1. The Youth Forum on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) took place in a hybrid online / offline video conferencing format on June 29-30.
* In consideration of COVID-19, only the MOFA and Korean participants took part in person, while the other international participants joined the event online via the Zoom platform and YouTube live (https://bit.ly/361OxlC).
o The Forum was the first of its kind co-hosted by Korea and the UN in which youth participated and discussed disarmament and non-proliferation issues. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Korea’s UN membership.
2. Twenty-five young people* from 22 different countries, including two from Korea, discussed ways to enhance international disarmament and non-proliferation as well as synergy among the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), new and emerging technologies, and gender issues.
* The participants were selected out of more than 160 candidates, who applied through the UNODA’s website on youth for disarmament (www.youth4disarmament.org), on the basis of their experiences and regions of origin.
o HAM Sang-wook, Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Nakamitsu IZUMI, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, delivered their opening remarks followed by a welcoming message from Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, who appreciated the active role of youth.
3. As a result of the two-day discussion, the participants adopted the “Seoul Youth Declaration for Disarmament and Non-proliferation” containing recommendations to facilitate international disarmament and non-proliferation.
o The participants emphasized that the active engagement of youth across the world in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation is crucial in fulfilling sustainable peace and security through disarmament and non-proliferation. In this regard, they appreciated Korea and the UN’s contributions to youth engagement by leading youth agenda.
The Seoul Youth Declaration for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
► acknowledges the fundamental importance of youth-led disarmament education at all levels, including policy-making, schools and community.
► calls for establishing a “Youth Empowerment Fund” to support the participation of youth.
► encourages mainstreaming youth participation through policies such as youth quota, and incorporating the perspective of youth.
► calls for the integration of ethical frameworks related to data usage.
► encourages regulating Autonomous Weapons Systems strictly.
► supports founding ethical committees dealing with new technologies which can be used in weapons development.
► calls for equitable, full and effective participation of all genders in making policies on disarmament and non-proliferation.
► calls for gender-responsive disarmament education.
► calls for the recognition of the gendered impacts of all types of weapons.
o The Korean participants, JANG Intae and KIM Jina, in their interviews, stressed that “Youth as future leaders should lead this agenda” not only for peace on the Korean Peninsula but for international peace, expressing their hope that more opportunities would be offered to youth across the world to participate in such events as this Forum.
4. Meanwhile, a special session for Korean youth was also held on the Nodeul Island in Seoul on June 25 on the occasion of the Youth Forum. They discussed and presented their views on international disarmament and non-proliferation as well as the role of youth.
※ The result of the special session is available on YouTube (http://bit.ly/35MC63i).
5. As a champion for Action 38 of the UN Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament, the Republic of Korea will present the second biennial resolution on “youth, disarmament and non-proliferation*” at the 76th session of the General Assembly later this year, as it did in 2019.
* The gist of the first resolution, which Korea proposed as the sole main sponsor to the UN General Assembly First Committee, is as follows.
- It △encourages promoting meaningful and inclusive participation of young people in discussions in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, △calls upon the Member States and relevant international organizations to consider developing and implementing policies and programmes, and △stresses the importance of realizing the full potential of young people through education and capacity-building to promote the sustainable entry of young people into the field of disarmament and non-proliferation.
6. The Korean government will continue its efforts to provide opportunities for this youth engagement in international disarmament and non-proliferation, building upon its past contributions including holding a Youth NPT Conference (2020) and this Forum.
o In support of the Youth4Disarmament initiative of the UN ODA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also helped create the UN’s website on youth, disarmament and non-proliferation (www.youth4disarmament.org) and disarmament education clips for youth*.
*Available on the website below