The subject of today's debate is important and I would like to thank you for having organized the debate in a way as to allow all member states to participate.
As Switzerland wrote in its two letters to the Presidency of the Council on behalf of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, Switzerland welcomes the latest adjustments to the Council's working methods to ensure that they remain up to the standards of transparency and inclusiveness during the COVID-19 crisis.
In line with resolutions 2250(2015) and 2419(2018), Switzerland considers it essential to increase the participation and contribution of young women and men in the area of peace and security.
Allow me to highlight three points that are particularly important in this context.
First, young people constitute a large proportion of the population in countries affected by armed conflict. Currently, many young people see a worsening of their situation due to the threat of COVID-19. Their specific needs must be taken into account. Switzerland has set up a rapid reaction instrument to support the fight against the pandemic and its consequences on human security. These efforts include, for example, civil society activities to raise awareness about the effects of COVID-19 in Syria, and to strengthen trust-building mechanisms among communities and especially Syrian youth.
Second, young women and men are drivers of change. Their potential for action must be strengthened at all stages of peacebuilding. Switzerland welcomes the Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative of the UN Peacebuilding Fund, which has boosted the empowerment of young people in recent years. The agendas on Youth, Peace and Security, and on Women, Peace and Security are mutually reinforcing, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of the implementation of the Council's mandate. Switzerland calls on the Council to adopt a proactive position by strengthening the role of young people across its agenda items, in particular by inviting more young briefers. The Council must also recognize the indispensable role of civil society in peace and security. The increased involvement of youth in sustaining peace is also a demand expressed during the consultations of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture Review held in Geneva in February.
Third, creating economic conditions conducive to youth employment is an important lever for lasting peace. Switzerland supports a joint project of the International Labour Organization and the Peacebuilding Support Office to create jobs in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. This project is part of the wider UN effort to make more systematic use of such programmes in order to sustain peace. The inclusion of young people in the labour markets improves their perspectives. In Myanmar, for example, Switzerland is providing local stakeholders with expertise from its hotel industry in order to develop skills in the tourism sector. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Swiss vocational education training programmes contributed to reduce the high youth unemployment rate.
The inclusion of young people is an important condition for conflict resolution, sustaining peace and prevention. The resolutions adopted by the Council – in particular resolution 2250, adopted five years ago – set the pace for the way ahead. Strengthening youth engagement for peace and security means acting now for a better future.
I thank you.