Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 27.04.2020
Mr. President,

I would like to express our thanks to you for bringing this cross-cutting issue to the attention of the Security Council. The recognition of the role of young people both in peace and conflict settings is a significant step towards building sustainable peace, combatting extremism and achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

The role of young people in the maintenance of peace and security has long been neglected. Today, young people between the ages of 10 to 24 constitute almost one third of the world population. One in four of these young people are affected by or living in regions fraught with conflict and violence.

Young people around the world strive for peace and justice as well as economic and social development. Their voices should be heard and their needs and demands should be addressed. Their capacities must be further improved. Investing in young people is an investment in the 2030 Agenda and in our global pledge to leave no one behind.

As we mark the fifth anniversary of the milestone Security Council Resolution 2250 (2015) this year, we need to step up our efforts to accelerate its implementation and amplify the voices of young people at all levels, by taking into account the crucial nexus between long-lasting peace and sustainable development.

In line with this understanding, Turkey’s youth policy encompasses a wide range of areas, including education, vocational training and employment, entrepreneurship and civic participation. Article 58 of the Turkish Constitution is devoted explicitly to youth, and rights of youth. The Ministry of Youth and Sports plays a central role in planning, implementing and monitoring the youth-related policies and strategies. It develops mechanisms for the participation of youth in all spheres of social life.

The COVID-19 crisis has revealed, among others, the importance of the role of youth and the value of inter-generational solidarity. Young people in Turkey actively contribute to the success of the fight against the ongoing pandemic, as active agents of their communities.

Mr. President,

Youth shoulder an immense burden in humanitarian crises. The World Humanitarian Summit, held in Istanbul in May 2016, has played a catalytic role in putting in place mechanisms to guarantee that young people are prioritized in the humanitarian system. It noted the urgency of upholding the rights of young people in humanitarian settings, including the right to access to secondary education as well as access to health services and information. Global Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action, launched in the Summit, has been key in guiding long-term commitment for youth in emergency situations.

As the largest refugee hosting country in the world, Turkey has taken significant actions to prioritize youth and children in its refugee policy. To cite a few examples, we have been working closely with the relevant UN agencies to address the social and health service needs of the young asylum-seekers. So far, we have granted more than 20.000 scholarships to those who are under temporary protection in Turkey.

Together with the UN agencies, we have established over 40 women and girls' safe spaces across the country. This cooperation has been expanded to a number of social service centers with a view to reaching over 1 million people in order to provide psychological support, legal advice and language lessons.

As stressed in the Secretary-General’s first report on youth, peace and security (S/2020/167), the engagement of refugee people in global discussions, such as the Global Compact on Refugees, has enabled the recognition of the significance of youth participation in humanitarian settings and helped galvanize commitment from Member States to improve their support for young refugees. We look forward to further steps to be taken in this direction by the international community.

Mr. President,

Security Council Resolution 2419 (2018) rightly focused on the need to increase the role of young people at decision-making processes concerning security, conflict resolution and peace, including peace agreements.

It is encouraging to see that some Governments, United Nations entities and non-governmental organizations have stepped up efforts to accelerate the implementation of the resolution. Yet, more efforts and investments should be made at the UN level to meaningfully incorporate them into decision-making processes and to address the underlying social, economic and political factors that may lead to radicalization and violent extremism.

In many regions around the world, we have come to see that full and active participation of women and young people in peace processes is imperative. We need to improve the role of women and young people in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peacebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation.

We also need to establish policies to ensure the incorporation of views and interests of young people into the design and implementation of development strategies and make better use of the analysis of age-disaggregated data to improve the possibilities of youth contribution to socio-economic life.

With this understanding, Turkey spearheaded efforts and worked with all stakeholders to address youth unemployment during its G20 Presidency in 2015. We built a consensus among G20 Members to commit to a reduction in the youth unemployment rate by 15 percent by 2025. Turkey’s efforts were successful in securing a specific target for youth unemployment for the first time in G20 history, with an accountability mechanism to be monitored by ILO and OECD.

Mr. President,

The launch of the Secretary-General’s Strategy on Youth: Youth 2030 is also the result of the growing acknowledgement of the need to advance our youth policies and focus our attention to the concrete needs of young people. At the same time, more remains to be done to deliver a coordinated UN response to realize their rights and unfold their capacities as agents of change. Turkey remains ready to contribute to the efforts of the Secretary-General to advance the youth agenda of the United Nations.

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, it is time to solidify our promise to young people by establishing a UN Youth Center through which we can all contribute to the implementation of Resolutions 2250 and 2419 and where young people can amplify their voices at the global level.

Thank you