Can Women and Youth Prevent Conflict in Central Asia

22 Jun 2017

Can Women and Youth Prevent Conflict in Central Asia

A two-day regional seminar entitled “The role of women and youth in conflict prevention in Central Asia” concluded on June 20, 2017 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The event was organized by the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) in cooperation with the UN-Women Multi-country Office of in Central Asia (UN-Women) and the Regional Office of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Representatives from Institutes of Strategic Studies and relevant state structures of the five Central Asian states, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Iran, regional and international organizations as well as independent experts from the region and beyond gathered in Almaty to exchange views on the ways to increase the role of women and youth in conflict prevention and peacebuilding in Central Asia.

The topics of discussion during the seminar included, among others, the efforts of Central Asian authorities in strengthening the engagement of women and youth in conflict prevention and peace building and the role of the United Nations and other regional and international actors in promoting peace and inclusive development.

In his opening statement, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Petko Draganov, underlined the importance of the topic referring to the radicalization of different groups of the society and the spread of violent extremism in different parts of the world. "We have seen strong women seeking to prevent further escalation of conflict," Petko Draganov noted by singling out the role of women in the tragic events in the South of Kyrgyzstan in 2010.

"Given this experience, we must fully recognize the need for women to be fully involved in the fight against terrorism and extremism, which is key to maintaining sustainable peace and stability at various levels - from local governments to interstate and regional bodies," he added.

Pedro Pablo Villanueva, UNFPA representative in Kazakhstan indicated that Women and Youth have proven they CAN and MOST play a key role in preventing conflicts and ensuring peace and security which is a pre-requisite for the accomplishment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is the responsibility of all of us, states, the society and the international community to promote and support Women and Youth to continue playing this role.

This event was part of the series of strategic dialogues on security related challenges that UNRCCA annually conducts with the academic and expert community in Central Asia.