World leaders renew commitment to “Youth, Peace, and Security” agenda
At the virtual High-Level Global Conference on Youth-Inclusive Peace Processes, more than 130 young peacebuilders from 77 countries joined discussions over two days with a diverse range of representatives from Governments, civil society, academia, and multilateral institutions to explore opportunities and build partnerships for decision-makers to support youth-led and youth-inclusive peace efforts.
“A holistic approach to preventing conflicts and peacebuilding is needed — one that integrates peace and security with issues such as gender, climate and human rights. Young people are already making these interlinkages and leading by example. From monitoring ceasefires to defending democracy to taking climate action, young people have been innovating to mobilize broader constituencies and to create solutions,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
At the conference, a High-level Joint Statement emphasizing the need for accelerated implementation of the Youth, Peace, and Security agenda around the world was launched by Government representatives of Colombia, Finland, and Qatar. The event also featured the launch of a ‘Guide for Public Officials’ in support of country-level operationalization of the Youth, Peace & Security agenda, as well as a first-of-its-kind Five-year Strategic Action Plan on strengthening youth-inclusive peace processes building on recommendations put forth by key stakeholders working in the space.
“Young people around the world are a critical catalyst when it comes to building more peaceful and resilient communities. It’s time we more adequately invested in the efforts of young peacebuilders, to ensure they have meaningful opportunities to contribute to inclusive peace processes,” said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.
With a view towards ensuring that young voices can shape ongoing as well as future peace processes, the conference built on the global policy paper WE ARE HERE: An Integrated Approach to Youth-Inclusive Peace Processes, and served as an official follow-up to the International Symposium on Youth Participation in Peace Processes in Helsinki which took place in 2019.
“We affirm the need for an inclusive approach to peace, whereby women and young people have ownership of peace processes,” emphasized H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar. "This conference has demonstrated that we need a whole-of-society approach and that we must work together to create fairer, more inclusive, peaceful, and sustainable societies.”
”The two outcome documents take the agenda several steps forward and implementing them is critical to ensuring further progress on this important agenda, particularly at the country level,” said H.E. Pekka Haavisto the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
H.E. María Juliana Ruiz, First Lady of Colombia underscored, “The national and international authorities must avail youth’s capacity and active participation, while young people have to use their powerful voices and their innovative ideas to be part of the solutions.
During his closing remarks, young peacebuilder Mohammad Yahya Qanie from Afghanistan highlighted, “While we have strong and clear UN Security Council Resolutions on youth, peace and security, there is still a need for governments to adopt action plans at national and regional levels; a plan not only on paper but also mandated into viable and ambitious actions with specific time-frames and milestones.”
The Global Conference is a joint initiative of the Governments of the State of Qatar, Finland, and Colombia, as well as co-organized by the United Nations Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth (OSGEY) and Search for Common Ground (SFCG) in partnership with the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA/PBSO), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Education Above All (EAA), and the United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY).