The Missing Peace: Independent Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security (A/72/761–S/2018/86) [EN/AR/RU]


I. Introduction

  1. There are extraordinary young people creatively seeking ways to prevent violence and consolidate peace across the globe, in devastated and conflict-affected societies as well as in those enjoying relative peace. The present progress study, prepared in response to Security Council resolution 2250 (2015), offered a unique opportunity to listen to them and learn about the multiple ways they work for peace and security. Their work promises the potential of a tremendous peace and security dividend for Governments and international actors. However, many young people are frustrated by the tendency of their Governments and international actors to treat youth as a problem to be solved, instead of as partners for peace. Young people throughout the world expressed their loss of faith and trust in their Governments, the international community and systems of governance that they feel excluded from, contributing to a strong and ongoing sense of injustice. This must be addressed in order to benefit from and support young people’s contributions to peace and to realize the potential of 1.8 billion young people globally. In the progress study, Governments and international actors are called upon to undergo a seismic shift and recognize young people as “the missing peace”.

  2. The preparation of the present study involved a participatory process with young people at its heart. A diverse group of young people was engaged in the research, with efforts made to involve those frequently excluded from global policy processes, such as refugee youth, former gang members and youth living in hard-to-reach locations. Face-to-face consultations were held with a total of 4,230 young people, including 281 focus group discussions in 44 countries, as well as 7 regional and 5 national consultations. Research also included 27 country-focused studies, 19 thematic submissions from partners, 5 online thematic consultations, a global survey of youthled civil society peacebuilding organizations and mapping exercises of interventions by Member States and United Nations entities focused on young people in relation to peace and security. A full, in-depth version of the study will be published in the course of 2018.

  3. The study is divided into five parts. Section II reflects on stereotypical conceptions of youth and debunks a series of policy myths that have misguided policy and programmatic approaches related to youth, violence and conflict. Section III illustrates the breadth and diversity of young people’s contributions to peace, from local to transnational networks. Section IV explores the social contract between young people and their Governments, as well between youth and their communities, offering insights on political participation, economic inclusion and educational opportunities. Section V provides a framework for partnering with and investing in young people to prevent violence, to promote their inclusion and to translate the demographic dividend into a peace dividend — the core strategy for the implementation of the youth and peace and security agenda.