Bipartisan bill would strengthen U.S. support of young peacebuilders

Photo courtesy of Generations for Peace

The world’s youth population tops 1.8 billion, and many of those young people are living with violent conflict. Youth populations have long led grassroots efforts for peace and justice, yet they remain underrepresented in policy decisions. This legislation seeks to address the problem.

What is the Youth, Peace and Security Act?

The Youth, Peace and Security Act, introduced in the House on March 10, 2020, would require the U.S. government – in collaboration with global civil society – to create a policy that promotes the inclusion and meaningful participation of young people in overseas peacebuilding and conflict-prevention efforts. It also would establish a fund for young peacebuilders’ programs.

The bill, H.R. 6174, is cosponsored by Reps. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., Susan Brooks, R-Ind., Dean Phillips, D-Minn., and John Curtis, R-Utah.

Why is the bill needed?

In 2014, the world’s youth population rose to 1.8 billion, according to the U.N. Population Fund, and many of those young people are living with violent conflict. Youth populations have long led grassroots efforts for peace and justice — creating movements, organizations and networks to prevent violence and mitigate the effects of conflict. Yet they remain underrepresented in policy decisions and government activities. The legislation aims to address these issues.

How does the bill define ‘youth’?

The Youth, Peace and Security Act categorizes youth as between the ages of 16 to 29.

What would the bill do?

The legislation would:

  • establish a National Collaboration Platform on Youth, Peace and Security bringing together representatives of the U.S. government and youth delegates
  • require an interagency Youth, Peace and Security Strategy that outlines how the United States would ensure the perspectives and interests of young people are integrated into U.S.-funded peace and security activities; encourage other governments to do the same; help and protect young peacebuilders; and collect and analyze data to better understand the roles young people play in conflict areas
  • require each department and agency to have a specific implementation plan for technical, financial and in-kind contributions
  • require all foreign service officers to be trained in engaging and supporting young people in preventing violence and building peace
  • require USAID and the State Department’s awards to implementing partners meet a baseline “youth inclusion criteria” to be considered for the funding
  • establish a baseline of standard indicators for best practices regarding how to meaningfully include youth
  • establish a Youth, Peace, Security and Prosperity Fund with global authority to support young people’s contributions to peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
Who are the supporters in the peacebuilding sector?

The growing list of supporting organizations include Peace Direct, Alliance for Peacebuilding, +Peace, Search for Common Ground, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Generations for Peace and STAND: the student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

Related Resources:
  • Read our 2019 report on Youth and Peacebuilding to see how best to include youth voices in peacebuilding processes and to learn about the innovative ways young peacebuilders worldwide are getting involved.
  • Follow us on social media and sign up for our email alerts to stay on top of the latest developments.
  • Join the conversation and show support for the bill on social media with the hashtags #Yes4YPS #Youth4Peace and #TheMissingPeace.

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