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Strengthening youth participation in conflict resolution and political processes

The Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, meeting today by videoconference, deplores that nearly six years after the adoption of the first landmark resolution of the UN Security Council on youth, peace and security, little progress has been made and that the potential of young people as agents of peace actors remains largely unused.

According to the committee, involving youth merely in the prevention and resolution of conflicts is not enough; they should also be engaged in political processes and decision-making that affects them, in order to address global challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, human rights or the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) set for 2030. In this regard, parliamentarians regret that the share of young people in the legislature has decreased over the years – only 3.9% of national parliamentarians in Europe are under 30 years old.

By adopting the report of Inka Hopsu (Finland, SOC), the committee called on member States to consider young people as indispensable partners in any peace or political processes and to allocate adequate resources to youth organisations at local and national level, so as to ensure the sustainability of their activities.

According to parliamentarians, the role of education remains essential in the development of core competences for the construction of peaceful societies, and they advocate introducing democratic citizenship and peace education into the formal school curricula from the earliest age, as well as courses on conflict transformation, reconciliation, human rights, political participation and intercultural dialogue.

The adopted draft resolution also calls on member States to accelerate the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on youth, peace and security, by devising national road maps as well as dedicated policies at national, local or regional level.

Finally, the committee underlined that national parliaments have a significant role to play in strengthening links with young people, in particular by promoting youth participation in political processes, for example by lowering the voting and eligibility age, and considering youth quotas for political parties to enhance the selection of young candidates.