The Security Council today underscored the role of youth in preventing and resolving conflict, as well as in building and maintaining peace, encouraging Member States to include young people in decision-making processes across these areas.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2535 (2020), the 15-member organ called on all relevant actors to consider ways to increase the inclusive representation of youth for the prevention and resolution of conflict, as well as in peacebuilding, including when negotiating and implementing peace agreements.
The text, tabled by the Dominican Republic and France, also called for measures to ensure the full, effective and meaningful participation of youth in these processes, recognizing that their marginalization is detrimental to building sustainable peace.
Today’s adoption followed a 27 April open video teleconference meeting titled: “Towards the fifth anniversary of the youth and peace and security agenda: accelerating implementation of resolutions 2250 and 2419” under the Council presidency of the Dominican Republic. (See Press Release SC/14170.)
By the text, the Council encouraged Member States to support and integrate youth into decision-making processes, recognizing their unique role in strengthening the national, local and community-based capacities in conflict and post-conflict situations to prepare for and respond to increasingly frequent, severe weather events and natural hazards, as well as public health challenges that affect young people’s life and their future, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, the Council encouraged the Peacebuilding Commission to continue to support the important role that young people play and the participation and views of youth-led organizations, in planning and stabilization efforts in peacebuilding and sustaining peace.
The Council called on Member States, regional organizations and the United Nations system, including peacekeeping and special political missions, to coordinate and increase their engagement in the implementation of resolutions 2250 (2015), 2419 (2018) and 2535 (2020).
In this regard, the Council encouraged the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth to promote coordination and coherence of youth, peace and security activities across the United Nations system while tracking implementation of resolutions 2250 (2015), 2419 (2018) and 2535 (2020).
The Council requests the Secretary-General to develop a dedicated guidance on the protection of young people, including those who engage with the United Nations in the context of peace and security and as part of the new Common Agenda on Protection for the United Nations system.
The representative of the Dominican Republic said he was pleased to see firm support for the resolution and the spirit of compromise Council members exhibited. Noting that 2020 marks the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the first resolution on youth, peace and security, as well as the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations founding, he noted the need to listen to and work with young people, who are missing from processes for peace and development.
“They are the ones who have to live with the consequences of our action or lack of our action,” he emphasized, calling for the appointment of focal points for the youth, peace and security agenda within the Organization and at a regional level for the implementation of this agenda, which must also be linked to the women, peace and security agenda. Among other things, the resolution requests the Secretary-General to submit a biennial report to the Council on the implementation of resolutions 2250 (2015), 2419 (2018) and 2535 (2020).
Delivering a statement on behalf of Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Tunisia, the representative of Niger said that five years after the Council for the first time recognized the specific situation of youth in armed conflict, still one in four young people is affected by violence and conflict. Young people also lack educational and economic opportunities; their human rights are violated and curtailed, even more so in times of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Continuing, he said that it is crucial that the Council not only recognizes the specific situation of young people, but also leverages their role and potential for preventing conflicts, building peaceful and inclusive societies and effectively addressing humanitarian needs. That can be attained by strengthening the role of young peacebuilders, especially women, engaging youth in humanitarian response, inviting youth organizations to brief the Council, and considering the specific situation of youth in the organ’s deliberations and actions.
He welcomed that the resolution sets the basis for a continued engagement of the Council in the youth, peace and security agenda, but expressed regret that the organ did not find consensus on recognizing more explicitly a reality that young people in conflict are affected by climate change. “They will feel the consequences of climate change most acutely,” he said.
The Russian Federation’s delegate said he voted in favour of the text although negotiations were far from easy and there were conceptual differences among delegations on the role of the Council on the matter. Penholders managed to strike a balance on a wide spectrum of issues to allow for a unanimous adoption of the resolution. His delegation expects that future discussions will be comprehensive in nature. When it comes to youth participation in peace negotiations and peacebuilding, the Council must bear in mind the importance of measures to prevent young people from falling victim to extremist and terrorist ideologies.
The meeting started at 10:19 a.m. and ended 10:35 a.m.