posted on Tue 8 Dec 2015 5:23 PM
Adoption of Resolution on Youth, Peace and Security

Tomorrow (9 December), the Security Council will adopt a resolution initiated by Jordan on youth, peace and security which recognises the contribution of youth in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, and warns against the rise of radicalisation to violence and violent extremism amongst youth. It seems Jordan sees this resolution as a way of building on its open debate on “the role of youth in countering violent extremism” held during its presidency in April, as well as the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security it organised in Amman in August.

The draft resolution covers the participation of youth in conflict prevention institutions and mechanisms as well as in negotiating peace agreements, and the protection of youth in armed conflict through international human rights and humanitarian law. It also contains a section on prevention which urges members to provide youth with the opportunity to implement violence prevention activities and contribute to peacebuilding efforts. An important goal for Jordan in having this resolution was to move away from portraying youth as victims of armed conflict and violent extremism and create a policy framework for the role youth can play in contributing to peace processes, conflict resolution and building peace.

As this is the first resolution on youth, peace and security, Jordan had to persuade members that it was an issue that was relevant to the Council. Eventually it was able to get support for a draft resolution although a number of issues required some negotiation, including the definition of youth. After some discussion, members agreed that the draft resolution would refer to those between 18 – 29, while noting that that there are various definitions of youth. Having youth defined as 18 and above was important to those members who were concerned with the overlap with children and armed conflict issues.

Another issue was how much of the draft resolution should be devoted to the issue of youth and countering violent extremism. Some members including the US, and to some extent China and Russia, wanted to more focus on youth and violent extremism, but it was important to Jordan that the draft resolution also show the positive contribution of youth in armed conflict situations.

Members who are not States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) were concerned about references to the ICC. However, the use of language from previous resolutions in reference to the fight against impunity being strengthened through the work on and prosecution of crimes by the ICC and national tribunals, allowed these members to accept the ICC references in the draft resolution.

One area that needed some discussion was language related to having the Council consider the potential impact on the populations concerned, including youth, whenever it adopts measures under Article 41 (i.e. sanctions). Some members were concerned about getting approval for such language, but it seems that it is largely retained in the final draft. This may have been due to the fact that taking into consideration the humanitarian impact of sanctions is not new, and therefore paying particular attention to the impact on youth was not difficult to accept.

In terms of follow-up, the draft resolution invites relevant UN bodies to improve their coordination and interaction with regard to the needs of youth during armed conflicts and post-conflict situations. It also asks the Secretary-General to carry out a “progress study” on youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution, and to include in his reports on situations on the Council’s agenda measures taken in the implementation of this resolution. However, there is no date specified for the conclusion of the study, and although the draft resolution asks for the study to be made available to the Council, it is unclear how the Council will follow up on the implementation of this resolution.