reprinted with permission from United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY)
December 11th, 2015
At UNOY Peacebuilders, we have been advocating for a strengthened policy framework in the shape of a Security Council Resolution around youth, peace and security since 2012. With the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2250, let’s take a look back over the process of the past years and tell the story of this journey.
In 2012, we restarted our Youth Advocacy Team with the support of Cordaid. The Youth Advocacy Team is made up of young peacebuilders from around the world, bringing youth voices on peace and security to high-level policy makers. It had previously been active in 2005-2007 successfully advocating for a Culture of Peace at the UN level but by 2012 the team had lain dormant for four years.
The Youth Advocacy Team noted that in the World Program of Action on Youth the UN General Assembly had recognized the importance of involving youth in peacebuilding, but also that this had not been implemented in reality. How could the international community be pushed to actually involve young people in peace and security?
After consultations with key partners, most notably Search For Common Ground, we decided to start pushing for this gap to be filled through the most relevant type of international policy document: A UN Security Council resolution, an idea originally proposed by the Finnish UN association.
The Youth Advocacy Team carried out its first mission to UN headquarters in July 2013 to meet with member states, hosted by World VisionThe goal of the meetings was to start to change the mindsets of policymakers: To stop seeing young people as a security threat, and to start seeing them as positive agents of change. During these meetings the team introduced the idea of a UN Security Council resolution to permanent missions. At the time, there was little support for the idea.
Policy change is not something you can achieve on your own. Resolution 2250 is more than anything the success of the joint efforts of a number of different actors working in partnership. During this first mission, we started building these partnerships by getting in touch with the IANYD Working Group on Youth and Peacebuilding, and met with Saji Prelis of Search for Common Ground and Ravi Karkara of UN Habitat to strategize for a strengthened policy framework on youth, peace and security. UNOY Peacebuilders is today one of the co-chairs of the Working Group along with the UN Peacebuilding Support Office and Search for Common Ground.
Building on these discussions, we wrote a report on Agreed UN Language on Youth, Peace and Security, to showcase the need for a strengthened policy framework on youth and peacebuilding. The team also built relations with the UN Youth Envoy, Ahmad Alhendawi, who has been an essential supporter of our work opening doors for youth voices in the UN system.
This first mission was followed up by a series of similar missions in 2013, 2014 and 2015, during which the team met with over 50 government representatives and UN officials and organised a series of side events in cooperation with a number of partners.
The ball really got rolling in April 2015 when the UN Security Council, chaired by the Crown Prince of Jordan, debated the role of youth in countering violent extremism and building peace. In a briefing to the Council ahead of the debate, Scott Atran highlighted the work in Pakistan of Gulalai and Saba Ismail, who have been members of our Youth Advocacy Team and International Steering Group.
This debate was essential in bringing high-level attention to one of our key messages, and one of the key ideas underlying UN Security Council resolution 2250: That young people are central actors in building peace, and that their work needs recognition and support.
Jordan’s leadership continued when it hosted the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security, co-organised by UNOY Peacebuilders, Search for Common Ground, the UN Peacebuilding Support Office, the UN Envoy on Youth’s office,UNFPA and UNDP. The key outcome of the forum was the Amman Youth Declaration on Youth, Peace and Security, which was coordinated by UNOY Peacebuilders and brought together the voices of over 10.000 young people. Importantly, the declaration calls for an international policy framework – preferably a Security Council Resolution – to be adopted. At the forum, we publically handed over the declaration to the Foreign Minister of Jordan, who promised to bring the declaration to the Security Council.
The passing UN Security Council resolution 2250 is a huge victory for thousands of young peacebuilders globally, actively building peace in their communities from the ground up. Some of them have participated directly in the advocacy efforts for resolution 2250 in conversations with international policy makers, others have been highlighting the work of their peers locally, and others still contributed to the Amman Youth Declaration. These quiet heroes are the people who made UN Security Council Resolution 2250.
Resolution 2250 is the result of persistent and strategic youth-led advocacy, and of a close partnership with key allies – including the UN Envoy on Youth, Search for Common Ground, UN Peacebuilding Support Office, UNFPA, UNDP and World Vision, and of course the strong leadership by the Jordanian government on the issue.
Finally, we would not be where we are without the great support Cordaid has provided to our advocacy program, investing in bringing youth voices to the global conversation on peace and security.
For more information, contact Matilda Flemming (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sölvi Karlsson (email@example.com).