Presenter: United Arab EmiratesLocation: United Nations

Mr. President,

We thank you for convening this Open Debate on Youth, Peace and Security. The UAE attributes special importance to the constructive role that youth play in the development of our young and fledgling country and we are therefore pleased to participate in this meeting today. Today, more importantly than ever, as we all face a global health crisis, we must champion young people as active agents in the global health and security nexus.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security and we thank the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for their leadership in taking on this initiative. This was a groundbreaking resolution that recognized the important and positive role that young people play in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security.

Since the adoption of resolution 2250, the world has seen the many ways in which young people are creatively seeking to prevent violence and consolidate peace across the globe, in devastated and conflict-affected societies as well as in those enjoying relative peace. Their work heralds the tremendous potential of peace and security dividends for all.

Young people across the globe articulated the view that peace and security is more than just the absence of violence and, as such, it is of universal concern. They stressed the importance of ending violence and addressing its symptoms as well as engaging with the underlying causes of corruption, inequality and social injustice.

Turning to the world’s struggle to face this pandemic, the role of youth has never been more vital. In the UAE, youth are volunteering to support our country’s efforts to navigate this global crisis through emergency response trainings and safety workshops. Young people also took part in the national sterilization program to disinfect the main cities in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The UAE continues to believe in the transformative leadership of youth at national, regional and international levels to address the world’s major challenges.

At the national level, the UAE’s leadership has taken concrete steps towards the meaningful inclusion of youth in decision-making processes. Since the appointment of a Minister of State for Youth Affairs in 2016, several mechanisms and initiatives have been institutionalized such as the establishment of youth councils and the adoption of a National Youth Strategy developed and championed by young Emiratis. These steps underpin an open policy of engagement, which is the cornerstone of nurturing a peaceful and thriving society.

At the regional level, the UAE continues to support youth in the Arab world. In a region shaped by pervasive security concerns, stereotypes associating young people with violence continue to be widespread and contagious. To counter this narrative, the UAE promotes a model of moderation, tolerance and acceptance. In this model, we believe that youth are not part of the problem, but rather partners in the quest for more peaceful and prosperous societies. In December 2019, the UAE hosted with the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism and Hedayah a regional conference on “Empowering Youth and Promoting Tolerance: Practical Approaches to Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism” in Abu Dhabi. The conference brought together 300 participants and provided an opportunity to discuss initiatives and action plans to strengthen resilience against radicalization leading to terrorism, with a focus on youth empowerment and tolerance at the national and regional levels. This type of partnership is important if we are to benefit from and support young people’s contributions to peace and to realize the potential of 1.8 billion young people globally.

Youth-led peace and security work is noticeably innovative and resourceful in using art, sport and media. From interpersonal engagements to spontaneous, autonomous and leaderless social movements mobilized online, the diversity of youth initiatives in this sphere is significant. Building on this, the UAE is home to initiatives like the Arab Youth Center, which provides opportunities for young Arab pioneers in different fields to mobilize their peers and take part in the sustainable development of their communities.

At the international level, the UAE launched the Youth Delegates Program in 2016, which involves Emirati youth in the official UAE delegations participating in General Assembly meetings, committees and relevant international fora. The program includes their participation in negotiations, side events and high-level meetings. In a similar vein, the UAE encourages the Security Council to invite more young leaders to brief on a regular basis to reflect on individual experiences while pursuing peace and security in their societies.

Finally, the UAE reaffirms its commitment to the important role youth can play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and as a key aspect of the sustainability, inclusiveness and success of peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. We also take this opportunity to encourage Member States and relevant United Nations organs and entities to consider ways to increase meaningful and inclusive participation of youth in peacebuilding efforts in the furtherance of the youth, peace and security agenda. I thank you, Mr. President.