The Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway - applaud the Dominican Republic for convening an open meeting on youth, peace and security. We appreciate your efforts to keep this important issue on the agenda of the Security Council and for facilitating written statements from non-council members. We also welcome the participation of the young civil society briefers in this new format. The voices of civil society and youth-led organisations continue to bring vital input into the work and considerations of this Council, including through the COVID-19 pandemic.
We thank the Secretary-General for his report on youth, peace and security. The report shows that we have made progress across several pillars supporting the meaningful participation of youth in peace and security issues. However, we emphasize the need for continued focus on the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda to maintain momentum.
Since the adoption of resolutions 2250 and 2419, we see more consistent reporting on youth-specific issues to the Security Council. Together with Jordan, the Nordic countries have consistently reported on the role of youth through the Group of Friends of Preventing Violent Extremism. We encourage countries to report on the contribution and situation of young people in peace and security efforts, with special attention on marginalized groups such as young women. We also welcome a measure mandating the Secretariat to regularly report on the Youth, Peace and Security agenda.
Young women and men have both the wisdom and commitment to help pivot societies towards sustainable peace and security, and they are a positive force in this regard. However, systematic exclusion and many structural barriers for youth engagement and participation remain, even within this Council. The Secretary-General’s report offers interesting ideas for stimulating broader participation of young people in conflict resolution, mediation, peace and political processes.
In this regard, relevant Security Council mission mandates should include language requiring the meaningful participation of youth in peace and security efforts, including in the mediation, monitoring and implementation of ceasefires as well as peace agreement negotiations. Mandates should also include age- and gender-sensitive conflict analysis.
The Nordic countries have a long tradition of youth engagement. We support a range of initiatives at both national and international level, including youth-led initiatives that support young peacebuilders in conflict contexts. For instance, Norway and Finland are key partners of the African Union’s flagship initiative, Silencing the Guns in Africa, which aims to promote peace in conflict-affected areas. We recognise the efforts that the African Union is taking to involve African young women and men in peace processes, and highlight the importance of similar efforts made in the Middle East and Latin-America. At the global level, Sweden, among others, is a key partner in the institutionalisation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda within the UN system.
The safety of young people who speak up in their societies is a source of major concern. The Secretary-General’s report includes important provisions on the protection of young mediators, peacebuilders and human right defenders. We stress the importance of respecting and protecting human rights, and we reiterate that Member States have an important role in preventing abuse committed against these groups.
The Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth plays an important role in promoting the protection of aspiring peacebuilders and human rights defenders. We hope that the framework for the effective protection of young peacebuilders is one of several deliverables that the UN Youth Strategy launched by the Office of the Envoy on Youth, will help bring about.
Finally supporting the youth, peace and security agenda requires continued commitment across other areas, such as education. The Nordic countries will continue our consistent engagement to directly and indirectly empower young women and men as agents of change for lasting peace.