In countries affected by conflict and violence, young people are commonly perceived as either perpetrators or victims. Turmoil and instability – including in recent years with the Arab Spring – are often explained by countries having large youth populations. The surge in terrorism and violent extremism in the past 15 years also tends to be linked to the role of young men, and increasingly young women. In reality, the role of young people in relation to peace and security is poorly understood and much more complex than these stereotypes suggest.

The Youth, Peace and Security agenda has gained momentum in recent years and marks a shift in the understanding of who young people are and their role for peace and security. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 (2015) is the first international policy framework that recognizes  the positive role young people play in preventing and resolving conflict, countering violent extremism and building peace. The UNSCR 2250 was followed by the independent progress study on youth, peace and security: the missing peace (2018) and UN Security Council Resolution 2419 (2018).