On 11 December 2020, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) held a Virtual Conference with young people and students, entitled “Inspiring a new generation of youth: women leaders in disarmament share their experiences, challenges and recommendations with future generations”.

The virtual conference was held as part of the celebrations organized by UNLIREC for the tenth anniversary of Resolution 65/69 on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, passed by the United Nations General Assembly on 8 December 2010, as well as for the first anniversary of Resolution 74/64 on Youth, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, passed on 11 December 2019. These resolutions recognize the valuable contributions that both women and young people can make to advance the international disarmament agenda.

The event served as a virtual platform to introduce young people in the region to the stories and reflections of women in the region contributing to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, as reflected in the Forces of Change IV publication, launched on December 8, 2020.

The virtual conference also brought the youth of the region closer to the Youth4Disarmament initiative, launched in 2019 by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, whose main objective is to connect young people with professional experts to learn about the challenges in international security, the work of the United Nations and how to actively participate in these issues.

Through pre-recorded questions from young people who participated in the session, women leaders from the region in these areas discussed their experiences and reflections in facilitating Resolution 65/69 in 2010, the role of the scientific community in the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the role of the region – Latin America and the Caribbean – in international disarmament efforts, the specific contributions of women in these areas, and recommendations for promoting these issues through education. Other questions from young people, mostly women, also explored the link between arms control and gender-based violence, public policies to reduce the use of conventional arms in contexts of youth violence, and control of new technologies for military purposes.

The Virtual Conference was open to the public and was attended by more than 60 young people from the region, as well as members of the public interested in this topic.

This activity forms part of a series of activities that UNLIREC carries out to promote the regional implementation of Resolution 65/69 on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control. This initiative was made possible thanks to the funding from the Government of Canada and the Government of Sweden.

Watch the Virtual Conference here.