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Youth, Peace and Security: Vote on Resolution

Tomorrow morning (6 June), the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution on youth, peace and security under the agenda item “maintenance of international peace and security.” The adoption follows the 23 April open debate on this issue, convened during the Peruvian presidency (S/PV.8241). Peru and Sweden, co-penholders on the draft resolution, circulated the draft days prior to the debate and have been leading negotiations on the text since then. It appears that the negotiations were difficult, and it is unclear whether there will be a unanimous adoption.

The present draft will be the second resolution to be adopted on youth, peace and security, following resolution 2250 of 9 December 2015. Resolution 2250 recognised the contribution of youth in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and warned against the rise of radicalisation and violent extremism amongst youth.

The draft in blue highlights the importance of a comprehensive approach to peacebuilding and sustaining peace and reaffirms the important role that youth and youth-led civil society can play in these efforts. It recognises the role youth can play in conflict prevention and in building a culture of peace, a major theme of the progress study on youth, peace and security that was mandated by resolution 2250 and finalised earlier this year. The draft further recommends that the Peacebuilding Commission include “in its discussions and advice, ways to engage youth meaningfully in national efforts to build and sustain peace.” It also “urges the Secretary-General and his Special Envoys…to facilitate the equal and full participation of youth at decision-making levels, paying particular attention to the inclusion of young women.”

A key element of the text is its focus on the importance of the Council staying informed of the role of youth in peace and security issues. Along these lines, the Council expresses “its intention, where appropriate, to invite civil society, including youth-led organizations” to brief it in country-specific and relevant thematic cases. It further requests the Secretary-General, where appropriate, to consider in his reporting to the Council “information on the progress made towards the participation of youth in peace processes.”

There appear to have been opposing views on the draft. For example, China and Russia expressed the view that youth, peace and security is a thematic issue not directly relevant to the agenda of the Security Council. It appears that they considered this issue to be more appropriately addressed in other UN bodies. Russia was also reportedly uncomfortable with the focus on peacebuilding and sustaining peace in the draft resolution, preferring the language of resolution 2250 which focused on countering violent extremism among youth. Furthermore, it seems that Ethiopia advocated strengthening the language related to national ownership and was concerned that the resolution addressed issues that are within the domestic purview of member states. To address these concerns, a new paragraph ‘reaffirming the importance of national ownership and leadership in peacebuilding’ was included.

Other members, such as France, the Netherlands and the UK, emphasised the role of the Council in addressing youth, peace and security, and advocated even stronger language related to the positive role of youth with regard to peace and security issues.

The question of follow-up to this draft resolution and to resolution 2250 was a contentious matter. Initially, the penholders tried to establish an annual reporting obligation by the Secretary-General. However, some members did not support an annual reporting requirement. In an effort to reach a compromise, the draft in blue requests the Secretary-General to submit one report on the implementation of both resolutions, no later than May 2020.

Differences of view were also expressed on how to reference the progress study on youth, peace and security. Initially, a majority of Council members wanted to ‘welcome’ it; however, this did not seem acceptable to others, given the concerns expressed about its relevance to the work of the Security Council. The draft in blue therefore merely ‘notes’ the progress study.

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