Amman – After two days of intense deliberations, youth participants in the Arab Region Youth, Peace and Security Consultation, presented a set of recommendations to a high level panel of decision makers and practitioners concerned with the implementation of the landmark Security Council Resolution (SCR) 2250, which urged Member States to consider setting up mechanisms that would enable young people to participate meaningfully in peace processes and dispute resolution.
Recommendations from the group of 61 young people aged 15-35 years from 18 Arab countries centered around two main areas. The first pertains to fostering long-term social and cultural change through special educational curricula that promote peace and security, inculcate the values of tolerance between religions and communities, and strengthen the relationship between education and employment prospects for young people.
The second area focuses on means to strengthen youth engagement in key decision making processes that affect their lives, through such measures as establishing national youth councils and strengthening them, where they already exist, and ensuring meaningful youth representation in key relevant institutions.
Additionally, over the three-day consultation, participants jointly developed recommendations on how to implement SCR 2250 that will be reflected in a UN-led progress study to be released in December 2017.
"This gathering has far-reaching significance,” stressed Ahmad AlHendawi, UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth. “It is key to strengthening young Arab Peacebuilders and supporting their efforts to reverse the impacts of the tragic conflicts raging across the Arab region and build the future they deserve."
The Arab Regional Consultation and High-Level Dialogue on Youth, Peace and Security is the first of a series of similar regional consultations, which will feed into the Progress Study that SCR 2250 mandated the UN Secretary-General to carry out, in order to account for youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution, and to recommend effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels.
Representatives from the secretariat that supports the development of the progress study attended the consultation and engaged with youth participants to integrate their recommendation in the study. The UN Secretary General will present the progress study to the Security Council and all Member States in December 2017.
"The Peacebuilding Support Office welcomes the outcomes of the first regional consultation for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security,” said Oscar Fernandez-Tarranco, UN Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding support. “I am thrilled that young women and men from the Arab States region had a chance to discuss their views and experiences and identify priorities for peace and security in a region that is enduring deep human suffering. We commit that the Study will be true to their voices, visions and passions."
Held in Amman, Jordan under the patronage of His Royal Highness, Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II, Crown Prince of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the event was the fruit of a collaborative effort involving the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO).
The consultation brought together youth from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen, to exchange views on peace and security issues, in order to support the implementation of SCR 2250 in the region. It also sought to mobilize regional and international partners to support the implementation of youth, peace and security programs in Arab States.
The high level panel discussing the recommendations that the youth participants presented included, HE Rami Wreikat, Minister of Youth in Jordan; Ahmad Alhendawi, United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on youth; Sigrid Kaag, UN SG Special Coordinator for Lebanon; Luay Shabaneh, Regional Director for Arab States, UNFPA; Zena Ali Ahmad, Deputy Director, Regional Hub for Arab States; Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan, Head of General Security for the Emirate of Dubai, UAE; Peter Weiderud, Director of the Swedish Institute, Alexandria; and Paul Walton, Head of Executive Office, Anna Lindh Foundation.
"Focusing on youth is a priority for us in the Kingdom.” Underscored Rami Wreikat, Jordan’s Minister of Youth. “The SCR 2250 was based on the Amman Youth Deceleration that calls for integrating youth in making sustainable peace."
Senior representatives of UN agencies co-organizing the event - Zena Ali Ahmad, UNDP, Luay Shabaneh, UNFPA and Hamed Al Hammami, Regional Director, UNESCO - all pledged their continued support to ensure that the outcomes and recommendations of this regional consultation and dialogue are translated into concrete future actions on youth, peace and security on the ground at national and regional levels.
In his concluding remarks, Luay Shabaneh, Regional Director for Arab States-UNFPA, indicated that “Based on the outcomes and recommendations of this regional consultation and dialogue, and along with all concerned and interested partners, UNFPA will support the development of a Regional Strategy and Guiding Framework on Youth, Peace and Security in Arab States.”