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Joint Nordic Statement at the UN Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on Youth, Peace and Security

09.12.2020  20:25

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Your Excellencies,

Members of the Security Council,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, including Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Denmark.

Excellencies,

Today marks the day when the UN Security Council unanimously formally recognised the important role that young people play in preventing and resolving conflict and violent extremism, and in realising peace and security from the local to the global level. Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) was truly a milestone for all of our efforts towards achieving sustainable peace.

Since then, the agenda for increased youth inclusion has gained more momentum, often as a result of youth’s own actions and demands. Young people are increasingly recognised as peacebuilders, agents of change in preventing, mitigating, and resolving conflict in their communities.

But there is still a long way to go. Youth have the right to both participate and to be heard in matters regarding their own lives. Still, young people continue to encounter structural barriers and societal limitations to their participation in peace and security efforts, and more widely in political, economic and cultural life. In addition, the specific needs and vulnerabilities of youth in armed conflict must be recognised and addressed. We would like to highlight the gender perspective and safe access to education as key elements in responding to the protection needs of youth and enabling their participation. The UN and its Member States must renew and strengthen efforts to secure the implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda on the ground.

Today, we must both take stock and look ahead. Member States and the Security Council must work to ensure that the positive momentum continues by ensuring full implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda and further accelerating the involve­ment of young people in preventing conflict as well as shaping and maintaining peaceful resolu­tion of conflicts.

Excellencies,

We commend the African Union and the African Union Envoy on Youth, Ms Aya Chebbi, for the comprehensive efforts to mobilise the participation and engagement of youth in the implementation of the flagship program “Silencing the Guns” and the “10-Year Implementation Plan For The Continental Framework On Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) 2020-2029”. We also welcome a stronger partnership between the UN and the African Union in moving this agenda forward. 

The Nordic countries have a long tradition of meaningful youth engagement – also when it comes to the peace and security agenda. Collectively, the Nordic countries support a range of youth-led initiatives at the national and international level: One example is our support to the Global Community Engagement & Resilience Fund that promotes young people as active leaders in building and sustaining peace and preventing violent extremism in their communities.

We welcome the innovative approaches to youth engagement in peace and security processes that some Member States have undertaken, and encourage other Member States to follow example and accelerate progress towards shaping their own policies, tools, projects and programmes to better accommodate the voices of young people in peace and security processes. Providing predictable and flexible funding is key to achieve this.

Finally, Your Excellencies,

As has been repeatedly established, young people play an important, positive role in their communities before, during and after the eruption of conflict. At the 5th anniversary of UNSCR 2250, we wish to see the agenda further strengthened through especially three measures: Firstly, through Member States’ accelerated action to operationalise the resolutions on YPS at the local and national level, for example through developing national action plans, roadmaps or guidelines. Secondly, through the Security Council’s continuous incorporation of youth’s perspectives, including by mandates that provide for effective participation of youth in peace and security efforts. Thirdly and finally, through a strengthened focus on protection of young mediators, peacebuilders and human rights defenders.

Thank you.

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