Recognition of young people’s role in worldwide peace building processes

On the 9th of December 2015 the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the first UN resolution dedicated to youth, peace and world safety, which supposed an historical recognition of young people’s role in peace building actions. Said resolution, which all of the member states of the United Nations are obliged to follow, is the result of years’ worth of work carried out by various organizations of the civil society, persons and institutions committed both in the active participation of young people and the active promotion of peace and human rights from a global perspective.

The text recognizes that young people are the victims not the cause of armed conflicts, even if they are refugees or displaced in a new country. It also declares that young people can play a very important role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and that they are key agents in assuring the sustainability, the inclusion and the success of any effort made towards keeping and consolidating peace worldwide.

29357165783_c12fb83e09_oHowever, the resolution does not just declare that young people’s participation in peace processes can significantly contribute to maintain and promote international peace and safety; it also underlines the importance of indentify and address the social, economical, political, cultural and religious impact deriving from exclusion, intolerance and extremist violence as a source of terrorism and armed conflicts, pointing out the need to protect young people that find themselves in conflict or post-conflict situations. According to the text, protecting the civilians in armed conflicts in an important aspect in any global strategy aimed at conflict resolution and peace building.

To the United Nations, committed to promote the culture of peace and to recognize the protection of human rights, peace is not only the absence of war, but mostly the creation of the conditions for a lasting and sustainable peace. This is why the resolution lists structural violence and discrimination as causes of the war, showing an example of why the resolution is applicable and needed not in the (approximately 70) countries where there is an ongoing war or conflict. The texts states that young people can contribute to a lasting peace and to economic prosperity if inclusive policies are put into place and encourages the Member States con take into consideration a common focus for an inclusive development as a key element in the prevention of conflicts.

The resolution focused on the issue from five different perspectives: participation, prevention, reconciliation, reincorporation and construction of associations. The resolution is not just directed to public and governmental institutions, but to all people and institutions that, according to the context, have to favour the active participation of young people in the creation of organizations and platforms that allow them to defend their interests, express themselves and act for the construction of lasting peace in their communities.

29985165555_3ae51b7def_oPutting into practice this resolution will serve to make possible and strengthen the institutional support to the different forms of young people’s participation in public spaces and in the mechanisms, processes, organizations and institutions that defend and represent their interests. At the same time, the resolution has to presume a greater institutional support to the various organizations, networks and structures that make it possible for young people to actively participate in the variety of debate, reflection, enquiry and decision processes. And, depending on each context, it has to favor the creation of new organizations and youth initiatives. The English version of the resolution can be found at this link.

The resolution was the result of many organizations’ and people’s efforts and entails a historical success for UNOY – United Network of Young Peacebuilders, organization that relied on the support of other international associations, such as “World Vision Youth“, “Search for Common Ground” or “Global Network of Women Peacebuilders“, of other United Nations agencies, of multilateral bodies and countries, such as Jordan, that hosted the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security (celebrated in Amman in August 2015) and that is the member of the United Nations Security Council that proposed said resolution.

FCV is proud to have been the only organization in Catalonia (and in Spain) that has been part of this process: namely, Meghann Villanueva, former head of the program “Clam per la Pau” and Romeral Ortiz, former collaborator of FCV, who have both been part of the UNOY advocacy team, who participated in the missions before the UN, as well as in the global forum in Jordan, thus providing our bit to achieve this historic achievement, of global reach fot the current and future generations of young people.