European Regional Consultation Forum on the Progress Study of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security

From September 25 – 27, the European Regional Consultation Forum on the Progress Study of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security took place in Brussels. As per invitation of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Polis 180 member Julian took part in the consultation forum, where he fed the insights and experiences of Polis 180’s previous engagement with the topic into the discussions and presented recommendations for the progress study.

UNSCR 2250

In December 2015, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS). This groundbreaking resolution acknowledges the positive contribution of young people in preventing conflict, transforming violence and sustaining peace. It identifies five pillars of action – participation, protection, prevention, partnerships and disengagement and reintegration – and urges member states to include young people and their voices in decision-making and peace processes at all levels. The Security Council also mandates the Secretary General of the United Nations to “carry out a progress study on the youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution, in order to recommend effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels”.

The Consultation Forum

Within the framework of the Progress Study, a series of regional consultations have been conducted in all regions of the world with selected young people active in the field of peace and security. The consultations aim to provide regional youth perspectives on peace and security, gather inputs for the progress study and develop an agenda for the promotion of youth peacebuilding.

The European consultation on YPS concluded the series of 7 regional consultations. It gathered young peacebuilders from all parts of Europe, which produced an insightful discussion on internal and external European challenges in terms of peace and security and the myriad roles of youth within it. Despite the broader content-related topics of migration, violent extremism and populism, discussions also evolved around issues of inequalities, generational conflicts or peace education. Representatives from conflict-affected regions, including Northern Ireland, Cyprus or the Balkans, presented innovative youth driven initiatives to conflict transformation, such as youth entrepreneurship, and the challenges they face. Furthermore, the participants showed a strong awareness of critical issues concerning representation and inclusivity, not only about youth in peace and security in general, but specifically with regards to their own privileged status. This was reflected in the recommendations, which included mechanisms for “harder to reach constituencies” and gave emphasis to youth representation and participation in institutional set-ups as well as decision-making concerning peace and security at all levels. Altogether, the discussions and ideas reflected the transformative potential of young people as positive changes agents in peace and security.

In line with the spirit of partnerships envisioned in the Resolution 2250, the recommendations were constantly discussed with representatives from Member States, European and UN institutions as well as Civil Society Organizations such as the Anna Lindh Foundation, World Vision and Search for Common Ground. The results from the regional consultations will feed into the Progress Study, planned to be published in 2018.

Polis 180 and YPS

Since July 2016, the Program Area Peace Support of Polis 180’s Peace and Security Program has been working on the topic of YPS with a special focus on violent conflicts and peace process. As part of the PeaceLab 2016 process, Polis 180 organised a workshop, published on the PeaceLab Blog and released a video on YPS. The result has been the inclusion of 2250 and YPS issues in the German Government’s Guidelines on Crisis Prevention, Conflict Management and Peacebuilding. Youth also constitutes a major aspect of other activities in the program such as the mediation series or the work on urbanization and violent conflicts.

Polis 180 stays tuned on the topic. Contact Polis 180’s Peace Support heads to get involved!

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