Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Maria Zabolotskaya at an "Arria-formula" meeting of UNSC members “Reinforcing the implementation of the Youth, Peace, and Security Agenda for a peaceful and stable Africa”


We extend our sincere gratitude to Ghana for convening this crucial Arria-formula meeting to discuss relevant challenges related to youth, peace, and security in African context.

We followed with interest remarks by the invited briefers about measures for implementation of the youth agenda, creating conditions for active involvement of the youth in political processes, social and economic empowerment of the young people.

Russia fully supports our African partners in their efforts. Our country has long-standing historical ties with Africa. The Soviet Union supported African nations in their struggle for independence as early as in the 1960s. In 1961, a university in Moscow was named in honor of Patrice Lumumba, one of the outstanding fighters for African independence. Students from developing nations have studied at this university for many decades and continue to study there now. Currently, students from 54 African countries take courses at the university. We are convinced that education is one of the main factors that influence the development and realization of young people’s potential, and this is how we contribute to this process. Over the years, Russia has trained 310,000 qualified professionals from Africa.


Let me share a personal story. My grandmother was chairperson of the Department of Preservation Technology at the Polytechnic Institute in Krasnodar. She taught courses for African students and was a thesis tutor foe them. As a child, I was fascinated by the masks and wooden figures that students gave to her. It was my first encounter with African culture.

Currently, 34 thousand African students are studying in Russia. As a result of the Russia-Africa summit, educational programs will be expanded to cover a whole range of professional training facilities.

I should like to note that the second Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg in July this year gave priority attention to issues of interaction with African countries. Thus, the Summit Declaration welcomes the strengthening of the authority of African states and the African Union as the leading continental organization in Africa as one of the key pillars of a multipolar world. The Declaration also reaffirms the need to jointly oppose neo-colonialism, double standards and a practice of thrusting own conditions upon others; and to prevent situations where these practices may deprive States and peoples of the right to make a sovereign choice of path for further development. It further highlights the importance of preserving national identity, national resources, cultural and civilizational diversity and the protection of traditional values in African countries.

Young people (in particular African youth) respond to injustice more acutely than anyone else. African youth have played a significant role in overcoming the consequences of the colonialist policies that the West has pursued in Africa for centuries. To date, the West has not acknowledged its culpability for the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism, the consequences of which can still be seen today. A critical issue today is that of Western reparations for economic and humanitarian damage, and return of cultural property that had been illegally exported during the pillaging of African states in the colonial era. It is reassuring that many civil society representatives from among African youth are involved in the discussion of the political, legal, economic and humanitarian aspects of this problem. It seems that Security Council cannot stand aside. The youth also play an important role in countering racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and aggressive nationalism.

In this context, we cannot fail to mention refugees and migrants from North Africa and Middle East who arrive to Europe via the Mediterranean route. Most of them are energetic young people who seek their place in life. International organizations are sounding alarm over the deaths of migrants and refugees at sea. It is exactly young migrants who become victims of draconian measures by the European Union and the United Kingdom to prevent foreigners from entering Europe. We believe that these issues should also be the focus of the Security Council under the agenda item Youth, Peace and Security.

Thank you.