The Role of Women and Youth in Peace and Security: Perspectives from CSW62 Delegates

Jordan Hibbs & Belgica Cucalon - CSW62 UNA Delegates

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During the United Nations 62nd Commission on the Status of Women, at the high-level side event, “The Role of Parliaments in Women, Peace, and Security,” contributor and co-founder of The International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) Sanam Naraghi Anderlini expressed a passionate albeit frustrated account of how 18 years ago she and fellow women’s civil society organizations had urged for the inclusion of women in peacebuilding and security responses. Throughout CSW62 it became clear that often the voices most systematically removed and ignored in security measures continue to be of those most affected by conflict. As UNA-USA Delegates at the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women, we recognize the importance of information-sharing for empowering communities and creating partnerships.  Ensuring inclusion and representation for women and youth at decision-making tables related to peace and security must be a top priority if sustainable peace is to ever be more than an aspirational agenda.

 

Women, Peace, and Security - UNSCR 1325

Affirming the critical role of women in creating sustainable peace, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 in October 2000. UNSCR 1325 acknowledged the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women and girls, and urged the prevention of women’s rights violations, the increased support of women’s participation in peace negotiations, and the protection of women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict. UNSCR 1325 legitimized the position that the inclusion of women in local, national, and international strategies for mitigating and countering violence is pivotal in sustainable peace agreements.

 

Rather than women merely being victims or perpetrators of violence, this resolution established women’s roles in the prevention of violence, as well as in the creation and implementation of conflict resolution and peacebuilding initiatives. Additionally, this resolution stipulates that at all levels and stages of conflict and peace negotiations, the human rights of women must be taken into account and upheld.

 

Youth, Peace, and Security Agenda - UNSCR 2250

With the largest population of young people in history, the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 in December of 2015 was an important step forward in taking youth seriously. The resolution on Youth, Peace and Security, the first ever of its kind, recognized that conflict, war, and terrorism adversely affect young people. In fact, according to the United Network of Young Peacebuilders, young people under 25 are the majority of those in conflict-affected societies and represent one-third of those displaced by conflict. UNSCR 2250 acknowledged that young peacemakers are pivotal in peace negotiations and initiatives, and have unique perspectives and ideas to contribute.

 

The adoption of Resolution 2250 was an important moment of legitimization for youth by the global community. It recognized that ignoring the voices and power of young people as partners in peace could only ever be to the detriment of peace and security. The priority to value, invest and engage youth in peacebuilding is key. UNSCR 2250 resolves to create space at the table for young people to participate and be represented at all levels of peacebuilding decision-making, to protect the lives and dignity of young people, and to create mechanisms for the prevention of youth recruitment into violent extremist groups.

 

CSW High Level Side-Event on Youth Inclusion in Peace & Security

The call for inclusion of women in peace and security through UNSCR 1325 was a pivotal moment.  There is much to be learned from what has been achieved since its adoption as we work to implement the Youth, Peace, and Security agenda of UNSCR 2250. At the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, moderated a high-level side event to discuss the lessons learned from the implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda (UNSCR 1325). The Envoy on Youth made the following recommendations to advance the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda (UNSCR 2250):

 

  1. Create/expand the networks of young peacebuilders
  2. Include young people’s voices in policy-making
  3. Fund youth led peace building

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