Welcome Remarks to the Group of Friends of Youth and Security as Group Co-Chair

Group of Friends of Youth and Security as Group Co-Chair. (OSCE)

Welcome Remarks to the Group of Friends of Youth and Security as Group Co-Chair

As prepared for delivery by Chargé d’Affaires Courtney Austrian
to the Group of Friends of Youth and Security
March 12, 2021

Thank you, Permanent Representative Cuesta.

Dear Special Representative Marbinah, Ambassador Funered, Ambassador Dzhusupov, Madam Secretary General, invited guests, colleagues:

The United States welcomes this opportunity to co-chair the Group of Friends of Youth and Security.  The OSCE’s concept of comprehensive security provides a framework for youth to shape decisions which affect them. OSCE’s Group of Friends provides a platform for us to work with and for youth, mainstream the youth, peace and security agenda, and highlight the positive impact that OSCE and other organizations are already making towards these important goals.

Ambassador Cuesta, under your dedicated and sustained leadership on youth issues, OSCE has achieved several, important milestones upon which OSCE can build, namely the drafting of key recommendations on mainstreaming youth into the security agenda—the so-called “Malaga Youth Decalogue”—emanating from the OSCE’s 2017 Youth Conference, the 2018 Ministerial Council Declaration on the Role of Youth in Contributing to Peace and Security Efforts, and the 2019 OSCE Youth Forum in Bratislava on Engaging Youth for a Safer Future.

We look forward to working with all participating States and OSCE’s executive structures, institutions, and autonomous bodies to build upon these and other initiatives which promote meaningful youth participation.   In particular, we recall the ongoing work of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and the work of OSCE field missions and their youth advisory groups.

A youth perspective is increasingly integrated into OSCE’s work. In addition to this youth-focused meeting, Monday’s event on Women’s Leadership in Peace Building and Conflict Prevention highlighted contributions of young recipients of OSCE’s Scholarship for Peace and a Core Expert of OSCE’s flagship youth engagement project, Perspectives 20-30. On Wednesday, the United States co-chaired a joint Forum for Security Cooperation/Permanent Council meeting on

UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, reaffirmed the role of women—including young women—in enhancing security across the region.

In the United States, the Biden-Harris administration pledged “to continue to put an emphasis on creating opportunities for young people to shape, guide and participate in the government-wide effort to build back better.” I invite anyone who doubts the power of young people to serve as resilient innovators and agents of positive social change to watch National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman deliver her poem “The Hill We Climb” on the steps of the U.S. Capital during the inauguration in January.

But there is always more we can do. In this regard, we thank the Swedish Chair for its commitment to advancing the youth agenda, notably through the appointment of a Special Representative on Youth and Security, Rosaline Marbinah. Special Representative Marbinah, we are eager to hear your priorities later today.

Young women and men comprise nearly thirty percent of the OSCE region’s more than one billion people and represent a vast and valuable resource. As we work to address security challenges facing our region, including socio-economic, health, climate change, and the erosion of faith in democratic institutions, we believe increased attention to the youth, peace, and security agenda is both timely and important.

Thank you, Ambassador.