Young people in cycle of conflict – how to implement UNSCR 2250

At the end of September, I participated in aninteresting consultation of European External Action Service on one of my favourite topics: the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security (2015).

Yes, I might be a nerd to be so excited about a UNSCR. But I believe that building mechanisms enabling youth contribution to peace and security would have a major impact on the world. It would, actually, be revolutionary. That is why UN Member States would be wise to implement this resolution properly: it can be a great way to build sustainable, positive peace, using the terms of Johan Galtung. We should allow youth to participate in preventing and solving conflicts, and in building secure post-conflict societies. To successfully solve problems, young people can not be only seen as victims or creators of conflict.

Worldwide, especially in societies suffering from conflict, youth participation should be a national flagship goal, visible both in home affairs as well as foreign affairs. To include youth in decision-making – and thus eliminate the need to influence with arms – youth engagement should be in the core of peacebuilding, development co-operation and UN advocacy.  Agenda 2030, emphasizing the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 16 on peaceful societies and participation, is linked to the idea of 2250.

In every country, we should build structured participation in democratic processes. Involving young people in general policymaking, instead of just youth policy or youth working groups. Supporting youth access to parliamentary committees and other institutions would give a whole new perspective to the society as a whole. Of course, when doing  this we should ensure participation of the diversity of youth, as we consist of different genders, backgrounds and religions.

How to do this is not a mystery. The first one would be creating National 2250 Action Plans that include concrete goals, actions and tools to implement the resolution. Also building indicators of progress and mechanisms for evaluation is highly important. Of course, in the spirit of the whole resolution, the process of creating action plans and complementary guidelines should include both officials and youth representatives.

A usual, to do great things, some budgeting is needed. That is why I believe a funding line for 2250 is needed in national budgets. At national and also at the European Union level, funding criteria should be designed to guarantee accessible funding for youth organisations. Research on the impacts of 2250 and the youth, peace and security theme should be supported as well, while ensuring access to quality education worldwide. Education and work also give young people tools to prevent violent extremism.

Across borders, it seems that cooperation possibilities are wide and they should be utilised. Including 2250 in the European Union Youth Strategy post 2018 and creating a framework for evaluating the impact of EU decisions on youth and future generations would be key in recognizing their importance. There is still a long way to go before 2250 is successfully mainstreamed in international organisations’ documents and activities related to the whole cycle of conflict. However, with small steps we are heading towards a more equal, peaceful world.