On December 4, 2023, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mr. Leonardo Santos Simão, engaged in a regional dialogue with young women and men from West African and Sahelian countries to mark the commemoration of the 8th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 (2015) on Youth, Peace and Security.
Over 150 young women and men from 17 countries in the region participated in person and online. This gathering facilitated the creation of a platform for young people to express their concerns and views, and to exchange on the implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda.
The Special Representative took the opportunity to recall that Resolution 2250 (2015) is a message of hope for the millions of young people living in conflict zones in Africa who, hostage to this scourge, have become perpetrators or victims of violence. He emphasized that young women and men play a crucial role in conflict prevention, community resilience and social cohesion, bringing innovative solutions to problems. He also recalled that supporting young people by investing in them and including them in all decision-making processes can help societies transform and achieve lasting peace.
The discussion, structured around the five pillars of Resolution 2250 (2015) – Participation – Protection – Prevention – Partnership – Disengagement and Reintegration, enabled young people to showcase their initiatives, share successful approaches, and offer suggestions and recommendations to UNOWAS and its partners. The dialogue provided a space for networking and strengthened collaboration between young people, activists and civil society, who are all striving for peace and security in the West Africa and Sahel region. They stressed the importance of youth participation in all decision-making processes to strengthen a sustainable society, and emphasized that the involvement of young men and women from diverse backgrounds in conflict prevention and peacekeeping requires recognition of their needs and potential.
In support of youth efforts, UNOWAS has launched a Youth Directory, with the aim of creating a central resource gathering information, contacts and initiatives essential to the “Youth, Peace and Security” agenda, as well as promoting the networking of the actors involved and encouraging collaboration, synergy and coordination to avoid duplication, and the exchange of best practices and lessons learned.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).