The Youth4Disarmament Initiative and its mandate
Disarmament is at the heart of the system of collective security set out in the United Nations Charter.
The purpose of this system was nothing less than the elimination of war as an instrument of foreign policy “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.
Disarmament is a tool to help prevent armed conflict and to mitigate its impacts when it occurs. Measures for disarmament are pursued for many reasons, including to maintain international peace and security, uphold the principles of humanity, protect civilians, promote sustainable development, and prevent and end armed conflict.
Young people, the largest generation in history, have a critical role to play in raising awareness and developing new approaches to bring about change to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction and conventional arms, including their proliferation.
The UN General Assembly reaffirmed the important and positive contribution that young people can make in sustaining peace and security through its unanimous support of its biennial resolution on "Youth, disarmament and non-proliferation", adopted on 12 December 2019 and on 6 December 2021.
In 2021, the United Nations General Assembly recognized young people in all countries as key agents for social change, economic development, and technological innovation.
The General Assembly resolution 76/45 requests specific measures to promote the meaningful and inclusive participation and empowerment of youth on disarmament and non-proliferation issues, including through the effective utilization of the dedicated digital platform Youth4Disarmament & token grants and awards supported by voluntary contributions.
Resolution 76/45 also requests the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States, the United Nations, other relevant international and regional organizations and civil society organizations on the promotion of youth engagement and empowerment activities in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. These inputs will be outlined in a report to be submitted to the General Assembly at its seventy-eighth session.
By its resolution 74/64 of 12 December 2019, entitled “Youth, Disarmament and Non-proliferation”, the General Assembly reaffirmed the important and positive contribution that young people can make in sustaining peace and security.
Also in 2019, the Office for Disarmament Affairs launched a new youth outreach initiative, called “Youth4Disarmament”, in conjunction with the framework of the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament.
In his Agenda for Disarmament, issued in May 2018, the Secretary-General recognized young people as a tremendous force for change in the world who have “proved their power time and again in support of the cause of disarmament. In this connection, he committed the Office for Disarmament Affairs, in partnership with all interested entities, to further invest in disarmament education, including through the establishment of a platform for youth engagement.
Recognizing the importance of young people in effecting change, the Office established the Youth4Disarmament initiative to connect geographically diverse young people with experts to learn about current international security challenges, the work of the United Nations and how they can actively participate. By placing youth engagement and empowerment at the core of its disarmament education efforts, the Office for Disarmament Affairs aims to support the Secretary-General’s recommendation to improve youth access to technical support and capacity-building while providing space for their participation. In the framework of its disarmament education programme, the Office aims to impart knowledge and skills to young people and empower them to make their contribution to disarmament and sustaining peace, as national and world citizens.
Listen to #Youth4Disarmamament members talk about the importance of the initiative in this video: