Young people are a vital part of the solution [fr]
Youth, Peace and Security
Statement by Mrs Mme Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United NationsRetour ligne automatique
Security Council - 23 April 2018
I thank you, Sir, for convening today’s open debate on a topic that the Council should indeed address and for inviting Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, and Mr. Graeme Simpson, Director of Interpeace USA. I thank them for their very insightful briefings.
I would also like to welcome in particular Ms. Sophia Pierre-Antoine of Haiti and Ms. Kessy Ekomo-Soignet of the Central African Republic. France welcomes the youth representative who is here in the Security Council for the first time.
First, I would like to echo and underscore that it is important to combat preconceived notions and stereotypes about young people, embrace their true potential and give them the trust and support they deserve. Although, youth is synonymous with vitality and energy, young people are paradoxically often viewed as a burden and, as it pertains to security, even a threat. They are puppets of the violence deemed to be intrinsic or easily manipulated by armed or criminal groups. Stereotypes about young people serve to justify the use of repressive force against them and violations of their most basic rights, in particular their right to peaceful protest and to be heard, including in armed conflict.
Young people are too often the victims of discrimination and are by and large excluded from the decision-making processes of political institutions and from the labour market. The majority of young people demonstrate a genuine ability to work together to propose innovative solutions to problems they encounter or to the ills of the societies in which they live. It is therefore essential to reflect on how to provide young people with greater holistic support.
That can be achieved by improving the likelihood of their inclusionin political, social and economic endeavours and developing psychosocial and reintegration support mechanisms. It can also be done by acknowledging that the key to ending the exclusion of young people and their recruitment by armed groups lies in their access to quality education, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 4. Studies on five decades of armed conflict reveal that education is a key factor in reducing the risk of conflict. Lastly, it can be achieved by supporting their role as agents of sociopolitical change and as partners of the development and peace process. In that regard, I would like to cite by way of example the Youth Forum that France has organized with Tunisia in recent years, held in Tunisia.
Like Ms. Pierre-Antoine and Ms. Ekomo-Soignet, young women should be seated at the negotiating table and recognized as partners for peace. The Council should ensure that occurs within the framework of the women and peace and security agenda and beyond. Young people play an increasingly important role in the area of the maintenance of international peace and security. The independent progress study on youth and peace and security conducted by Mr. Simpson highlights several instances in which organizations led by young people have had a positive influence on political, humanitarian and human rights situations before, during and after conflicts.
Because such organizations often have modest resources, results are conclusive, in particular because they are innovative and use social and increasingly participative media to advance their goals. The Council cannot ignore the dynamics already at work and must engage young people in building peace by encouraging effective and lasting partnerships among youth organizations, Governments, agencies of the United Nations, civil society and the private sector. Symbolic measures are not enough.
Secondly, we must strengthen the implementation of the youth and peace and security agenda, in particular by building on the foundation provided by resolution 2250 (2015). In that regard, I would like to thank Peru for proposing a new draft resolution. France fully supports that initiative and stands ready to work with Peru and Sweden to make it as operational as possible. It is vital that the new text be relevant to the women and peace and security agenda and the issue of children and armed conflict by seeking genuine value added. France supports the idea of the publication of a regular report of the Secretary-General on the issue. The report should follow the United Nations For Youth calendar by taking the various youth forums into consideration.
Without duplicating the efforts of other forums, we hope that the Council can closely monitor the agenda and perhaps establish an informal panel of experts and a tripartite ad hoc group, as recommended by the independent study. With regard to measures taken, we welcome the efforts made by the Peacebuilding Fund and by the United Nations Development Programme, which already helps to support young people and youth organizations in several countries. Such actions could be strengthened.
Above and beyond the efforts of the Council, the United Nations must seek to better support sustainable development projects that assist young people, ensure respect for their basic rights and support their political participation. I would like to underscore the fact that action should be taken in the area of education, which is a priority for President Emmanuel Macron, who has announced an increase in France’s contribution to the Global Partnership for Education to €200 million. Nationally, France helps promote the positive role played by young people. France will host a global forum for peace from 11 to 13 November in Paris. The forum will seek to bring together individuals, institutions and civil society organizations, including youth organizations, that reflect global diversity and are committed to promoting multilateralism and collective action in an effort to meet the challenges of our people 100 years after the end of the First World War.
Projects, such as the Youth in the Sahel, are carried out by the French Development Agency and we provide support to United Nations funds and programmes on the ground. A young diplomats’ association, within the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, was established by young people themselves and its first international meeting, at which the issue of migration was discussed, was held this year in Marseilles.
Young people are a dynamic force and reflect a promise of rebirth. The Council must engage them instead of ignoring them. They are not a problem; they are a vital part of the solution. The United Nations as a whole must work to acknowledge them and grant them more power and a greater role in the area of peace and security.
Victor Hugo wrote that young people are the smiling face of the future. If the future is to smile on us, we cannot ignore it. Let us work together to impart the wisdom, the meaning and the confidence they need for talent development so that they can make an active contribution to the quest for international peace and security. France will continue to work to promote the youth, peace and security agenda and to make it effective and fully operational.