In 2015, the UN Security Council adopted landmark resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, acknowledging for the first time the “important role youth can play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and as a key aspect of the sustainability, inclusiveness and success of peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.” Security Council resolution 2250 set the framework around five pillars: Participation, Protection, Prevention, Partnerships and Disengagement & Reintegration, highlighting the role that young women and men play in the promotion of international peace and security. Additionally, Security Council resolution 2250 mandated the first independent study on youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution, titled “The Missing Peace: Independent Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security.”
In 2018, UN Security Council resolution 2419 called for the meaningful and full inclusion of young people in negotiating and implementing peace agreements, as well as for more youth inclusivity at decision-making levels. The resolution requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of both Security Council resolutions.
In 2020, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2535, which for the first time mentions the implementation established steps of the Youth Peace and Security (YPS) agenda UN peace operations settings.
"…calls 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), to ensure dedicated capacities with regard to youth, peace and security."
Also in 2020, the Security Council for the first time recognized in resolution 2553 link between Security Sector Reform and Youth Peace and Security, acknowledging that youth should be engaged in peacebuilding efforts to reform country security sectors.
How does UN Peacekeeping support the Youth, Peace and Security agenda?
- Through its work engaging civil society actors in Mali in support of the peace process, in 2019, MINUSMA strengthened the capacity of 150 youth civil society organizations across Mali, leading to the establishment of ‘Peace Ambassadors’, youth who are engaged in strengthening local governance, civic responsibility and commitment to consolidating lasting peace in Mali. MINUSMA also invites Malian youth organizations as keynote speakers to the annual open days on Women, Peace, and Security, in order to provide women and youth organizations the ability to share their peacebuilding experiences with the Government, MINUSMA, and each other. Some of these organizations or associations specifically represent the interests of young women.
- Meaningful participation of young people in security sector reform is central to the building of inclusive, effective and accountable security institutions. In Mali, MINUSMA advanced the inclusion of young people in security sector reform efforts by supporting the establishment of a youth forum . The “Platform for Youth Engagement in SSR and DDR” mobilizes and engages hundreds of young people in the implementation of the peace agreement as well as in the countering and prevention of violent extremism.
- UNMAS supports the implementation of community micro-projects contributing to stabilization in support of mine action activities such as explosive ordnance risk education and victim assistance. From July 2019 to June 2020, 22 communities in central and northern Mali were supported by UNMAS with the implementation of micro-projects with over 130 youth involved.
- In 2018, UNMISS created the first juvenile reformatory centre in Juba, South Sudan. The Justice and Corrections Service (JCS), in cooperation with partner organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has supported the renovation and opening of juvenile reformatory centres, providing a more conducive environment for reintegration into society and preventing their recruitment into violent groups.
- UNPOL, in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organization for Non-Violence and the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS), launched the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) Network in Juba in November 2018. The PCRC provides a common platform for young people to discuss local security issues and devise workable solutions, which are then implemented jointly by the community and relevant local police stations.
- In May 2020, UNFICYP launched Youth Champions for Peace and Environment. Through the programme, 24 young persons from across the island, ages 18-29, were selected to undertake a challenging training programme for which the mission supported their own environmental campaigns on the island. The goal of the programme was youth empowerment and peacebuilding, given the universality of the environmental challenges faced not only on the island but also in the region. The programme provided opportunities for participants to get to know their peers who live on the opposite side of the divide and foster collaboration and understanding among them.
- The mission has supported the inclusion of youth into local peace agreements and conflict-resolution platforms in Kasai Province, D.R. Congo. In March 2020, MONUSCO ensured the representation of 12 members (seven women and five men) of the “Programme d’Aide Communautaire pour la Jeunesse (PAC-J)” in community consultations in the five territories of the Kasai Province. PAC-J members consulted young people, registered their needs, and encouraged them to participate in the peace process. Consequently, 40 young people, including 24 women, were represented in the peace process and in decision-making through the signing of the Acts of Commitments in the five territories of the Kasai province, while 41 youths, 20 of them young women, were integrated into the Intercommunity Platform for Permanent and Inclusive Dialogue (BUPOLE), locally set up to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts in the Kasai province.
- In Kosovo, a project by the Justice and Corrections Service (JCS) of UNMIK aimed to reduce the backlog of cases before the Basic Court of Mitrovica through internship opportunities for young lawyers from different communities. The project contributed to the reduction of more than 3,500 backlog cases, and enabled young lawyers to acquire practical experience on legal aid matters.
- In the Central African Republic, the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section (DDRS) supports the establishment of a Local Committee in each of the target locations where MINUSCA’s Community Violence Reduction (CVR) activities take place. Local Committees are comprised of representatives of local authorities, women's and youth associations, religious leaders, customary chiefs, as well as representatives of armed groups. Local Committees, in particularly youth, play a key role in the selection of programme beneficiaries, in the identification of viable community projects, as well as in the monitoring of projects implementation. Representatives of youth associations contribute to the identification of beneficiaries and explain the CVR programme to motivate young people to renounce violence and strengthen social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. Representatives of youth associations also play a role in the identification of socio-economic reinsertion opportunities tailored to the aspirations of young people and in consideration of the local labour market’s employment opportunities.
- In line with its mandate, MINUSCA continued to support the government to implement a CVR programme to complement disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) efforts. MINUSCA expanded its implementation to eight locations, in partnership with IOM and UNOPS. As part of the programme, the beneficiaries are combatants non-eligible for DDR, as well as youth at risk and other community members. The CVR projects focus on participants between 18 and 35 years of age, reflecting the definition of “youth” in Central African Republic. CVR activities also support a quota of a minimum of 20% women participants per location.
- CVR activities have offered economic opportunities for youth, preventing recruitment from armed groups. Since January 2016, more than 22,000 beneficiaries in nine priority locations across the country have been supported.
- In September 2019 in Bangui, MINUSCA organized training sessions with the National Youth Council and provided logistical and financial support for the Council members to travel to Bria and Birao in order to establish prefectural youth focal points. The Mission also held capacity-building workshops with 90 religious leaders and provided logistical support to ensure the participation of young people from Sibut, Mabiki, Bambari, Kembi, Kaga-Bandoro, and Berberati.
- MINURSO supports UNHCR’s Confidence Building Measures programme, wherein the UNHCR Western Sahara Operation has been developing the capacities of Sahrawi youth directly and through NGO partners in culture and identity. Projects underway have engaged Sahrawi refugee youth by recognizing their assets and talents, to develop their capacity and self-esteem. This approach is designed to build leadership skills and strengthen cultural identity through support to a network of institutions in the Tindouf refugee camps, such as the Sahrawi cultural museum, art schools (music, film and fine arts), and youth centres. Activities include skills development training for artists, support to various cultural events and festivals, university scholarships, and artist exchanges and exhibitions.
- UNIFIL is supporting locally-led initiatives that actively promote non-violent communication, involving youth of different cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. In that context, a safe space was created in the city of Tyre (south Lebanon) run by the Tiro for Arts local association that has opened the space for youth to gather through art, music, self-expression, theatre and promoting culture of peace and tolerance.