– by CYPAN correspondents
A resolution unanimously endorsed by Heads of Government from 53 Commonwealth countries in the recently concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London recognises the important role of young women and men in sustaining peace and preventing violent extremism.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security urges member states to support youth-led mechanisms that enable meaningful participation of young people in peace building processes.
Resolution 2250 is a historic one that was championed by youth activists and young leaders. It shifts the focus from youth as perpetrators to a focus on promoting youth participation, prevention, protection and partnership. It promotes disengagement and reintegration as strategic ways to achieve a violence-free world.
Young people across the Commonwealth took the adoption of this resolution on 9 December 2015 as a victory and embarked on robust and pan-Commonwealth actions for peace. Through the creation of the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network in Malta 2015, young peace-builders from across the Commonwealth have mobilised locally and coordinated globally to localise and amplify the resolution, and to advocate for Commonwealth member states to take more tangible steps to prioritise youth partnerships for peace.
Endorsement came after young people from across the Commonwealth highlighted the need for governments to support youth, peace and security and partner with young people to implement the official Declaration of the Commonwealth Youth Forum which stated that
- All member states to ensure youth inclusion and participation in the national level implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security, allocating the necessary financial and human resources to develop and implement long-term national action plans which draw on the inputs from young people, especially through the progress study of the resolution.
- National and local governments to empower and support youth to be actively involved in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding processes and initiatives; while also supporting youth-led organisations in their efforts to promote social cohesion, security, stability, respect and understanding
Commonwealth Heads at the London meeting 19-20 April 2018 shared perspectives and experiences on how the Commonwealth can more fair, prosperous, sustainable and secure. Recognising the large youth demographic across the Commonwealth and the need for youth partnerships to realise the Sustainable Development Goals, the 53 heads of goverment took into consideration the recommendations made by young people during the Commonwealth Youth Forum, which was tabled by the Commonwealth Youth Council.
After two days of deliberation, the Commonwealth Heads of Government recognised the role of young people in peace building and endorsed the UNSCR 2250 in an official communiqué, which stated that;
“Heads recognised the role of young people in promoting peace and endorsed the principles and actions of the UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security. They urged member states to consider support for youth-led mechanisms that enables the meaningful participation of young people in peace building and social cohesion processes in their communities “
Reacting to this communique, Mr Achaleke Christian Leke, Pan-Commonwealth Coordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN) said “This is a great success to every young person working to build and sustain peace across the Commonwealth. I am happy our advocacy and voice has been heard; words can’t express how happy I am! Nevertheless, I believe implementation is key and on behalf of CYPAN we pledge our commitment to support the Heads of government in achieving this sustainable peace.”
Terez Lord, CYPAN Country Coordinator Trinidad and Tobago, highlighted that CYPAN in itself is premised on this resolution and has been operating for the last two years in fulfilling its mandate.
“In the Caribbean context, we are keen to enhance healthy, sustainable and inter-level relationships and partnerships to make this written resolution a living reality. With institutional support and resources being in paucity from inception, we look forward to a new wave following the official endorsement of the resolution by individual and collective Commonwealth governments at CHOGM 2018. This is a significant step forward as it marks our government’s’ commitment to the cause. Without this level of active and deliberate support- not out of tokenism, but in the name of investment in peace and security- we will be a spinning force to reckon with from now until Rwanda 2020,” she said.
Saji Prelis, Director of Children and Youth Programmes at Search for Common Ground and Co-Chair, Inter-Agency Working Group on Youth and Peacebuilding, expressed his deep appreciation to the Commonwealth, the Ministers and the Commonwealth heads of government.
“This is a turning point in the youth movement to prevent violence and sustain peace. The head of government are listening to their youth populations- a powerful clarion call that can enable the heads of government to leave a very powerful legacy behind.The commitment they have made now needs to be translated into meaningful action and there can be no stronger champions than the heads of government and we remain committed to working in partnership so that this generation of young people will be the last generation to experience violent conflict. This is the audacious legacy the heads of government can be remembered for generations to come,” he said.
This commitment by Commonwealth Heads of government to invest in youth, peace and security is a game changer for young peacebuilders in the Commonwealth who have always sought to partner with and acquire support to effectively engage in the peace building process.
Photo credit: Commonwealth Secretariat
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