International Day of Peace Commemoration for the Youths of ASEAN
JOINT RELEASE OF ASEAN-IPR & EMBASSY OF THE NETHERLANDS JAKARTA
14 September 2023
Erasmus Huis, Jakarta, Indonesia
The International Day of Peace is observed on 21 September each year. For the second year in a row, the ASEAN Institute for Peace & Reconciliation is collaborating with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta to commemorate the Day, with a dynamic and engaging activity targeting the youths as beneficiaries.
Last year, the two collaborated to organise “Dialogue on Peace and Multilateralism: the youth as agents of future change”. This year, a two-part activity took place – with a panel discussion followed by a simulation activity, aiming to ensure maximum dissemination and knowledge, as well as youth engagement and participation.
Another milestone to be celebrated was the recent conferment of The Netherlands as ASEAN’s newest Development Partner – giving way to deeper and more constructive cooperation between ASEAN and The Netherlands.
The activity was participated by no less than 60 youth participants, along with 20 more participants coming from ASEAN Member States (including ASEAN-IPR’s Governing Council and Advisory Board representatives), as well as ASEAN’s partners, including representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Secretariat, United Nations and other partner organisations.
The first part of the event was a panel discussion – representing the second session of ASEAN-IPR’s signature event: the Discussion Series. The Discussion Series session highlighted the theme lessons learned in developing National Action Plan (NAP) on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) – with the objective to explore process of mapping and developing NAP in other countries, specifically learning best practices and lessons learned from the Philippines as the only ASEAN Member State currently with an NAP on YPS. The topic is also pursuant to the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) Blueprint 2025 action lines which aim to strengthen youth participation in promoting peace culture and peacebuilding activities.
In his Opening Remarks, Executive Director of ASEAN-IPR, Mr. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja, highlighted the significance of crafting a National Action Plan on YPS, and underlined that such a plan forms a fundamental framework with the potential of future implementation in Indonesia as well as other ASEAN Member States to follow. In the spirit of commemorating the International Day of Peace, the ED expressed hope that this joint event would play an active role in building a “peace reservoir”, or a condition in which cultures and structures of peace are created and nurtured.
In his remarks, H.E. Lambert Grijns, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Indonesia, Timor-Leste and ASEAN, underlined that by developing a National Action Plan, youth get the chance to directly contribute to peace and conflict resolution. Furthermore, Amb. Grijns drew attention to the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ National Youth Council, in which members aged between 12 and 30 actively participate as representatives advocating for youth perspectives in policymaking. With this in mind, Amb. Grijns expressed hope that the day’s discussions would open the dialogue on the topic of peace and security, as the voice of the youth in discussing these topics is crucial.
The Discussion brought Ms. Vanessa Marie Yaoyao (Core Writer of the Philippines Action Plan on YPS 2022-2032), Mr. Rene Gandeza Jr. (Project Development Officer V, Social Healing and Peacebuilding Office, Officer of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU)), and Ms. Ratu Bintang Assyifa Arweys (Representative of Indonesian Youth Coalition on YPS). The session was moderated by Ms. Abigail Saveria, Ms.Sc., PMD Pro (Co-Founder and Executive Director at Girl Can Lead).
The discussions centered around the means of creating a NAP on YPS, aimed at fostering peace and security among youth in the society, as they are one of the most vulnerable to violence. Moreover, discussions revolved around the notion of empowering the youth – particularly in Indonesia, and ASEAN youths in general – to formulate their own unique NAP on YPS, and to explore potential strategies to implement the NAP in Indonesia. As Vanessa emphasised, that there is an upmost importance of crafting a NAP that is “by the youth and for the youth.”
Following the Discussion Series, an Interactive Session in the form of youth consultation simulation was conducted – where youth participants were given space to share their thoughts on how they could contribute recommendations or solutions to several themes related to youth issues and peacebuilding. The areas were inspired by the Philippines’ National Action Plan on YPS, as well as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2250 on YPS pillars of participation, protection, prevention, partnership, and disengagement & reintegration.
The session simulated a national or local level consultation, with the objective to map out key actions that they could adopt, as well as possible recommendations to be tabled in regards to themes such as “participation of Indonesian youth in public and civic affairs”; “youth partnership in cultivating tolerance”; “youth-led protection against gender-based violence”, and “the role of youth in prevention violent culture and violent extremism”. Participants were divided into four-groups, each group focusing on one of the aforementioned topics; and subsequently rotated to a topic of their specific interest.
Recommendations listed from the simulation included, among others, establishing a platform for substantive dialogue between youth organisations and key stakeholders (including government bodies and civil society organisations) to foster an enabling environment for youth’s participation; implementing a cultural exchange programme aimed at promoting intercultural conversations and nurturing tolerance among young individuals; and undertaking initiatives to educate others about the pivotal role of youth and the imperative to safeguard their rights and freedoms, emphasising the importance of not depriving them of these fundamental entitlements. It is also worth mentioning that many of the recommendations revolve around using social media as tool to cultivate tolerance and understanding amongst the youth in diverse societies.
Stay tuned and subscribe to ASEAN-IPR’s website and social media platforms for more interesting activities, some of which you may even be able to participate in, and contribute to sustainable peace in our region!