Dear youth representatives,
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to sincerely thank the governments of Qatar, Finland and Colombia, for hosting this High-Level Conference on Youth Inclusive Peace Processes.
I also want to thank all the co-organizers, including our partners – the Office of the Youth Envoy, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women, Search for Common Ground, the United Network of Young Peacebuilders and my team in DPPA – who have worked so hard over the last few years to bring this event to fruition.
I am happy to see that the conference has produced important tangible outcomes.
First, the Guidelines for Member States will be an important tool in making the Youth, Peace and Security agenda operational at the national level. They build on the experiences of Member States and provide concrete examples of what can be done to translate the YPS agenda into national efforts, policies, and structures.
These Guidelines complement our efforts to strengthen the UN’s internal expertise and capacity on YPS. The Youth, Peace and Security Programming Handbook we launched in 2021 with the Folke Bernadotte Academy provided importance guidance on how to integrate YPS into programmes and in our analytical work.
The Member States guidelines help us understand how to create enabling systems and participation mechanisms and how to integrate YPS into policies, budgets and strategic frameworks. More importantly, the guidelines will help ensure ownership and accelerate national implementation.
Second, the Five-Year Strategy on youth-inclusive peace processes is another critical outcome of this Conference, which provides a clear roadmap to enable peace and mediation processes that are more inclusive and responsive to the concerns and interests of youth.
The strategy builds on the wealth of inspiring work of young women and men on the frontlines of peacebuilding.
These experiences include:
- the establishment of a youth quota for participation in the National Dialogue in Yemen;
- the discussions leading up to the Peace Agreement in Colombia;
- and the role of youth-led organizations in assisting the formal ceasefire monitoring and reporting in the Philippines.
The strategy will help regional and other organizations as well as peace and mediation practitioners to learn from those experiences and adapt traditional models of conflict resolution to more up-to-date approaches that take into account intergenerational relations and forward-looking perspectives.
Lastly, I want to mention the commitments we have heard during the Conference. It is encouraging to see the momentum created by this gathering, and to hear all the pledges made to accelerate implementation of the agenda. To take the implementation to the necessary levels, we will need everyone – youth, Governments, civil society and the international community – to work together.
Colleagues and friends,
We have much to celebrate. But we are all too aware of the barriers that remain, preventing the wider participation and leadership of young women and men in peace processes.
For us at the United Nations, the work of enhancing youth inclusion and participation involves our special political missions, including in Afghanistan, Colombia, Libya, Iraq and Somalia. But we also engage globally, helping make sure the voices and experiences of young peacebuilders are heard and taking into account, including in the deliberations of the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.
As the Secretary-General mentioned in his opening remarks, the Peacebuilding Fund is an important tool to support the implementation of YPS agenda. We will continue to advocate for increased investments in youth-led peacebuilding and will further explore ways to make resources more accessible to youth-led initiatives.
Working with youth and on the Youth, Peace and Security agenda has been one of the most exciting areas of work for me personally, my Department and the United Nations as a whole. We will continue to support the implementation of the YPS agenda, and to scale up our partnerships for and with youth and channel their energy, innovation and activism as agents of change to address the most pressing issues of our times.