World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Young People Must Have ‘A Seat At The Table’ In Peace Efforts: Guterres

Although young people have been at the forefront of efforts to build and sustain peace, opportunities for them to make a meaningful contribution remain insufficient, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday.

Addressing the opening of the High-Level Global Conference on Youth-Inclusive Peace Processes, taking place online, he urged the international community to step up support.

He said numerous young peacebuilders, especially young women, report that their participation is not welcomed by the public or those in positions of power.

“We need to ensure that young people have a seat at the table – forging inclusive solutions that combine peace and security, sustainable development and human rights,” he said.

Expand investment

The Secretary-General listed examples of UN support, including through the Peacebuilding Commission, which has provided young peacebuilders a platform to present their work and recommendations.

Last year, the Peacebuilding Fund provided nearly $26 million to projects implemented with civil society partners working in the areas of youth, peace and security.

This investment must be expanded, he said, with additional and more accessible resources, to support youth-led initiatives.

New ‘Youth in Politics’ tool

Amid reports of threats and violations against young peacebuilders and rights defenders, the Secretary-General also highlighted the need to strengthen human rights protections and safeguard civic space.

“In this regard, the UN will develop a Youth in Politics Index to track the opening of political space in countries around the world that younger generations are so clearly demanding,” he said.

Mr. Guterres praised young people for speaking out as the world faces profound crises that include the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, rising conflicts and discrimination.

‘Powerful’ agents for change

Though heavily affected by these challenges, they are on the frontlines for action and solutions.

“I salute young people around the world for raising their voices – in the streets and online – and standing up for climate action, gender equality, racial and social justice and so much more,” he said.

As the world strives to recover from the pandemic, Mr. Guterres underscored the need to address the root causes of the exclusion of young people and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We must invest in providing prospects and opportunities for young people, especially young women, and including through education,” he said. “Young people are not only citizens with equal rights but also powerful agents for change whose voices must be fully heard.”

Advancing the agenda

The virtual two-day global conference, which concludes on Friday, is being co-hosted by Qatar, Finland and Colombia.

Among the aims is strengthening political will and commitment towards including youth in forging peace agreements, with a particular focus on young women.

The Secretary-General was pleased that ahead of the conference, participants had already produced two important documents, which include a five-year strategy on Youth-Inclusive Peace Processes.

He expressed confidence that these resources will help to advance the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda in every country.

“You can count on me,” he told participants. “You can count on the United Nations to continue to amplify young people’s voices and support your efforts towards a peaceful, sustainable and inclusive future.”

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: Bachelet Calls On Mexico To Step Up Efforts As Tragic Milestone Reached Of More Than 100,000 Disappearances

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called on the Mexican authorities to step up efforts to ensure truth and justice for victims of disappearances, who now number more than 100,000, according to official data... More>>

ADC: Statement On The Assassination Of Shireen Abu Akleh

Early this morning in Jenin, Occupied Palestine, revered Palestinian voice Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for Al Jazeera, was assassinated by Israeli Occupation Forces snipers...

Ukraine: UN Rights Office Probe Spotlights Harrowing Plight Of Civilians

Almost 76 days since Russia invaded Ukraine, countless civilians remain caught up in the horror and destruction of war, UN rights investigators said on Tuesday... More>>

Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>

UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>