The role of the young people in the MENA coalition is to lead and manage its work in order to advance the YPS agenda in the MENA region. For that, the coalition incorporates and aligns its engagement to the input of its members, making them its centerpiece. As young people in the MENA coalition believe in meaningful participation in decision-making at all levels, taking an active role within the coalition is a basic principle of its approach. Therefore they participate in all manners regarding the operationalizing of the YPS agenda starting from participating discussions within the working groups and the wider organization regarding activities and strategic issues, designing the context of the programs and evaluating all processes.
What has been the role of other non-youth-led civil society organizations? And what was the experience like? What has been the role of UN agencies?
As a newly founded coalition, we have not yet had extensive experience with other organizations outside our members. But we believe that the role of other organizations is to help young people and youth led organizations to become active leaders of the YPS agenda in different capacities and providing all possible support that can increase and amplify the voices of young people in the MENA region. The role of UN agencies in particular is to help different youth entities to empower them to participate in the decision making process. However, from our perspective the UN agencies play currently only a limited role in supporting the implementation of YPS agenda, while we are looking for a partner that goes beyond providing financial and technical support and connects us with other stakeholders, capacitates us in effective activism and acts as door opener in important avenues and are actively searching for an organization that could assist us to this end.
What has been the role of the national governments? What was the process of outreach like or type of communication with governmental actors?
Currently, there is no direct contact with government institutions because we strongly believe in the non-interference in national affairs, especially since we work at the regional level. So it is necessary to pay attention to and respect the different national contexts in the region, and this is what gives the regional coalition an advantage in the position of neutrality because we know very well how governments deal with youth issues at all levels. We do emphasize the integral role of the MENA coalition in the efforts to advance the YPS agenda through maintaining this distance, but we contribute and provide our resources in an indirect way to empower and build the capacities of young people to handle interaction with their national contexts.
Since our participation and experience from the field of YPS agenda we found the following points as important lessons we learned:
- The importance of networking for youth and organizations.
- The importance of giving the resources directly to young people and youth organizations.
- The importance of independence.
- The civic space as a primary factor for YPS implementation.
Main Activities? Which formal or informal decision-making space does the initiative engage with or try to participate in?
Our main activities will be developed to concentrate and keeping the momentum on the YPS agenda in the MENA region. They will be designed to fulfill the needs of young men and women and will be achieving the following goals:
- Building partnership with global, regional, and national coalitions to share knowledge and experiences on YPS agenda.
- Holding open discussions with global, regional, and national coalitions to explore the work mechanisms and the organizational structures of these coalitions.
- Building bridges of cooperation between international, regional, and local coalitions.
- Linking youth organizations and civil society organizations working with youth with international and regional partners.
- Promote the women, peace and security agenda in the MENA region.
- Participate in developing youth programs related to peacebuilding.
What are the main needs young peacebuilders youth groups and organisations have in the nationallocal implementation of YPS agenda?
- Safe Spaces.
- Financial sustainability.
What are the key capacities and resources that youth have when it comes to nationallocal implementation of YPS agenda?
One of the most important capabilities and resources that young people possess when it comes to implementing the (YPS) agenda is the real will that they have to engage in implementation and the enthusiasm to lead this agenda because they feel that this agenda provides a safe and effective space for their participation when they compare it with other topics, as well as the youth’s passion to show their positive contribution to building societies through these agenda.
What do the national and local governments need to know\understand in order to effectively partner with youth and to implement the YPS agenda? What kind of technical guidance would be useful to them?
- Building partnership and trust.
- Dialogue with young people.
- Inclusivity of young people.
- Transparency in dealing with young people issues.
- Respect human rights.
- Freedom of speech and safe spaces.