Time for the EU to implement the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda: Could Finland serve as a role model?
By Theresa Rohrhirsch
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📍 As the first country in the world, Finland adopted a National Action Plan to implement the UN Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda in August 2021. The YPS agenda recognises the importance of young people in preventing violence and promoting peace.
👉 The starting point for the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda was the adoption of Resolution 2250 by the United Nations Security Council in 2015. Recognising the important and positive role of young people in promoting peace and stability marked a societal shift in the perception of youth. It was crucial to overcoming the stereotype of youth as either perpetrators or victims. Sustainable peace requires the involvement of the whole of society, which means the participation of young people is also required and should not be considered optional.
🔎 In recent developments, the EU has extended its commitment to the YPS agenda. With the Youth Action Plan in EU external action 2022-2027 (YAP), the European Commission launched the first action plan to take the YPS agenda into consideration. Drawing on the lessons learned from the Finnish implementation of the YPS agenda, several recommendations for the EU can be identified on how to better implement the YPS agenda as part of the newly published YAP.
💡 The study recommends that European decision makers should:
- Include written commitments to the YPS agenda in different EU policy documents: The YPS agenda should not only be included in the EU's Youth Action Plan in external action, but also in other key policy documents like the Strategic Compass for Security and Defence (2022) and in the EU's Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2020-2024).
- Institutionalize positions and responsibilities within the EU's structures: The EU should establish the position of a Youth Coordinator in each Directorate General (DG) of the European Commission and in the European External Action Service (EEAS) to ensure youth participation and the promotion of the YPS agenda across policy fields. Moreover, a cross-institutional working group for the YPS agenda should be created together with the Youth Coordinators.
- Implement young people’s ideas and suggestions: To take young people’s ideas and perspectives better into account, the cross-institutional working group for YPS should consult youth organisations and youth representatives active in the areas of YPS. This would also increase the outreach of the EU among young people.
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