Thank you, Madam President,

And welcome back to this Chamber, Madam Minister.

“We still believe in the promise of a better world for everyone. Do you?” Here is the question posed by young people in an open letter to world leaders, shared by the UN Youth Bureau just one month ago.

Almost 25 years ago, 5 years after the momentum kick-started by the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Council passed Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), promising to open the doors of peace processes to women and to better protect them. Nearly 10 years ago, with Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS), it promised the same to young people. Today's debate gives us the opportunity to review the implementation of these promises. I thank Mozambique for inviting us here. I would also like to thank the speakers for the expertise they have shared with us, and I welcome the opinion of the Peacebuilding Commission.

Madam President,

In recent decades, we have broadened our vision of peace and recognized the diversity of the people who build it.

We can be proud of these achievements, of the recognition of the essential role of women in peace and security, and of youth action in conflict resolution.

But let's turn to the present. Where are we today, according to the latest reports from the Secretary-General?

For women, the doors to peace-building are, at best, ajar, and even seem to be closing. Women as mediators, negotiators and signatories are still the exception rather than the norm in peace processes. As we heard today from United Nations representatives, if you look at the protection figures, they're not encouraging.

As for young people in peace processes, the picture is likewise mixed, as we have heard too. While commendable initiatives have been implemented, for example in Colombia, Yemen and the Central African Republic, young people generally suffer more violence, are rarely involved in peace negotiations and often lose trust in public institutions.

Moreover, the approach of the double anniversary of resolutions 1325 and 2250 reminds me of the double barrier that young women must overcome to participate in peacebuilding.

One promising way of overcoming these barriers is through networking.

Firstly, networking between women and young people committed to peace. Networks such as FemWise Africa demonstrate the success of this instrument in terms of visibility, mutual learning and knowledge transfer, and protection. It's all about creating networks where they don't exist yet, linking women's and youth networks where they do, and actively extending them to more young women.

Secondly, policy-makers need to integrate and use these networks, and establish genuine partnerships with them. National WPS and YPS action plans can help to take account of each context and ensure that women and young people have a stronger role in peace-building.

Finally, networking at multilateral level to implement the WPS and YPS Agendas. In this respect, we welcome the essential role of the advice of the Peacebuilding Commission in the Security Council.

Madam President,

The experience of many peace processes shows that the more peace is rooted in each individual, the more solid it is and the more it can grow. It is the actions of society as a whole that sustain peace. Building this peace is too big a challenge to do without the expertise and experience of women and young people alike.

As member states, we will again have the opportunity to keep the promises we made almost 25 years ago: with firm and strong messages in the Pact for the Future and in the 2025 Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture.

Switzerland will continue to call for respect for human rights and international humanitarian law in its efforts. Without protection women and young people cannot participate fully and on an equal footing. Switzerland will also continue to work to ensure that the voice of women and young people is fully heard in this Council, and that we act with them. Following your example, Madam President, we will pay particular attention to this issue during our Presidency of the Council in October, when we will hold the annual debate on “Women, Peace and Security”.

We've listened carefully, and will try to take on board all the recommendations made here, with determination and sincerity. So that, with a growing agency as it has been said, young people can continue to believe in the promise of a better world, or, in Madame Diof's words, “be the actors of change”. 

Thank you for your attention.