Discorso dell’Ambasciatrice Mariangela Zappia, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Dibattito Aperto in Consiglio di Sicurezza su “Towards the 5th Anniversary of the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda: accelerating implementation of resolution 2250 and 2419” —
Italy thanks the Dominican Republic for organizing this open VTC on a topic – the full involvement of youth – which is of great importance for promoting international peace and security, all the more in these particularly challenging times.
Young people are a vital driver for peace, change, and prosperity. Their specific sensitivity and forward-looking approaches, their natural desire for justice and inclusion, as well as their prominent motivation, enthusiasm and energy can meaningfully contribute to building and sustaining peace, providing long-term sustainable solutions and fostering conflict prevention and reconciliation.
In this spirit, five years from the launching of the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda through UNSCR 2250, Italy remains strongly committed to its implementation. From the outset, we have fully supported the Youth 2030 Strategy and we were the first Member State to provide financial support to the Office of the SG’s Envoy on Youth after her appointment. In our vision, youth policies represent the best link between the Peace and Security Agenda and the 2030 Agenda. To support this view, Italy is conducting a multi-country initiative in partnership with UNDESA for “Promoting sustainable peace through national youth policies” , which is currently under implementation in 3 countries and includes the constitution of national and local youth led “Youth, Peace and Security Civil Society Coalitions”.
Young people can contribute to peace processes in multiple ways, from monitoring ceasefires to resolving local-level disputes, building relationships across social divisions and shaping peace agreements. However, as highlighted in the Report of the Secretary General, in spite of a growing awareness of young people’s role in peace and security, young people continue to be excluded from decisions that will directly impact their present and future prospects for peace. They continue to face significant structural barriers to the participation in the decision-making, and many young peacebuilders report that their participation is not welcomed by the public opinion or by those in positions of power, pointing to an overall disregard for their work. This is especially true for young women, who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and marginalization.
It is essential to ensure that young people have a say in peace discussions, as along with other vulnerable categories, such as women, elders and people with disabilities, they account for many of those adversely affected by armed conflict. Over two billion of the world population is under 24, 90% of which is in developing and vulnerable countries, whereas one in four young people are affected by violence or armed conflict.
Italy has constantly engaged in empowering young people and enabling them to make their voices heard. Every year, since 2017, the Italian Government has been appointing two Youth Delegates who – through a nation-wide advocacy action as well as by participating in UN meetings – help promote the active participation of the youngest generations in decision-making, peacebuilding and reconciliation processes. Furthermore, in 2019 we dedicated our contribution to the Trust Fund in support of the UN Department of Political Affairs and Peacebuilding to initiatives in support of the participation of women and youth in peace processes.
In the same spirit, in preparation of the next COP26, Italy is organizing the youth event “Youth4Climate 2020: driving ambition”, which will focus, inter alia, on the impact of climate change on peace and security.
In the firm belief that there is a strong link between peace, security and the respect of human rights, Italy considers fundamental not only to ensure the protection of all human rights for young people, but also to strengthen their active role in the promotion of human rights within the societies. Italy is a member of the Human Rights Council’s core group for the resolution “Youth and Human Rights” which aims at promoting new initiatives for an effective, structured and sustainable participation of youth in relevant decision-making process.
Italy is especially convinced of the need to encourage natural synergies between the Women Peace and Security and the Youth Peace and Security Agendas. Both women and youth face similar challenges to their meaningful participation in the decisionmaking, and share common vulnerabilities. The interplay between these Agendas is key: the combination between age and gender discrimination makes young women especially vulnerable, and gender mainstreaming is particularly needed to promote a paradigm shift. Due to the gendered perception of young people, peace and security interventions targeting young people, like those aimed at promoting their participation, tend to prioritize young men. While there is no doubt that young women are engaged in a variety of activities in building and sustaining peace, their role and contribution is often neglected and under-recognized, which perpetuates their marginalization.
Against this background, in December 2019 we the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy invited several representatives of youth organizations to take part in a High-Level Seminar on “Strengthening Women’s Participation in Peace Processes: What Roles and Responsibilities for Member States?”, which was organized in Rome in collaboration with UNWOMEN. Furthermore, within the implementation of our Third National Plan on Women Peace and Security, we funded the “2020 Torino Forum for Sustaining Peace: Women and Girls at the Frontlines of Peace”, to be organized by the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) with a focus on the meaningful participation of women and girls in conflict prevention, and which will also take into consideration the complementarities of the WPS and YPS agendas.
Italy remains committed to play its part in order to bring forward the full implementation of the YPS agenda and foster its synergy with the WPS Agenda.