Why should youth be participating in a peacemaking process already on grass roots level? Does youth have a role in conflict prevention? The fact is that it would be impossible to build and sustain peacewithout youth’s input. Finland is strongly committed to promote youth’s participation in peace work through for example Security Council’s implementation of the 2250 resolution. The theme was present in the UN High Level Week in New York.
Youth, Peace and Security resolution (2250) was discussed in high level ministerial meeting that was held by Norway and Jordan on 21st September 2017. The UN member states reaffirmed their commitment to implement resolution that was adopted in 2015.
Among others, the UN Secretary General António Gueterres highlighted that the 2250 resolution is a first resolution that focuses entirely on youth as actors on sustaining and building peace and development, and preventing violent extremism. It was stated, that the importance of youth’s participation is widely acknowledged but concrete action is still needed.
Finland is part of informal group “Champions for Youth” that consist of 22 member states. At the moment, there is a vast consultation and study process going on. The Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security will be a result of the process and it aims to help member states to implement resolution on a concrete level.
The resolution was the result of cooperation between many states and civil society organizations, the Finnish youth and civil society has taken active part in preparing it. The Foreign Minister Timo Soini also emphasized Finnish commitment in his speech. According to Soini, young people should be listened to and they should be allowed to participate in key areas of decision-making.
Soini has appointed Jutta Urpilainen to his special representative on mediation. Urpilainen, who was present at the meeting, will focus especially on enhancing the role of youth and women in Africa.
More than half of the world’s population consists of youth. Therefore, strengthening the capacity of youth by investing in education and creating job opportunities is vital. These are measures can also prevent radicalization. Furthermore, it is essential to see youth as active actors and peacebuilders. Youth have a natural aim to build themselves a better future. The positive energy should be better utilized to work that is preventing conflicts and sustaining peace.
In the meeting, youth was represented by Libyan Hajer Sharief from ”Together We Build” and Finnish Milja Suihko who represents the UN youth in Alianssi’s international coalition.
Finnish commitment was strongly present in Milja Suihko’s speech that emphasized the importance of cooperation with civil society organizations and youth in accomplishing 2030 Agenda's sustainable development goals. Suihko commented the meeting as follows:
“It is great how many foreign ministers indicated their commitment to 2250 resolution and its implementation. The attendance of two youth representatives in the panel at the meeting was a good start. When every panel of six people has two youth representatives, the resolution is accomplished at concrete level.”