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The Regional Youth Committee represented the cooperative movement of the Americas in the ECOSOC Youth Forum at the United Nations.

25 April 2019

Angélica Soberanes, President of the Regional Committee of Youth Cooperatives of the Americas participated in the side event of UN Habitat, promoting cooperatives as key actors for the construction of better societies.

The 8th edition of the Youth Forum of the UN Economic and Social Council was held during global efforts to correct the current trend in inequality, exclusion and a slowdown in several dimensions of sustainable development. This year, young people took advantage of the space to present their ideas to political leaders and government representatives to achieve fairer development.

Cooperatives of the Americas, through its representation of the Regional Youth Committee and as part of the actions of the Partnership between the International Cooperative Alliance and the Commission of the European Union: "Cooperatives in development: companies focused on people in action”, the cooperative sector of the Americas was represented at a side event of the ECOSOC Youth Forum, where, thanks to the invitation of UN-Habitat, a dialogue was generated on the different perceptions of the role of "young people as ambassadors of peace and security", discussing conflict prevention strategies and peacebuilding progress indicators for youth, especially in urban areas, which are increasingly vulnerable to violence; and likewise, mechanisms were proposed to prevent and combat different forms of violence, placing young people at the forefront of decision-making.

The rapid and unplanned growth of urban centers was discussed, as the governments now do not have the capacity to provide adequate opportunities for a decent, fair and remunerated employment. The population of young people who come from unemployed and underemployed urban areas threatens the stability of the labor force; and with great concern we see a population of marginalized and socio-economically excluded young people, increasingly vulnerable to the conflicts and violence of the approximately 1.4 billion people around the world who live in countries affected by crisis, conflict and fragility, taking into account account that 50% have less than 20 years (OECD, 2015).

Ms. Caridad Kagwi-Ndungu, Director of the Criminal Justice Program welcomed all attendees. In that order the panel was opened by Mr. Mbuvi Mike Sonko - Governor of Nairobi and Sharmaarke Abdullahi, Program Management Officer, as moderator of UN-Habitat, within the main table of the discussion forum were:

• Maria Eduarda Lacerda- State Government of Ceara of Brazil.
• Angélica Soberanes - President of the Regional Youth Network for the Americas ICA
• Charles Nader - CEO Doc.com
• Amro Awad - Senior Policy Advisor, African Union

This dialogue allowed to make a critical analysis of the situation and share relevant experiences of young leaders from different parts of the world and thus highlight the peacebuilding efforts at the local and national levels that have been carried out. Finally, the session gave guidelines to determine the gaps and opportunities for the full and meaningful participation of young people as agents and defenders of the peace in cities.