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Thank you, Mr. President, for convening this important Open Debate on Youth, Peace and Security, and for your continued support for youth issues. We join others in thanking the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Youth and the lead author of the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security, for their briefings.
Thanks to the leadership of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the resolution 2250 was adopted almost three years ago. Since then, there has been significant effort to mainstream and highlight the positive work of young people in issues of peace and security. The United Arab Emirates welcomes the efforts leading to the Progress Study, and commends its participatory approach. We find it especially valuable that long-held and stereotypical ideas about such a diverse group are challenged, inviting us to take a more nuanced approach when crafting policy related to youth.
The UAE places great importance on a more comprehensive notion of peace, with a focus on the prevention of extremism and violence while addressing root causes. The Study highlights that in our quest for peace and security, youth are “indispensable allies”. And here I would like to underscore the importance of the work of young women especially. The Women, Peace and Security – Youth, Peace and Security agendas carry advantageous overlaps, and we encourage building on the achievements of the former.
Taking note of the high numbers of youth that experience violence worldwide highlighted in the study, and against a backdrop of a region beset by conflict in recent years, the United Arab Emirates looks to its youth, and the youth of the Arab world, as positive drivers of peace.
With a strong political backing from the highest level, the UAE’s leadership has taken concrete steps nationally towards the meaningful inclusion of youth, in the decision-making processes. In 2016, the United Arab Emirates appointed a young Minister of State for Youth Affairs. Since then, several mechanisms and initiatives have been institutionalized since the appointment, including the establishment of youth councils at every level of government, and the adoption of a National Youth Strategy. These steps underpin an open policy of engagement, which is the cornerstone of nurturing a peaceful and thriving society.
It is common understanding that maintaining peace is not merely ensuring the absence of violence. The UAE holds the view that many of the challenges in our region cannot be solved without exploring the potential of youth and their active involvement. Our role as policy-makers is to provide youth with the proper tools for success – a good education, competitive job markets, equal opportunities, and a nurturing environment – all of which, as the Progress Study shows, are some of the factors that tip the scales in favor of growth and peace.
In the UAE, we take pride in supporting a tolerant, moderate model that provides alternatives to the cycles of extremism and violence that have ensnared our region, with the aim of unlocking a talented, creative, and innovative generation. At the heart of this model is a focus on prevention, which underpins the stakes and investments we have made while pursuing a policy of engaging and empowering youth. Building on this, the UAE is home to initiatives like the Arab Youth Center, which provides opportunities for young Arab pioneers in different fields to mobilize their peers and take part in the sustainable development of their communities.
In closing, Mr. President, it is our duty as Member States to mainstream and embrace youth in our work at the United Nation as one of the solutions to reach our goals. The United Arab Emirates has launched the Youth Delegates Program in 2016, which involves Emirati youth in the official UAE delegations participating in the General Assembly meetings, committees and relevant international forums. Convinced of the importance of such programs, we encourage all States to launch their programs for youth delegates and enrich the work of the General Assembly with a youth perspective.