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Briefing by Jayathma Wickramanayake, Envoy of the Secretary-General on Youth, on youth, peace and security, during the Security Council Open VTC.

She dedicated her statement to all the young people who are putting their communities ahead of them-selves, within war zones, refugee camps, favelas and settlements showcasing grit and leadership that sometimes the world fails to see in political leaders.

This year marks the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the Security Council Resolution 2250, the Youth Envoy expressed that this is an opportune moment to take stock of the Youth Peace and Security Agenda.

Based on the report, Wickramanayake briefed the Council on the key recommendations which echoed the voices of young people who she has interacted with.

She reiterated that meaningful participation of all young people towards building sustainable peace should be ensured. She said, “participation is recognized as a human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. All young people have the right to participate in the conduct of public affairs and thus are entitled to rights and freedoms.”

The Youth Envoy continued, “such participation encompasses a wide range of actions, from formal participation in political, electoral or peace processes to informal participation at the community level and in digital spaces. Enabling spaces should be created for young people, where they are seen and respected as citizens with equal rights, equal voices and equal influence.”

Noting that young people believe that strong mechanisms should be developed to protect young activists and peace builders, the Youth Envoy called on Member States support to “facilitate an inclusive, safe, enabling and gender-responsive environment in which young peacebuilders and young human rights defenders are recognized and provided with adequate support and protection to carry out their work independently and without undue interference.”

Concluding her speech, Wickramanayake reiterated “if the UN and the Security Council fail to translate agreed Resolutions into action; in a nutshell if this agenda do not be brought down from a global policy level to a regional and country level with programmatic action; young people will lose opportunities to meaningfully participate and most importantly, their trust in institutions and multilateralism will further erode.”

The Youth Envoy stated, “we cannot afford to lose the trust of young people, the greatest asset and greatest hope we have for a better future.”

She urged the Council to “put young people at the heart of its efforts to bring global peace and security.”

She said, “young people are ready and up for the challenge. The question is – are national, regional and international actors ready to bridge the inter-generational divide?”


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