Unanimously adopted on 9 December 2015, the UN Security Council resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security (UNSCR 2250) was a milestone in affirming the critical role of youth in global peace processes. Comprised of five pillars, (1) participation, (2) protection, (3) prevention, (4) partnerships, and (5) disengagement and reintegration, this resolution aimed to empower youth as agents of peace capable of preventing conflict, fostering sustainable peace and enacting tangible change within their communities. Since its adoption nearly six years ago, UNSCR 2250 has markedly paved the way for meaningful youth inclusion across peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.
This month, leading up to the International Day of UN Peacekeepers (29 May), we’re recognizing the significant role of youth in shaping and sustaining peace efforts. With its official theme, “The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security,” we’re highlighting the invaluable contributions from local youth and young peacekeepers in realizing international peace and security. While portraying youth as peaceful advocates for change, the photo essay below captures empowered moments of hope, development and peace as youth across the globe assume their role in the advancement of peace and reconciliation processes.
While highlighting the invaluable role of youth in efforts for lasting peace, UN Security Council resolution 2250 represented a paradigm shift in the discourse towards youth in conflict-affected settings. While moving away from depictions of youth as victims, targets or perpetrators of violence, this landmark resolution empowered youth as critical agents of change on the path to peace.
In promoting the inclusive and meaningful representation of youth throughout all levels of decision-making processes, UNSCR 2250 stresses the importance of integrating youth-inclusive considerations within peace and political processes.
Under the protection of civilians mandate, the Security Council reaffirmed that “states must respect and ensure the human rights of all individuals, including youth, within their territory” and that “each state bears the primary responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.”
Within the context of youth, peace and security, adopting gender-sensitive initiatives to uphold the rights of women and end gender-based violence is further critical in preventing the marginalization of youth.
The prevention pillar calls on Member States to cultivate inclusive and enabling environments where youth actors are provided with adequate support to prevent and mitigate conflict. Additionally, this pillar highlights the importance of youth-centred socio-economic development policies that contribute to peacebuilding efforts. By strengthening early opportunities for employment, education, vocational training and political engagement, youth actors can promote a culture of peace, tolerance and inter-community exchange.
While urging Member States to increase their political, financial, technical and logistical support, this pillar identifies the importance of local, regional, and non-governmental partnerships in countering violent extremist narratives regarding youth.
V. Disengagement and reintegration
To support disengagement and reintegration efforts, the UN Security Council “encourages all those involved in the planning for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration to consider the needs of youth affected by armed conflict.” In highlighting the importance of inclusive youth employment and education opportunities, this pillar further recognizes the interdependent role of education, employment and training in preventing the marginalization of youth.