“Peacemaking is not a privilege of a few” – Youth are needed for more inclusive peace processes

Published on Monday, 24th of October 2022

CMI’s CEO Janne Taalas held a keynote speech on the third day of the One Young World Summit in Manchester. Photo: One Young World

Inclusivity is a key to sustainable peace. Peace mediation needs women, other minorities, and the youth, Janne Taalas told future leaders at the One Young World Summit, held in Manchester.

The key to better and more sustainable peace agreements lies in inclusivity. In his keynote speech at the One Young World Summit, CMI’s CEO Janne Taalas said that according to multiple research sources, inclusive peace agreements are more durable.

In his speech, titled Youth as Peacemakers – Inspired by the legacy of Nobel Laureate Martti Ahtisaari, Taalas pointed out that throughout his career President Martti Ahtisaari emphasised the need for inclusivity in peace processes. The principle still guides the work of CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation.

At the One Young World Summit, held in Manchester, UK, in September, Taalas addressed over two thousand future leaders from all over the world. He stressed that peacebuilding needs young people, but noted that the potential of youth all too often remains untapped when it comes to peace making.

“In many conflict-affected countries the percentage of people under 18 years old is over 60%. In essence, we are talking about political change towards more inclusive societies.”

Diversity and education for better peace

Historically, peace negotiations traditionally have been a male-dominated arena. Between 1992 and 2019, only 6 percent of mediators and 13 percent of negotiators in major peace processes were women.

Taalas recalled that there has already been some headway from the previous situation. But progress is still needed in order to reach equality in the negotiation tables.

“There is an acknowledgement that peacemaking is not a privilege of a few”, he said.

In addition to inclusive structures, education and employment are key factors in empowering young people around the world. Taalas saluted the young leaders who have been fighting for equal opportunities, climate action and more just societies.

“We want those in power to recognise and respect the world view of young people. We do this because we know that this is the way to sustainable peace.”

You can watch Taalas’ speech here: