UN Security Council Open Debate on
Youth, peace and security
H.E. Ms. Anne Sipiläinen
Under-Secretary of State
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
New York, 23 April 2018
I would like to thank Peru for convening this debate. Finland commends The Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security by the Secretariat, and thanks Mr. Graeme Simpson along with his Advisory Group of Experts for their thorough work in carrying out the study.
Finland also aligns with the statement presented here today on behalf of the European Union.
Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security was approved by the Security Council in 2015 but the seeds were planted by active youth long before that.
The resolution promotes the idea of youth as a positive force towards peace. Today it is important to focus on effective implementation of the resolution. The Progress Study at hand is an invaluable instrument in supporting the full participation of youth in peace processes.
Finland is pleased that prevention has established its place at the center of Secretary-General Guterres’ agenda. The Progress Study emphasizes the role of young people in conflict prevention.
It has become clear that an inclusive approach to peace-building is necessary for the achievement of good quality results, and sustaining peace requires involvement of a wide range of actors from different parts of society. This means youth, women and the civil society.
In most of the societies suffering from violent conflicts, women are underrepresented in both formal and informal decision-making. As we know, another significant part of the population often marginalized from political processes is the youth. This means that the voices of young women go unheard too often, especially so in conflict situations. In Finland, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, the special representative on mediation for the Foreign Minister, has chosen to focus on both young people and women, as the priority areas in her work.
The Women, Peace and Security agenda promoted by the Security Council resolution 1325 has gained significant normative and political strength since its establishment 18 years ago. Finland remains strongly committed to advancing the 1325 agenda, and our recently published Third National Action Plan on the resolution has been drafted with close participation of the civil-society. We hope to see similar path of progress with regard to the Youth, Peace and Security agenda.
I wish to take this opportunity to commend Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake for her work as the Secretary-Generals Envoy on Youth. We look forward to continuing our close cooperation with you.
Active Finnish youth organizations have played a strong role in promoting resolution 2250. In our future efforts to advance the implementation of the resolution, we intend to keep the civil society, especially youth organizations, strongly involved in the process. Our national 2250-network, a group of stakeholders and NGOs especially representing the youth, is a concrete example of this work.
The Progress Study sends a strong message about the importance of keeping young people on the agenda of the Security Council. The youth perspective should be a mainstreamed, overarching approach in coming resolutions, with mechanisms for following its implementation.
This Progress Study teaches us that building mutual trust between young people and governments is a prerequisite for improving youth participation. It means actively promoting their participation and giving them responsibility not just tolerating them to be present.
This report includes concrete recommendations that need to be implemented. I would like to particularly raise recommendations related to education and media literacy which both can contribute to recovery and build peaceful future.
Our role as decision-makers in our societies is not to work for the youth, but with them. The young men and women don’t need the voices of others to speak on their behalf. They just need to be enabled to get on the stage to speak for themselves, instead of being prevented to do that.