NEW YORK (IDN) – The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution on youth, peace and security, which for the first time in its history focuses entirely on the role of young men and women in peace-building and countering violent extremism.
The resolution, sponsored by Jordan, embodies an unprecedented acknowledgment of the urgent need to engage young peace-builders in promoting peace and frustrating extremism. Adopted on December 9, 2015 it also regards the youth and youth-led organizations as important partners in the global efforts to thwart violent extremism and promote lasting peace.
The resolution comes at a time when about 600 million young people are living in fragile and conflict-affected settings and are confronted with the challenge of halting the rise of radicalization and violent extremism, especially among young women and men. The resolution gives a boost to the youth-led peace-building and conflict-prevention interventions to build peaceful communities and underpin democratic, inclusive governance.
The resolution urges Member States to consider ways to increase inclusive representation of youth in decision-making at all levels and to offer mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflict in partnership with young people.
The resolution also responds to the limited opportunities for young people to participate in formal peace processes by calling for the inclusion of youth in peace negotiations and peace-building efforts.
The resolution emphasizes the importance of addressing conditions and factors leading to the rise of radicalization and violent extremism among youth. It also notes the significant role young women and men can play as positive role models in preventing and countering violent extremism.
Commenting on the adoption of Resolution 2250, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, said: “This is a major breakthrough in our collective efforts to change the predominantly negative narrative on youth and recognize the significant role of young people in peace-building.
“Youth have for too long been cast away as either the perpetrators of violence or its victims. With this resolution, the Security Council recognizes the important contributions that young people make in countering violent extremism and supporting peace-building efforts around the world.”
Helen Clark, head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said: “This resolution recognizes the significant role young people will play in how our world adapts to today’s global challenges, including those to peace and security.” She added: “With youth comes energy, innovation, and optimism – if there are supportive environments and opportunities.”
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund said: “This resolution recognizes that it is imperative for us to invest in young people to fulfill their potential and help achieve peace and security.”
He called for transforming the words in this “historic” Security Council resolution into concrete actions on the ground. “UNFPA is committed to continue working in partnership with young people, Member States and other partners to achieve this,” Dr. Osotimehin added.
Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support noted: “With the adoption of SCR 2250, the Security Council is making history. The recognition that young people have a positive and constructive role to play in building sustainable peace and preserving international security will mark a shift in the way the world seeks to end violence and build inclusive and peaceful societies.”
Young women and men have always worked tirelessly at building peace and reconciling their communities, he said, and with this resolution their work gets very much the recognition they deserve.
Young people, youth peace-building organizations and civil society organizations have been calling for years on the UN to establish a global policy framework to engage them in building sustainable peace and preventing extremism.
Most recently this call culminated in the Amman Youth Declaration, adopted in Jordan in August with inputs from over 10,000 young peace-builders at the first-ever Global Forum on Youth, Peace, and Security, outlining the need to leverage institutional support for youth-driven initiatives and programmes.
The significance of youth-driven initiatives was also highlighted at a three-day International Youth Summit on Nuclear Abolition in Hiroshima, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings that razed Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the ground.
Participants in the Summit in August 2015, issued a pledge stating: “We, the Generation of Change, invite you to join us as we raise our collective voice to call for action; we refuse to stand by while nuclear weapons continue to threaten our lives and future generations. Join us, take action and create change!”
As the Generation of Change, they vowed to:
– Continue to educate and empower ourselves in order to better spread this awareness amongst our peers;
– Recognize that diversity in this work is important and work to educate ourselves on how gender impacts disarmament;
– Take action, raise our voices and pursue nuclear abolition in our communities and our countries;
– Share our knowledge about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and the experiences of hibakushas and survivors of nuclear weapons tests; and
– Encourage others to join the nuclear abolition movement and establish a strong unity among all nuclear abolition campaigners.
– Call upon every State to start negotiations on an international treaty for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons;
– Call on our elected representatives to adopt national legislation prohibiting and criminalizing the manufacture, investment in, testing, deployment, threat or use of nuclear weapons.
The pledge was issued at a wider public forum joined by 250 participants at which summit cochairs Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and Anna Ikeda of Soka Gakkai International (SGI) presented the Youth Pledge to Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.
Alhendawi urged, “Let’s be the generation that makes peace possible. This youth summit is sending a strong message to the world, that the youth are for peace and for a nuclear-free-world, and the world must listen.”
Responding to the adoption of Resolution 2250, Gwendolyn S. Myers, head of a youth-led NGO involved in peace-building efforts in Liberia, noted: “A UN Security Council Resolution on Youth, Peace and Security legitimizes the meaningful involvement of young people in peace and security issues and will accelerate the peace consolidation programmes particularly in Liberia, Africa and other parts of the world.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 11 December 2015]
Photo: UN Security Council adopting historic resolution on youth, peace and security. Credit: UN