Statement by

H.E. Dr Mohamed Asim, Minister of Foreign Affairs

at the UNSC Open Debate on Youth, Peace, and Security

23 April 2018

Mr President,

I wish to thank the Government of Peru for convening this Open Debate, which is the second to be convened in under Peru’s presidency this month. The focus on Youth, Peace, and Security, is most appropriate to complement the High Level Meeting of the General Assembly on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace. 

My delegation welcomes the remarks by His Excellency Néstor Popolizio, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru, Ms. Jayathame Wickramanayake, the Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Youth, the Member States, and the Representatives from Civil Society, which have enriched this insightful debate. 

Mr President, 

The youth bring with them extraordinary level of energy and passion and that can be put to use for the cause of peace, to enhance security, and to maintain stability. There is a need to explore policy and institutional reforms to engage the youth more productively in creating an environment for peace to prevail. Discussions, such as this today, serves as a useful platform to share experiences and best practices and to enhance progress on the implementation of the Council’s Resolution 2250. 

We have to recognize that in many countries, the youth demographic is often wrongly stereotyped and stigmatized as the culprits of instability. Consequently, national policies and strategies are often formulated to target youth as an ‘issue’ to be dealt with, overlooking the potential they have to offer in providing innovative solutions.  

In the Maldives, we believe that the goals and aspirations of the youth are driven by a strong desire for peace and security. It is often external aggravating social and economic circumstances that lead to their involvement in activities which may lead to disruption of peace and security. Therefore, our national policies aim to mitigate these circumstances through ensuring economic inclusion, gender equality, universal education, and raising awareness to cater to the needs of the youth.  

As recognized in the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security pursuant to the Resolution 2250, we must ensure that the rights of the youth demographic do not get lost in the gap between rights afforded to children, and the rights and political entitlements they benefit from as adults. This important transitional period from children to adults must be catered for, to build societies, which are resilient to conflict. 

In this regard, the Maldives also advocates for inclusive policies which recognizes and accommodates the concerns of the youth. Constructive and inclusive dialogue with the youth instils the ideas of democratic societies, and resolution of conflict through peaceful means, carving the right path for future generations.  

My delegation also wishes to highlight the importance of partnerships to enhance the engagement of youth through innovative means such as art, sports and media, which have a wider outreach in targeting this population demographic. The Government of the Maldives has made significant investment to ensure that the youth are afforded the necessary social and economic opportunities, and help to build cohesion and unity among the youth. 

In this context, I wish to highlight the crucial role that media, including social media, has to play in shaping the minds and perceptions of future generations. It is important to limit the spread of misinformation, and ensure that ideologies that contribute to unity and social cohesion are propagated amongst the youth. It is crucial to strike a balance in guaranteeing freedom of speech, while ensuring that incitements to violence and extremist ideologies are not proliferated.  

Mr President,  

The Maldives has always perceived the youth as partners for peace, rather than a cause of instability. My delegation advocates to change the perception of youth in a similar fashion amongst countries in conflict, and where conflict may emerge. Youth have a strong potential to contribute to the prevention of conflict through building cohesion and resilience within societies, and their role must not be overlooked. Catering to a youth-inclusive approach would require significant investments, which will reap invaluable benefits, by providing a stable, prosperous and peaceful future for generations to come.

Thank you Mr President.