Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since 2015, world leaders have increasingly recognized that young people play a positive role in promoting development and peace.
However, young people largely continue to face closing civic spaces and exclusion from decision-making and peace processes. Moreover, growing inequalities, the COVID-19 pandemic, poor governance, violence and armed conflicts and the climate emergency all affect the lives and agency of millions of young women and men around the globe and threaten human rights and development gains.
At UNDP, we strongly believe in young people’s power and leadership in mobilizing movements and networks, speaking truth to power, proposing innovative solutions to complex challenges, and driving effective grassroots actions for peace in their communities. This is why we have supported youth empowerment for sustainable development and peace in 100 countries and territories so far, partnering with young peacebuilders across the globe, from Colombia, to Mali, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Philippines.
Allow me to strongly reaffirm UNDP’s commitment to accelerate the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda.
Our new Strategic Plan mandates us to promote the rights of youth and future generations. A key priority will be to support the development and implementation of youth, peace and security frameworks at country level, held accountable by a new ‘common indicator’ shared with UNFPA and UN Women.
We will implement a new generation of youth, peace and security programmes and projects, to support local capacities and partnerships with young peacebuilders; in that regard, our sincere gratitude goes to the Swedish International Development Agency for funding our new joint UNFPA-UNDP project in Colombia, which supports youth participation in peacebuilding at the local level and youth, peace and security coalitions.
We will convene local, national, regional and global dialogues and platforms, to facilitate the exchange of promising practices amongst young peacebuilders, UN entities, partners and other stakeholders, including through our global knowledge platform, Youth4Peace.info.
We will scale up efforts to mobilize and allocate funding to this important, yet under-resourced, agenda. Since 2020, over $42 million has been directed through UNDP Funding Windows to projects relating to youth in governance and peacebuilding – from Jamaica to Iraq. We will support an enabling environment for youth-inclusive peacebuilding and seek to open up new opportunities for young peacebuilders to access funding for youth-led peace efforts.
In line with Our Common Agenda and the Youth 2030 strategy, UNDP will continue to invest in youth leadership within, through trainings, talent programmes and fellowships, and deploy additional YPS expertise, including through our global roster of consultants and secondments at country level, to be “fit for youth”.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me pay tribute to the many young people and peace organizations who work tirelessly for peace, equality, and sustainability. At UNDP, we witness your important efforts across the globe, every day; and, we are you ally.
I call on our partners to leave no youth behind and invest in meaningful youth engagement to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Thank you!