The United Nations in Nigeria and a Non-Governmental Organisation, Peace Shapers, have advised Nigerian youths to work towards building peace within their immediate communities.
Peace Shapers is a youth-led organisation with the goal to equip young people with the knowledge and skills required to shape peace and transform conflict.
National Information Officer, United Nations Information Center, Dr Seyi Soremekun, made this known in Lagos on Friday while addressing youths at a two-day training workshop, themed, ‘Bridges 2 Peace Bootcamp’.
The workshop, organised by Peace Shapers in partnership with UNIC and the American Negotiation Institute, is aimed at creating awareness among youths towards social action.
It will also equip the youths early with the knowledge, attitude and skills needed to build a peaceful, just and inclusive world.
According to Soremekun, peace had become the “recurring decimal” in everything being talked about in the world today and at the centre of sustainable development.
He stressed the need to re-emphasise the sanctity of peace for development, adding that while addressing current issues, the future should be factored in.
He said, “Without peace, there cannot be development, the planet will be sick and the people can’t prosper.”
The information officer noted that it should be acknowledged that young people are being limited and inhibited when it concerns peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
“This is a call on leaders everywhere to always bring young people to the table during conflict resolution and peacebuilding discussions because a peace process that excludes them cannot endure,” Dr Soremekun added.
In her remarks, Director, Peace Shapers, Oluwaseun Kolawole, urged the youths to use their voices and platforms to make an impact.
According to Kolawole, “If young people keep running away from being change makers, how will the situation improve.
“We need to step up whatever actions that are already in place and also raise awareness at the grassroots.
“When we teach young people the value of peace and the skills they need to have, they will be healthy conflict resolvers.
We are building the next generation to be the type that prioritises creative cooperation over violence for a just and inclusive society,” she said.
Speak-up Standout Activist and Co-founder, the Youth Revolve, Ruhamah Ifere, said the importance of Social Development Goal 16; Justice, Peace and Strong Institutions should be promoted to enable different pillars of positive peace to thrive.
According to Ifere, these pillars include a well-functioning government, sound business environment, equitable distribution of resources, free flow of information, reduced corruption, good bilateral relations and a high level of human capital.
The activist said that one of the ways young people could be involved in the promotion of SDGs is by volunteering for projects that align with their visions.
“We bridge the gap between organisations and volunteers through the promotion of voluntary opportunities for youths, they are able to deploy their skills towards impactful projects,” Ifere said. (NAN)