This year`s edition of the UN Youth Academic Conference will take place between 21-23 April in Iasi and will involve discussions focusing in the theme of ,,UN `s role in maintaining international peace and security”. Our choice was determined by the fact that this matter has been one of the main UN purposes since its establishment in 1945 and by its current evolution into a topic of great public interest and concern due to the recently emerging security threats for the rights and freedoms of the people. By maintaining international peace and security in a world where safety challenges have become more complex, the UN makes all its work more effective because by keeping the peace, the Organization can concentrate on solving global issues instead of resolving conflicts on smaller scales. The three main pillars that nowadays sustain the global peace and security are: counter-terrorism, humanitarian affairs and sustainable development.
Through our Academic Conference we invite scholars, researchers and young professionals to present their research work and reflections upon, during the 2-days sessions of the panels, upon the following topics:
The topic aims to deal with the way in which the UN has handled the turmoil caused by terrorism – an affront to the purposes and principles of the UN which undermines peace and security, human rights and sustainable development – and to emphasize where the UN stands on this subject. No country or territory is immune to its impacts as the terrorist groups have shaped our image of violent extremism and the debate on how to address this threat. The spread of terrorism has further aggravated an already unprecedented humanitarian crisis which surpasses the boundaries of any one region and millions of people have fled the territory controlled by terrorists and violent extremist groups. There is a need to adopt a more comprehensive approach which encompasses not only ongoing, essential security-based counter-terrorism measures, but also systematic preventive measures.
The papers should take into consideration case studies, the legal instruments provided by the UN, the state cooperation, the idea of classifying terrorism as an international crime and the creation of an international court in this respect. This panel is meant to outline how terrorism jeopardizes global peace and security and the UN`s efforts to preserve it by implementing the counter-terrorism strategy all over the world.
- Humanitarian affairs:
The topic intends to engage participants into discussions revolving around the greatest challenges of our times: displacement, refugees, civil defense and children`s protection (preventing child recruitment and use, abductions, sexual violence and denial of humanitarian access). The large forced displacements of population is now a global crisis that requires a collective effort by the international community. Record-breaking numbers of refugees and migrants are moving across international borders, fleeing conflict, persecution, poverty and other life-threathening situations. Beyond loss of life, the large displacement of populations has broader implication for the social, economic and political landscape. Addressing humanitarian crises enables us to provide solutions to our most pressing problems and to ensure the saving of lives, the alleviation of suffering and the uphold of humanity in times of tension. Through humanitarian affairs we safeguard individual and collective safety and well-being, contributing to global peace and security. A general climate of insecurity prevents people from humanitarian assistance.
Our goal is to place affected people at the centre of humanitarian action, to analyse how the UN achieves this through its vast system of specialized agencies, funds and programmes and how much of a difference it makes.
- Sustainable development
,,Now, we face the even more daunting task of transforming our vision into action”, Mr. Lykketoft said, underscoring that the ambition of UN Member States will only be realized in a world of peace and security and respect for human rights – “not in a world, where investment in armament and wars more and more absorbs and destroys a huge share of the resources we have committed to invest in sustainable development”.
In an increasingly divided world, one of the primary means of achieving peace is through sustainable development. Considering this aspect, some regions enjoy sustained levels of peace, security and prosperity while the ones who do not, fall into seemingly endless cycles of conflict and violence. The focus cannot be limited to ‘’building peace”, but rather making peace ,,sustainable”.
Participants should take into account the aspects of disarmament and the sustainable development goals. As high levels of armed violence and insecurity have a destructive impact on a country`s development and affect economic growth, we need to place great importance on multilateral disarmament and arms limitation as central to the maintenance of the international peace and security. The aims range from reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons, destroying chemical weapons and strengthening the prohibition against biological weapons to halting the proliferation of landmines, small arms and light weapons. A sustainable development can take place only in and through a culture of peace which is reachable by prohibiting the flow of illicit arms.
The sustainable development goals target to lessen all forms of violence and to work with governments and communities to find lasting solutions to conflict and insecurity. Bearing in mind our theme, the SDGs that should be reflected upon are: partnerships for the goals; peace, justice and strong institutions; reduced inequalities, gender equality, no poverty and good health and well-being. These ones are vital to peacekeeping, contributing to the crafting and progress of the world`s all-encompassing climate of peace and security.
Structure of the conference
The structure of the conference consists of several rounds of panel sessions on the topics already enunciated. Keynote lectures and speeches are to be delivered by experts and professors, who will share their experience with the participants and they will reveal their success stories but also the intricacy of working and dwelling in conflict ridden areas. Furthermore, the participants will have the chance to get better acquainted with each other and share their views during the social activities as well. Accordingly, during the three days of the conference, they shall thrive within an interactive and thought-provoking environment, where both social and professional networking will be possible.
Ban Ki-Moon affirmed that: ,, We will not be successful unless we can harness the idealism, creativity and energy of young people and others who feel disenfranchised. Young people, who constitute the majority of the population in an increasing number of countries today, must be viewed as an asset and must be empowered to make a constructive contribution to the political and economic development of their societies and nations. They represent and untapped source.” In the light of his affirmation, The UN Youth Association of Romania awaits you this spring in Iasi to join the international youth and UN experts to a promising conference, aimed to reveal that, even though the space for moderation and balance is shrinking, the fragile equilibrium of peace and security can be preserved by the constant work carried out by the UN which we aspire to highlight by conducting lectures and panels based on tolerance, knowledge-sharing and cooperation.