Ireland Statement to UNSC on Youth, Peace & Security
Statement27 April 2020
Towards the fifth Anniversary of the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda: Accelerating Implementation of resolutions 2250 and 2419
UN Security Council Open VTC
April 27, 2020
Statement by Ireland
Thank you for organising this open VTC on the fifth anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 2250 on the Youth, Peace and Security agenda. Ireland fully aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union. We in Ireland know from our own experience that peacebuilding is an intergenerational process. Young people remain at the centre of our efforts to build peace on our Island and we are grateful to have had the input of Ireland’s UN Youth Delegates to this statement.
Worldwide, a shocking one in four young people are affected by violence or armed conflict. Just as it is no longer acceptable to exclude women, we can no longer tolerate the exclusion and marginalization of young people from peace and security discussions. The UN Security Council can and should foster the active, systematic and meaningful participation of young people in peace and security efforts. The contribution of young people to peace needs to be fully reflected in reports to the Security Council. UN mission mandates should include language requiring young people’s meaningful participation in peace and security efforts, including in mediation, monitoring and implementation of ceasefires, and peace agreement negotiations.
Too often we see harmful stereotypes about youth, whereby the role of young men and boys is reduced to combatants and young women and girls are portrayed as victims. But globally, countless young people are building and sustaining peace in their countries. In Irish, our native language, we have the saying ‘Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí’ – praise the youth and they will prosper. In this sense, we must encourage the inclusive representation of youth in the prevention and resolution of conflict and peacebuilding, ensuring investment to give youth the tools they need to lead and engage in the political or civic space.
Ireland is concerned by the threats many young peacebuilders and activists are facing. We urge the UN to implement the Secretary-General’s recommendation to develop dedicated guidance on the protection of young people, including those who engage with the Organization in the context of peace and security, to protect young peacebuilders and human rights defenders. Furthermore, strengthening the role of youth-promoting UN entities, such as the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, and countering the dangerous shrinking space of civil society is vital to support the needs and rights of young people. Together, governing institutions and youth civil society movements can create long-term dialogue and peacebuilding.
Ireland knows that young people are central to the nexus of peace and security, development, and human rights. Their participation is critical for the achievement of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. It is also vital for the promotion of human rights, and wider peace and security agendas, such as those on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and Children and Armed Conflict. Ireland’s third National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security recognises the importance of the inclusion of youth voices and commits to supporting youth engagement and intergenerational dialogue and the engagement and empowerment of young women and girls.
Ireland calls for a broader, more inclusive understanding of peace and security. It is time to move beyond the understanding of peace as just absence of violence and armed conflict. The risks and challenges which young people face today, including relating to physical and mental health, discrimination, racism, hate speech, marginalization, inequalities, climate change, migration, unemployment and financial insecurity and much more, are often root causes and drivers of violence and conflict. Today, as we face the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing how pre-existing patterns of inequality and exclusion can exacerbate and deepen crises.
However, it is the midst of challenges like the COVID-19 crisis that we see young people at the heart of solutions. For example, in Burkina Faso, young people are initiating local awareness campaigns to support the most affected and vulnerable people in their communities and positioning themselves as actors for positive change. Much is to be gained from investing in the resilience and resourcefulness of young people.
Five years from the adoption of Resolution 2250, much remains to be done and Ireland is committed to advancing the Youth, Peace and Security agenda as a candidate for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the term 2021-2022. We urge States to join the Secretary-General’s call to build on the recommendations of the Independent Study “The Missing Peace”, which Ireland is proud to have supported. Inadequate resourcing remains a challenge to the implementation of resolutions 2250 (2015) and 2419 (2018) and accessible resourcing, in particular the improved structuring and implementation of funding, for youth-led and youth-focused organisations must be made available. For these reasons, Ireland joins the Secretary-General in his recommendation on regular reporting on youth, peace and security, to track the progress of Resolutions 2250 (2015) and 2419 (2418) backed by a global set of indicators that could serve to measure their implementation.
“This violence has a very negative effect on us, but it has equipped us with knowledge to prevent it from reoccurring”. This quote from “The Missing Peace” study exemplifies the determination of young people to build a better society for themselves and for future generations to come. Ireland believes young people must be part of peace and security discussions, because they are an essential part of the solution. Only by ensuring that the voices of young people are incorporated into our work here can we make the progress they deserve.