promote dialogue. Education, sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, LGBTI rights, human rights, the promotion of new masculinities, climate change and the preservation of natural resources are some of the topics that youth highlights when it comes to the #2030Agenda.
Youth organizations stress women’s participation as key for achieving social change and sustainable development in Colombia. Both rural and urban organizations promote and disseminate actively the #SDGs, connecting with social networks for greater participation and inclusion in the planning and public agendas.