Youth are among the first victims of radicalization and conflict. Their participation in the prevention and resolution of disputes is therefore essential for the building of sustainable peace. As political leaders closest to a country’s youth, young parliamentarians have a key role in addressing drivers of conflict and contributing to solutions.
Building on UN Security Council resolution 2250 adopted in 2015, which sets out international commitments on youth, peace and security, we work with young parliamentarians to help galvanize their action to prevent violent extremism and contribute to reconciliation and peace building.
One pillar of our activities is to raise awareness and coordinate action through regional and international meetings. For example, in a series of meetings on preventing violent extremism, young parliamentarians committed to enhance legislative and oversight action to strengthen youth engagement in the establishment and implementation of plans of action to prevent violent extremism. This also includes addressing the drivers of extremism, such as lack of socioeconomic opportunities for young people, discrimination and marginalization.
We also brought a parliamentary perspective to broader international efforts to enhance policies for youth, peace and security through the participation of young MPs at United Nations meetings and research. For example, we contributed to the United Nations progress study for UNSC resolution 2250. Informed by extensive interviews with young parliamentarians from around the world, our recommendations included the establishment and reinforcement of linkages between youth and parliament, as well as the use of young parliamentarians as mediators and as promoters of dialogue in divided societies.
Whether in the prevention of violent extremism or conflict resolution, a common theme throughout our work is that for youth to be part of the solution, they need to be effective participants in political fora. Another reason why enhancing youth representation in parliaments is so important.