United Network of Young Peacebuilders

Contact Information

  • Where – The Netherlands (Europe)
  • Website – www.unoy.org
  • Contact Person – Matilda Flemming
  • Email – matilda.flemming@unoy.org
  • Address – Laan van Meerdervoort 70, 2517 AN, The Hague

Areas of Expertise

United Network of Young Peacebuilders has expertise in a range of areas, including:

Main Aims and Objectives

The United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY Peacebuilders) is a global network of youth peace organisations and young people active in the field of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. UNOY Peacebuilders welcomes youth peace initiatives, organisations, and young peacebuilders regardless of gender, ethnicity, social class, religion, or any other distinction.Young people constitute half of the world’s population, and UNOY strongly believes in their importance in society. Thus, UNOY aims to provide youth with the necessary means to contribute to peace. UNOY’s vision is that of youth committed to jointly building a world in which peace, justice, solidarity, human dignity and respect for nature prevail. UNOY’s mission is to link up young people’s initiatives for peace in a global network of young peacebuilders, to help empower their capacities and to help increase the effectiveness of their actions.

Upholding the Principles of Conflict Transformation

UNOY Peacebuilders is a youth-led peace organisation, which works actively toward the achievement of peace and justice, as well as the transformation of conflict by peaceful means. UNOY’s work, in essence, is devoted to facilitating conflict transformation and closely following the Principles of Conflict Transformation, through advocacy and capacity enhancement of young people to build a peaceful society.

Over the past years, UNOY Peacebuilders has implemented a range of training courses, seminars and workshops, which are directed at youth peace education. For example, in February 2012, UNOY Peacebuilders, together with UPACT, arranged the seminar “Educating for Peace: Exploring Successes, Challenges and Opportunities in Youth Peace Initiatives” at the IB Global Centre in The Hague. The seminar was aimed at equipping participants with skills that are essential for youth in peacebuilding.

Other projects that UNYP are currently working on include regional training courses in Africa, where African youth organizations can share experiences and good practices in order to find mutually beneficial ways to address regional challenges, especially in conflict-ridden areas. Another on-going project is “Peace of Mind”, an educational programme for Dutch students that is aimed at sensitising them to issues connected to development and peacebuilding. The students are to be challenged with a real-life development problem, or challenge, for which they will initiate an innovative approach and solution jointly with a UNOY Peacebuilders’ member organization. UNOY largely focuses on non-formal education in youth work, peace education, community development and intercultural learning, and believes that many of the Principles of Conflict Transformation are inherent in its peace work.

Where and with Whom

The International Secretariat of UNOY Peacebuilders is based in The Hague, the Netherlands, and is run by young people under the age of 30. Activities are initiated by member organisations and the International Secretariat, guided by an International Steering Group, which consists of six members that are active young people within member organizations coming from different regions of the world, and advised and supervised in issues of financial and legal nature by a Board.

UNOY’s members are youth (peace) organizations from all over the world. Currently UNOY Peacebuilders have 65 members. Besides this global network, UNOY Peacebuilders maintains relations with: GYAN & Taking It Global, Dutch Youth Council, Anna Lindh Foundation, People Building Peace Netherlands and GPPAC (Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict).

UNOY Peacebuilders is recognised as an expert organisation in youth-led peacebuilding by the Council Europe’s Directorate Youth and Sport, and the UN Alliance of Civilisations and UN-Habitat. UNOY Peacebuilders was granted consultative status at ECOSOC in July 2010 at the UN Headquarters and is in the process of applying for membership with the European Youth Forum.

Main Activities in the Field of Conflict Transformation

UNOY Peacebuilders as a network organization contributes to the work of its members and affiliates in two fundamental ways: ‘Capacity building’ and ‘Advocacy and Campaigning’. It also engages in a range of additional activities to support these two key functions – networking; sharing of information; advice and support through a pool of resource persons; research; fundraising and administrative support.

Capacity building activities enhance the ability of youth and youth organisations to engage
meaningfully in peacebuilding efforts in their communities on local, regional and/or global level. Firstly, UNOY Peacebuilders organises regional trainings in cooperation with its members and partners, and local training seminars in the Netherlands. Secondly, UNOY Peacebuilders facilitates on-line activities. Thirdly, UNOY Peacebuilders promotes and facilitates the sharing of knowledge and experiences within the network and mainly among its members. Capacity building projects are implemented by a project coordination team, usually interns and volunteers, in cooperation with members and partners in the particular region of the activity.

Advocacy aims to promote the role of youth in peacebuilding. Advocacy activities try to influence the agendas and programmes of governmental, inter-governmental institutions such as the UN and the EU, and non-governmental organisations in relation to the involvement of youth as protagonists and partners. With the help of toolkits, simulation- games and consultation processes, UNOY Peacebuilders supports members’ advocacy work on local and regional levels. Advocacy also entails campaigning to create awareness and public support for the issues effecting youth and peacebuilding.

Since its inception in 1989, UNOY Peacebuilders has organised a series of international work group meetings, training seminars and regional/global conferences and workshops. In the previous year (2011), UNOY Peacebuilders implemented a full range of activities. Among them are:

  • Job-shadowing project ‘Learning by seeing, Seeing by doing’: Capacity-building through the exchange of the youth leaders working among member organisations of UNOY Peacebuilders;
  • Interplay towards a policy-making exercise: youth teams researching the impact of the European development policies in (post) conflict countries, by means of a position paper and a problem analysis on the effect of violence on youth in certain (post) conflict countries in the Global South;
  • Peace of Mind: student teams presenting innovative approaches and solutions for real-life challenges from UNOY Peacebuilders’ member organisations in their localities. The results will be presented at the Peace Education conference 2012.

Besides, from 1999-2010, UNOY Peacebuilders hosted the yearly African Students Conference in the Peace Palace in the Netherlands, as well as implemented a peace and youth organisation capacity building training for its African members in Kenya. From 2001 to 2010, UNOY Peacebuilders was actively campaigning for promoting the UN-declared International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence (2001-2010) and to promote the values and principles gathered in the Earth Charter as a guiding ethical framework for action. In 2005, UNOY Peacebuilders contributed to the World Civil Society Mid-Term Report on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and in 2006 the organization contributed to the Youth for a Culture of Peace report. Additional activities include conducting workshops, training courses and lectures all over Europe and in the Netherlands.