Nigerian coalition on youth peace and security marks 7th anniversary of UNSCR Resolution 2250

By Nwamaka Chigbo

THE Coalition on Youth Peace and Security on Friday, December 9, commemorated the 7th Anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution, UNSCR, 2250 on Youth Peace and Security which was unanimously adopted in December 2015.

Briefing the media on the auspicious occasion, Theophilus Ekpon, co-chair of the Nigerian Coalition on Youth Peace and Security, noted that the event was organised in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. He said that Nigeria has domesticated the UNSCR 2250 and is working out its core values via the development of the National Action Plan on Youth Peace and security, which the Coalition is presently implementing.

MR. THEOPHILUS EKPON

Co-Chair (Nigerian Coalition On Youth Peace And Security)

The UNSCR 2250, he said is the first fully dedicated Resolution to recognize the important and positive role young women and men play in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security. It recognizes that the energy and creativity of young people should be harnessed and actively engaged in shaping lasting peace and contributing to justice and reconciliation and that a large youth population presents a demographic dividend that can contribute to lasting peace and economic prosperity if inclusive policies are in place.

With Mr. Theophilus Ekpon at the briefing amongst others was, Maryam Ibrahim Sani Co- Chair, Nigeria Coalition on Youth and Security an ambassador of Peace.

MARYAM IBRAHIM SANI

Co-Chair, Nigeria Coalition on Youth and Security

The commemoration of the UNSCR 2250 gave an insight into the vision and mission embodied by the Resolution and its core values.

He said the UNSCR 2250 acknowledges that the growth of violent extremism, especially amongst young women and men, threatens stability and development, can often derail peace-building efforts, and foment conflict. The Resolution stresses the importance of addressing the conditions and factors leading to the rise of violent radicalization and extremism amongst youth. It also notes the important role young women and men can play as positive role models in preventing and countering violent extremism. A reference to the Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism to integrate youth’s participation, leadership, and empowerment as core to the United Nation’s strategy and responses, is included.

Security Council Resolution 2250 specifically identifies five main pillars for action: Participation: calling on Member States to involve young people in conflict prevention and resolution, in violence prevention, and in the promotion of social cohesion. Member States are urged to consider ways to increase the representation of youth in decision-making at all levels.

Protection: recalling the obligations to protect civilians, including young people, during armed conflict and in post-conflict times, and in particular from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.

Prevention: urging the facilitation of enabling environments, investments in socio-economic development and quality education for young women and young men, and the creation of

mechanisms to promote a culture of peace, tolerance, intercultural and interreligious dialogue that involve youth.

Partnership: highlighting the need to increase political, financial, technical and logistical support for the work with young peace builders by relevant UN entities as well as regional and international organizations. It also highlights the importance of partnering with youth, local communities and non-governmental actors in countering violence extremism.

Disengagement and reintegration: for young women and men directly involved in armed conflict, including through youth employment opportunities, inclusive labour policies, national youth employment action plans in partnership with the private sector, relevant education opportunities, and support for youth-led and peace building organizations as partners in youth employment and entrepreneurship programs.

It is against this backdrop that Nigeria began the process to develop its YPS NAP to domesticate UNSCR 2250 and subsequently, the AU Continental Framework on Youth, Peace and Security (CFYPS) in Nigeria. The CFYPS which draws inspiration from UNSCR 2250 has the overall objective to facilitate the meaningful engagement and participation of African youth in all spectrums of peace and security at national, regional and continental levels and facilitate the recognition and appreciation of efforts of young Africans in peace and security.

In a bid to localize UNSCR 2250 in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry for Youth and Sports Development (FMYSD) in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA), and the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) with support from Search for Common Ground (SFCG) launched the UNSCR 2250 in Abuja in October, 2016 to bring attention to the issues of Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) – marking a renewed focus on the YPS agenda in Nigeria. Participants at the launch suggested that the Nigeria Coalition on YPS should be created, and a National Action Plan on YPS should be developed. Today, the country can now boast of the Nigeria Coalition on YPS and a National Action Plan on YPS.

The process to develop a NAP on YPS in Nigeria was robust including over a dozen in-person consultations with young people and other stakeholders in the form of national conferences, zonal workshops, national validation meetings, and community level focus

group discussions to bring together youth groups, civil society, government, security agencies, the media, traditional and religious institutions from communities across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. Inputs were also received through over one dozen online consultations and meetings. Several youth and civil society organizations as well as the AU through its Youth for Peace (Africa) Program sent in written inputs. Notably, these consultations were preceded by a desk review, development of structured instruments, pre-test, and validation of the instruments before use.

Subsequently, the draft YPS NAP was subjected to an affirmation meeting on the 27th of August, 2021 before its launch on November 1st, 2021 by the Honorable Ministers of Youth and Sports Development, and Women Affairs.

The Youth, Peace, and Security agenda in Nigeria has the Nigeria Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security and its co-Chairs with the support of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development leading its implementation. The YPS NAP (2021 – 2024) which was developed to reflect and build upon the five pillars of the UNSCR 2250 is now in its pilot phase of implementation. The FCT (Abuja), Anambra, Delta, Kaduna, Oyo, and Plateau states have been chosen as pilot states to measure impact and collect data that will guide scaling full implementation to other states. We are hopeful that the implementation of the YPS NAP will open positive and sustainable opportunities for young people, including the space to express their talents and contribute to the lasting peace and development of our great nation, Nigeria.

Ekpon also dwelt on the coalition’s game plan of working with the Youth of Nigeria to make relevant members of the Society through organising various capacity workshops, outreach/advocacy/ providing psychosocial support, especially for those undergoing one type of trauma or another, through facing some extreme situation. And insecurities in the land. He ended by saying that it’s time the youths are seen as part of the solution and not the problem. But this can only happen if all the stakeholders take seriously Resolution 2250 and put It to work by establishing action for plan development for youth, peace and security, which is what the coalition on youth, peace and security is strenuously working on.

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