United Nations — The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday unanimously approved its first resolution focused entirely on the impact of armed conflict on young people and recognizing the rise of radicalization and violent extremism among youths.
The resolution, sponsored by Jordan, urges the 193 U.N. member states to increase the number of young people aged 18 to 29 in decision-making at all levels to prevent and resolve conflicts — and in efforts to counter violent extremism "which can be conducive to terrorism."
Assistant U.N. Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco said the resolution recognizes the role of young people in building peace. He said it will mark "a shift in the way the world seeks to end violence and build inclusive and peaceful societies."
Ahmad Alhendawi, the secretary-general's envoy on youth, said the resolution changes the predominantly negative narrative on youth as perpetrators of violence or its victims and recognizes the significant role that young people can play in peacebuilding.
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According to the United Nations, an estimated 600 million young people live in fragile and conflict-affected areas.
The resolution recognizes "that today's generation of youth is the largest the world has ever known and that young people often form the majority of the population of countries affected by armed conflict."
The resolution expresses concern at the increased use "by terrorists and their supporters" of the Internet and other new information technologies to recruit and incite youth "to commit terrorist acts" as well as to plan and finance activities of extremist groups.
It calls for global cooperation "to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources to incite support for terrorist acts." It also urges governments to address "conditions and factors leading to the rise of radicalization to violence and violent extremism among youth."
The resolution calls on all parties to armed conflict to protect youths and other civilians from attacks and from sexual violence, and it urges U.N. member states to investigate and prosecute those responsible for genocide and war crimes, including against youths.