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Finland and the Anna Lindh Foundation join forces at the UN on Youth, Peace and Security

29 May 2018 - The Anna Lindh Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue joined the Government of Finland in a strategic forum at the UN Headquarters on “Young Peacebuilders for Sustaining Peace”. The forum took place on the eve of the first Youth Dialogue in the UN General Assembly that aims to reinforce youth-led dialogue and peacebuilding at the global level.

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Miroslav Lajčák, underlined at the opening of the meeting: “If we don’t pull up a chair for young people, we will be left behind. Throughout history, young people have created positive social change both with and without the United Nations. Our relevance depends on youth involvement and not the other way around.”

The UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, referenced the new Progress Study on UN Security Council Resolution 2250 (Youth, Peace and Security): “A next step in our work together is to be more strategic for building local partnerships for 2250 and in strengthening the evidence base through access to data and research in youth-led initiative.” Ms Wickramanayake also underlined that Finland was a leading example in investing in the implementation of the YPS Progress Study.

The core message captured through the Progress Study is that there is a growing trust gap between young people and their governments, multilateral organisations, and international civil society organizations, and recommends investing in the upstream and existing youth-led initiative.

During the meeting, there was a discussion on how to effectively leverage further political support for the implementation of Resolution 2250 and open doors for young people to shape policy narratives. It was noted that Finland is the first Member State to have developed a national action plan for 2250 and that can provide a model of practice for the Member States in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and wider region.

Kai Souer, ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN, said: “It will be important to work closely with partners like the Anna Lindh Foundation. The first Youth Dialogue of the General Assembly will be a key milestone in cultivating a far-reaching network of champions to invest in this shared agenda.”

Paul Walton, Director of Partnerships and Strategy at the Foundation and member of the steering group for UN SCR 2250, underlined: “We know from our work with cities and local partnerships across the Euro-Mediterranean region that there is an enormous practice of youth-led dialogue and social change that we all need to collectively make visible and invest in.”

The Anna Lindh Foundation and the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed this month, in May 2018, a new funding agreement to scale-up the impact of the Foundation’s flag-ship debate programme Young Mediterranean Voices. A week ago, YMV alumni also met with HR/VP Federica Mogherini in Brussels to take forward policy actions on the implementation of UN SCR 2250.