posted on Tue 8 Sep 2020 7:49 PM
Arria-Formula Meeting on the Implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda by UN Peace Operations

Tomorrow (9 September) an Arria-formula meeting will be held via videoconference on the implementation of Security Council resolutions on youth, peace and security by UN peace operations. It is being co-organised by the Dominican Republic, France, Indonesia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa and the United States. The expected briefers are Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs; Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations; Mauricio Artiñano, a representative from the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia; Iana Minochkina, youth adviser and coordinator of the youth, peace and security program at the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK); Joao Scarpelini, former UN youth advisor in Somalia; Andjela Mirković, member of the United Youth Task Force Network of Young Kosovo Peacebuilders; and Diellza Geci, co-founder of the Kosovo Youth Fest.

Following interventions by Council members, other UN members will be allowed to make statements, time permitting. The meeting will be live-streamed on UN Web TV at 3 pm EST.

The Council has adopted three resolutions on youth, peace and security: resolution 2250 of 9 December 2015, resolution 2419 of 6 June 2018, and resolution 2535 of 14 July 2020. Resolution 2250 recognised the contribution of youth in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, while resolution 2419 requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of resolutions 2250 and 2419 no later than May 2020. Co-authored by the Dominican Republic and France, resolution 2535 included operational provisions aimed at promoting and institutionalising the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda by the Security Council, UN entities and member states.

In resolution 2535, the Security Council established a regular reporting requirement on youth, peace and security for the first time, by requesting the Secretary-General to submit a biennial report to the Security Council on the implementation of resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535. The resolution included concrete provisions focused on mainstreaming the youth, peace and security agenda into the work of the UN secretariat: it asked the Secretary-General to provide guidance for UN peacekeeping and other relevant UN missions on the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda and urged UN missions to develop context-specific strategies on the agenda. Resolution 2535 further called for UN entities to improve capacity-building and technical guidance and to integrate the youth, peace and security agenda into their planning and activities, including by appointing youth focal points. It notes that these provisions should make use of existing human resources.

According to the concept note prepared by the co-organisers, tomorrow’s meeting serves as an opportunity to discuss the implementation of resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535 by UN peace operations. The concept note states that the implementation of these resolutions by peacekeeping operations and special political missions varies, with some peace operations taking more concrete steps to facilitate youth engagement in peacebuilding efforts than others. The Arria-formula meeting will provide a platform for representatives from UN peace operations which have cooperated with local youth populations in various peacebuilding initiatives to share their experiences and best practices. It will also allow for a discussion of how the Security Council and the UN system can further support the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda in UN peace operations.

The concept note invites members to consider the following questions:

• What practical steps should UN peace operations take to implement Security Council resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535?
• What challenges do UN peace operations face in streamlining youth, peace and security considerations into their work, and what can the Security Council do to help overcome these challenges?
• How can the Security Council, member states and the UN system better support UN peace operations in implementing resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535, including through mandate renewals?

At tomorrow’s meeting, DiCarlo and Lacroix may brief on the work of the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Peace Operations in supporting the implementation of resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535. They may discuss the measures necessary to implement the new provisions in resolution 2535, such as the drafting of appropriate guidance for UN peace operations and the appointment of youth focal points. The Secretary-General’s 2 March report on youth, peace and security, issued in accordance with resolution 2419, notes that as of December 2019, 14 out of the 22 active special political missions had a youth focal point, while only three out of the 13 peacekeeping operations had such focal points. It further states that: “youth focal points on United Nations country teams are important human resources at the field level to spearhead the implementation of the youth and peace and security agenda across pillars”.

DiCarlo and Lacroix may also address steps that are being taken to facilitate more systematic reporting on the youth, peace and security agenda to the Security Council. Resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535 call on the Secretary-General to include information on the implementation of the resolutions in his reports regarding situations on the Council’s agenda. Nonetheless, only a quarter of the reports submitted to the Council between December 2015 and December 2019 provided information on activities carried out by UN peace operations to implement the youth, peace and security agenda.

The representatives from the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, UNMIK and Somalia are likely to provide examples of their work with local youth populations and recommendations on how to facilitate enhanced implementation of resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535 in UN peace operations. Artiñano may discuss the work that is being done by the Verification Mission in Colombia to encourage youth involvement in peacebuilding projects related to the reintegration of ex-combatants of the former rebel group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP). He may elaborate on how the youth, peace and security strategy developed by the mission, as well as its network of youth focal points in its regional offices, give greater impact to the mission’s work with local youth.

Minochkina may talk about her work as a youth advisor in UNMIK and describe how the mission launched a multi-ethnic network of young Kosovo peacebuilders to foster inter-ethnic trust-building among youth. She may also share lessons learned from the Kosovo-wide youth consultation process that took place in 2017, which informed the drafting of UNIMK’s strategy on youth, peace, and security, as well as Kosovo’s roadmap on the agenda.

Scarpelini is likely to describe the work carried out in Somalia to create a Youth Advisory Board in 2019, with the aim of building a platform for youth in Somalia to engage with UN leadership in the country. The advisory board, comprised of 18 male and female youth leaders, is dedicated to advising the UN system on youth issues in the country, and towards this end, has met with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia three times since its establishment.

Artiñano, Minochkina, and Scarpelini might also emphasise the importance of Security Council support for the implementation of resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535, including through the inclusion of concrete provision on youth, peace, and security in the mandates of UN peace operations. Between December 2015 and December 2019, only 24% of mission mandate renewal resolutions adopted by the Council included substantial provisions on youth. In this regard, the representatives may recommend the inclusion of more concrete language on the role that youth can play in such areas as mediation, monitoring peace negotiations, conflict prevention and reconciliation in relevant Security Council resolutions.

The youth briefers from Kosovo may draw on their experiences as youth leaders in inter-ethnic trust-building endeavours. Mirković and Geci-–who come from the Kosovo-Serb and Kosovo-Albanian communities, respectively—are likely to discuss their cooperation in establishing the Kosovo Youth Festival. The festival is held annually, bringing together youth from different ethnic backgrounds in Kosovo with the aim of building bridges through cultural and recreational activities. They may discuss the impact of such enterprises in Kosovo, where over 70 percent of youth have not interacted with their peers from other ethnic communities, according to a 2018 report by the International Organization for Migration. They may also emphasise the need to empower the work of young female peacebuilders, including from rural areas, to promote their active participation as change-makers in peace-building processes.

Security Council members may discuss their efforts to promote the youth, peace and security agenda in their national capacity, as well as through their involvement in regional organisations and their role as troop-contributing countries to peacekeeping missions. African members of the Council may comment on the importance of implementing the agenda in their region, as Africa is the youngest continent in the world, with approximately 60 percent of its population aged under 25. South Africa, which took over the chairmanship of the African Union (AU) in 2020, may elaborate on the AU’s initiatives to promote youth participation in peacebuilding efforts; these include the development of the Continental Framework on Youth, Peace and Security and the appointment of an AU youth envoy and five regional African Youth Ambassadors for Peace to promote the participation of young people in peace endeavours across the continent. Members might emphasise the importance of promoting the role of young women in peacebuilding, including through their increased participation in peacekeeping missions.