Most young people are in the parts of the world most prone to conflict and violence. In 2014, the United Nations reported that there were more young people in the world than ever before in human history - with an estimated 1.8 billion inhabitants aged between 10 and 24. Of this 1.8 billion young people, nearly nine out of 10 live in less-developed countries, the UN reported, where poverty is most prevalent, access to critical health care and schooling is the lowest, and conflict and violence are most frequent. It has been estimated that by the year 2030, the number of young people will grow further to 1.9 billion - and that most of this growth will take place in Africa. The importance of these young people to establishing and maintaining global peace was recognized by the UN’s Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth Peace and Security (YPS), which was adopted in 2015. The resolution urges member states to give young people a greater voice in decision-making at the local, national, regional, and international levels - and to consider mechanisms that can enable them to participate meaningfully in peace processes. A subsequent, independent YPS Progress Study was developed by an advisory group of experts including young leaders, and published in 2018. The study proposed ways to support the full and equal participation of young people at all decision-making levels, and noted that education for young people everywhere is indispensable for building peace, preventing violent conflict, and addressing the systemic exclusion of young people. The study also called for genuinely inclusive forums to shape the lives of young women and men, and for the means to ensure that young people have a seat at the table when peace is being negotiated, or reconciliation and reconstruction are being planned. It demanded the full economic inclusion of youth, in ways that go beyond employment and involve the development of communities in ways that support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, it cited the need to better protect young people from violence and its traumatic effects, and for the better protection of human rights and the enabling environment necessary to work towards peace - including through peaceful dissent and protest.
A Voice for the Young
Peace and Resilience