Investing in Youth, Peace and Security A review of lessons learned from the Youth Solidarity Fund and Youth Promotion Initiative.

Background paper on financing the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda

Financing peacebuilding worldwide remains a critical challenge, even more, when it comes to financing the efforts of young peacebuilders. Most youth-led organizations operate with an annual budget of under $5,000,4 severely hindering their ability to deliver sustainable and more impactful projects. Whenever intentions to fund youth-led initiatives exist, strict and overly bureaucratic application procedures and requirements often impose barriers for youth-led organizations to access the support they need. The current funding culture is advantageous to bigger, more structured organizations that can adapt to donor requirements that are often unattainable for most youth-led organizations. Young people’s access to resources, financial or otherwise, has historically been limited, but the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed further challenges, adding extra pressure on the existing structures.

The United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC) established the Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF) in 2008 to support youth-led projects promoting social cohesion and tackling polarization. Later in 2016, responding to Security Council resolution 2250 (2015), the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) established the Youth Promotion Initiative (YPI). To date, both funds are among the few funding windows in the UN system dedicated to the implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda. This paper builds on the learning and experience of YSF and YPI through light desk reviews, reflecting on some of the challenges youth-led organizations face when trying to access funding for their peacebuilding initiatives. The paper also puts forward some concrete recommendations for increasing the support to youth-led organizations through a comprehensive support package that combines capacity building, mentorship services and funding support.

UNAOC and the DPPA/PBSO wrote this paper as a contribution to the Secretary-General report on Youth, Peace and Security, and the UNGA 76 High-Level Meeting on Financing for Peacebuilding.