Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilization
Panel Discussion on Youth & Peacebuilding
June 17, UNHQ
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is always good to be speaking to and be among young people like yourselves. I am very pleased to see you all again and I hope you have enjoyed your day here in New York city and all the diversity this city has to offer.
Today’s panel discussion lies at the heart of UN work in the areas of peacbuilding, reconciliation and the prevention of conflict and violent extremism. The distinguished panelists today will explore how can the UN strengthen its engagement and partner with youth on several fronts. But most importantly you will hear later today from the United Nations Secretary General himself about the global efforts undertaken under his guidance in the area of peacebuilding and global peace and security.
Let me start by telling you this : Strengthening peace and diffusing tensions that might escalate to armed conflicts is the raison d’etre of the United Nations.
However, as we look around us we see that global security landscape is shifting dramatically beneath our feet. At hand, we have raging violent extremism , food insecurity, poverty, climate change and economic inequity. For me, I cannot envision any global solutions for these problems without the fresh input of the young minds. Afterall, youth constitute almost two thirds of the population of the world we share together. In addition, in most of the conflict-affected or post-affected countries for more than 50% of the population.
However, I would like to note that until now our discussion on youth issues, peace and security has been limited, both in focus and the degree to which it actually engages young people. For youth, and perhaps you all agree with me on that , the international community still lacks a comprehensive positioning and policy to fulfil the aspirations of young people around the world.
Over the past years, the world’s attention on terrorism and violent extremism has resulted in a strong focus on the role of youth in carrying out terrorist acts.
Sadly, recent dramatic events have demonstrated how young people can be seduced to commit heinous crimes and alarming acts of violence while also being victims of such acts. The reasons are obvious: statistics show that youth in countries with low GDP, limited educational and employment opportunities , exclusion from social and political participation and inequity , were the main drivers for violent extremism and radicalization.
So let’s use this platform – the UN platform – to amplify and scale your efforts. Your participation is essential to successful peace-building . In the face of violent extremism, partnering with young people, MUST be part of the solution.
I am personally committed to doing so.