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YPF Members Discuss Youth and Civil Society Peace Priorities with the UN and the International Community

اقرأ المحتوى باللغة العربية

Members of the Yemen Peace Forum (YPF) initiative, a track II youth and civil society platform, held extensive meetings in Amman with UN officials and representatives from the international community. The meetings were held as part of the Sana’a Center’s efforts to provide Yemeni youth and CSOs with the opportunity to engage with key international stakeholders, and ensure their perspective on peace in Yemen is heard.

55 YPF members representing 17 Yemeni governorates, 28 of whom were youth along with 27 civil society representatives, were brought together in Amman from April 21-23. YPF members met with Mr. Sarhad Fatah, Deputy Head of Mission for the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen; H.E. Gabriel Munuera Viñals, the EU Ambassador to Yemen; and H.E. Jeannette Seppen, the Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Yemen, in addition to several other representatives from international organizations.

During the meetings, YPF representatives highlighted the importance of civil society organizations’ active engagement in Yemen’s peace process, noting the need to focus on transitional justice and strengthen oversight over negotiations and the peacebuilding process. They underscored the necessity to protect the space for civil society and counter arbitrary practices against CSOs, while bringing attention to the ongoing plight of opening roads, localizing humanitarian action and transitioning to development programs that ensure full partnership with CSOs in Yemen. The youth component of the YPF also briefed the OSESGY and called on its support to safeguard Yemen’s educational system, put a stop to the recruitment of children and end the rhetoric of war in educational institutions, ensuring such measures form an integral part of any future negotiations.

On his part, Deputy UN Envoy Sarhad Fatah commended the efforts of track II diplomacy and initiatives such as the YPF, noting that while the UN works to facilitate dialogue by bringing together the different voices of Yemeni stakeholders — including youth, women, civil society, and marginalized groups — the responsibility of achieving peace ultimately lies with Yemenis. The UN Envoy’s road map, although not a comprehensive settlement, he added, serves as a starting point towards resuming a political process that seeks to find a sustainable and peaceful solution. The developments in the region and the ongoing escalation in the Red Sea, however, cast a shadow on the prospect of successful mediation, noted Fatah, making it difficult to achieve progress on the road map. Dutch Ambassador to Yemen, Jeanette Seppen, stated that initiatives such as these, where Yemeni youth organizations from different governorates are brought together to exchange knowledge and experiences among their peers, provide genuine hope for ending the war in Yemen.

“Investing in a generation of activists, researchers and organizations working for Yemen’s future is a priority for the Sana’a Center,” remarked Maged al-Madhaji, Chairperson of the Sana’a Center “especially considering the loss of many cadres throughout the nine-year war and the lack of training opportunities.”

The Yemen Peace Forum initiative is a track II youth and civil society platform facilitated by the Sana’a Center and Funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This interactive initiative seeks to both invest in building and empowering the next generation of Yemeni youth and civil society actors and to engage them in critical national issues. The YPF aims to localize the peace process by bridging the gap between youth, civil society organizations and national and international decision-makers, amplifying the voices of young men/women and civil society organizations and facilitating their engagement with stakeholders to exercise influence over decisions taken on the Yemen conflict and the peace process.

The Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies is an independent think-tank that seeks to foster change through knowledge production with a focus on Yemen and the surrounding region. The Center’s publications and programs, offered in both Arabic and English, cover political, social, economic and security related developments, aiming to impact policy locally, regionally, and internationally.