Young people under the age of 29 make up more than 50% of the population in Central Asia. Thus, they represent a tremendous resource to support peace and development across the Region, but their potential is largely untapped.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) has recognized that engaging with the Region’s young people would significantly fulfill its preventive diplomacy mandate. At the UN Security Council (SC) consultations on Central Asia on 24 January 2019, most Council members welcomed UNRCCA plans to intensify efforts in reaching out to young people. Following the Security Council welcome, the UNRCCA Youth Initiative, the Preventive Diplomacy Academy, was launched in 2019 to work with young people across Central Asia and Afghanistan to help unlock their enormous potential to support peace and security and promote the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda in the Region.
The efforts align with the Strategy’s first priority (Engagement, Participation and Advocacy) and fifth priority (Peace and Resilience Building), as well as with the prevention elements of Security Council resolutions 2250 (2015) and 2419 (2018) on Youth, Peace and Security.
The Preventive Diplomacy Academy (PDA) aims to build linkages between UNRCCA and young people throughout Central Asia and Afghanistan. It seeks to spark a culture of prevention among young people, reducing the risk of conflict and paying peace dividends far into the future. UNRCCA is confident that the involvement of the Region's youth in such activities will significantly contribute to implementing the UNRCCA mandate on preventive diplomacy.
Throughout the PDA activity, special attention is also paid to the interests of young women through their involvement in ongoing activities, as well as through working with gender issues throughout the curriculum.
At the end of each calendar year, UNRCCA organizes a meeting of the deputy foreign ministers of Central Asia and Afghanistan. In addition, its Agenda includes a Regional Dialogue with youth - participants of the Academy of Preventive Diplomacy since 2019 to demonstrate the potential of young leaders, the benefits of their close contacts and participation in politics their countries.
- Raising awareness of the participants about UN activities in the field of peace and security and the UN youth strategy.
- Expanding the consciousness of young people and setting the foundations for developing a culture of preventive diplomacy in the Region.
- Development of knowledge in young people’s minds opened to other cultures, beliefs, worldviews and customs.
- Awareness of the importance of constructive dialogue, partnerships and cooperation in the prevention of regional conflicts.
- Developing leadership skills to motivate others to make choices in favor of an active life position in maintaining peace and security.
The Preventive Diplomacy programmatic activity has two main components:
- Competency Training of PDA Graduates - young people aged 18-29 years from Central Asia and Afghanistan, who are planning to enter or already studying in universities in political science, international relations, international economic relations, jurisprudence, and sociology.
- Improve and maintain the platform of the interregional network of PDA alumni to help foster a culture of peace and promote preventive diplomacy in the Region.
Most of the training events have a dedicated session on the Women, Peace and Security agenda and the needs and interests of young women are be addressed throughout the entire project. Fifty per cent of participants in PDA events are young women.
The Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Republic of Uzbekistan