Arria-formula Meeting on Youth, Peace and Security
On Monday afternoon (28 August), Ghana will convene a Security Council Arria-formula meeting titled “Reinforcing the implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda for a peaceful and stable Africa”. Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Acting Special Representative of the World Bank Farhad Peikar, and African Union (AU) Youth Envoy Chido Mpemba are expected to brief. A briefing is also expected from Nina Mireille Yankinon, president of “I Londö E Lekere”—a non-governmental organisation based in the Central African Republic (CAR) that seeks to promote female leadership, among other issues—and member of the Young Woman Leaders Caucus of the African Women Leaders Network. The meeting will begin at 3 pm EST and take place in Conference Room 4.
Monday’s meeting comes ahead of the eighth anniversary of the adoption on 9 December 2015 of resolution 2250, which was the first thematic resolution on youth, peace and security. Spearheaded by Jordan, it recognised the contribution of youth to the prevention and resolution of conflicts. The Security Council adopted two follow-up resolutions. Resolution 2419 of 6 June 2018 urged stakeholders to take young people’s views into account and facilitate their equal and full participation in peace and decision‑making processes at all levels. Resolution 2535 of 14 July 2020 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. Among other matters, the resolution introduced regular reporting on youth, peace and security, requesting the Secretary-General to submit a biennial report to the Security Council on the implementation of resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535. The latest report pursuant to this resolution was published on 16 March 2022.
In recent years, Council members have discussed the implementation of these resolutions by organising Arria-formula meetings (an informal format), which have often coincided with the anniversary of the adoption of resolution 2250. The latest such meeting took place on 12 December 2022, while the latest formal Council meeting on the issue was convened in April 2020. (For background, see our 12 December 2022 and 26 April 2020 What’s in Blue stories.)
The concept note prepared by Ghana says that Monday’s meeting comes at a critical junction in light of the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) summit, which will take place on 18 and 19 September, and the formulation of A New Agenda for Peace. Against this backdrop, the meeting aims to provide an opportunity for member states to review the achievements of the youth, peace and security agenda in Africa and beyond, identify best practices, and engage in an open discussion about gaps, challenges, and the path forward.
Ghana emphasises in the concept note that the youth, peace and security agenda is particularly relevant to the African continent, which is home to the youngest population in the world, as approximately 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africans are under the age of 30. In 2018, the AU launched the Youth for Peace Program (Y4P) based on extensive consultations with youth peacebuilders on the continent and appointed its first Special Envoy on Youth, with a mandate to enhance youth inclusion and mobilise youth for positive social change in Africa. Since 2020, five African Youth Ambassadors for Peace have been appointed on a two-year basis to work with the envoy. These youth ambassadors have contributed to implementing the youth, peace and security agenda through region-specific advocacy, capacity building, and policy initiatives. Additionally, two of the four countries that have approved a national action plan on youth, peace and security are from Africa, namely Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The concept note poses several questions to help guide the discussion:
- How can the Security Council further advance the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda and ensure the meaningful and full participation of youth in conflict, post-conflict, and transition settings, particularly in Africa?
- How can the Security Council and UN missions and entities, including peacekeeping and special political missions, better collaborate with regional institutions such as the AU to advance the youth, peace and security agenda?
- What policy frameworks and best practices can the world learn from Africa’s youth, peace and security architecture, and what lessons can Africa learn from the rest of the world?
At Monday’s meeting, the briefers are expected to provide an overview of the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda on the global and regional level. According to the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda policy brief titled “Meaningful Youth Engagement in Policymaking and Decision-making Processes”, which was published in April, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) has been supporting the role of young people and youth organisations in peacebuilding and sustaining peace, including through the issuance of a Youth, Peace and Security Programming Handbook in 2021. In 2022, representatives of youth organisations and initiatives participated in 37.5 percent of the PBC’s meetings. Young people have also briefed in thematic discussions, open debates, and Arria-formula meetings of the Security Council.
Mpemba is likely to describe how the AU has been implementing the youth, peace and security agenda, as well as current youth efforts and initiatives in Africa. In 2020, the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) adopted the Continental Framework on Youth, Peace, and Security and its ten-year implementation plan. According to the concept note prepared by Ghana, the framework has five priorities—participation, prevention, protection, partnership, and coordination—and aims to promote young people’s participation in peacebuilding processes, decision-making on peace and security, and policy formulation at the national, regional, and continental levels. The briefers might discuss challenges to the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda and propose ways to encourage participation of youth in policy-making and decision-making processes, while emphasising that young people can serve as a driving force for promoting peace and sustainable development.
Council members are expected to discuss their efforts to promote the youth, peace and security agenda in their respective national capacities. Some might encourage better engagement between youth and the UN system, including peacekeeping and political missions, UN Country Teams, and Resident Coordinators. Members might mention General Assembly resolution A/RES/76/306 of 12 September 2022, which called for the establishment of a UN Youth Office as a dedicated office for youth affairs in the UN Secretariat. Resolution A/RES/76/306 stipulates that the office, once established, would lead engagement and advocacy for the advancement of youth issues across the UN in the areas of peace and security, sustainable development, and human rights, among other issues. African members of the Council may comment on the importance of implementing the agenda on their continent and discuss ways to support youth involvement in peacebuilding efforts, including through the provision of protection, capacity-building and financial support for such initiatives.
Some members may urge the Security Council to discuss this thematic issue more frequently in official meetings and to invite more young people to brief the Council. Several members are likely to call for better inclusion of young people’s views on peace and security in the work and products of the Security Council, especially considering that the Secretary-General’s April policy brief noted that there is no formal mechanism for youth to engage systematically in the Council’s work.