Opening remarks by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations on youth, peace and security during the Security Council Open VTC.
"I welcome this opportunity to present my first report on youth, peace and security.
Since this report was issued, our world has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Young people are feeling the impact acutely, from lost jobs to family stress, mental health and other hardships.
Over 1.54 billion children and youth are out-of-school.
Young refugees, displaced persons and others caught up in conflict or disaster now face even more vulnerability.
Persons with disabilities may face new hindrances in access to the services and support to which they have a right.
Even before the current crisis, young people were facing enormous challenges.
The numbers are startling:
One of every five young people was already not in education, training or employment.
One of every four is affected by violence or conflict.
And every year, 12 million girls become mothers while they themselves are still children.
These frustrations and, frankly, failures to address them by those in power today, fuel declining confidence in political establishments and institutions.
And when such a cycle takes hold, it is all too easy for extremist groups to exploit the anger and despair, and the risk of radicalization climbs.
We can already see such groups taking advantage of the COVID-19 lockdowns, intensifying their efforts on social media to spread hatred and to recruit young people who may be spending more time at home and on line.
Yet, despite these hurdles and despite these risks, young people are still finding ways to engage, support each other, and to demand and drive change.
We see it in our battle against COVID-19.
In Colombia, Ghana, Iraq and in several other countries, young peacebuilders and humanitarians are delivering supplies to frontline health workers and people in need. They are keeping communication open within communities to maintain social cohesion despite physical distancing. They are supporting my call for a global ceasefire.
We see it every week in our battle against climate change. The Fridays for Future movement continues, because young people know that their prospects and aspirations are at stake.
And, as illustrated in this report, we see youth engagement in their efforts to bring about lasting peace and security.
Just five years after the adoption of Security Council resolution 2250, encouraging steps are being taken to enable young people to play their essential role in building peaceful and just societies".
Full Remarks [as delivered]: www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2020-04-27/secretary-generals-remarks-virtual-security-council-meeting-the-maintenance-of-international-peace-and-security-youth-peace-and-security-delivered