Stronger Government Action, Financing Key to Better Protect Women during Armed Conflict, Involve Them in Peace Processes, Speakers Tell Security Council
‘No More Stalling’, Says UN Secretary-General, as Delegates Raise Concern over Reversal of Gains, Increasing Attacks on Women’s Rights
Stronger Government actions and financing are necessary to ensure progress of women’s participation in peace and security amid dire and evolving global conditions, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council today, opening its annual day-long open debate on women, peace and security.
“The world must urgently bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality,” he said, noting that “concrete progress is slow, stagnant or even going backwards”. While men lead efforts on peace, justice, and rights around the world, “still, far too many women’s organizations struggle to fund their essential work, as military spending soars, far too many perpetrators of sexual violence walk free, and far too many peace processes exclude women”.
The Secretary-General called for ambitious Government targets and financing to ensure women’s participation in peace talks. Measures including quotas and incentives are needed to guarantee women partake fully, equally and meaningfully at all levels of peace and security decision-making. He added that ongoing endemic violence against women both on and offline is “a massive barrier and disincentive to participation in civil and political life” and that there must be robust and comprehensive legislation to tackle it and put an end to impunity for perpetrators.
There have been some success stories in this year’s women, peace and security report, he noted, including near gender parity in Colombia’s peace negotiations. But of 18 peace agreements reached last year, only one was signed or witnessed by a representative of a women’s group or organization. Centuries of patriarchy remain a massive obstacle to gender equality and a culture of peace, he said. By the end of 2025, the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund’s Invest-in-Women global campaign aims to raise $300 million. There must be, he said, “no more stalling, no more coasting, no more delays. The state of the world demands it.”
Presenting the Secretary-General’s annual report on women and peace and security (document S/2023/725), Sima Sami Bahous, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), said it highlights his call for a critical transformation in women’s meaningful participation in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding and shares a picture of decline in several countries in the political space for women. Among the five UN-led or co-led peace processes in 2022, women’s representation stood at 16 per cent, down from 19 per cent in 2021 and 23 per cent in 2020. In peace processes led by Member States or other organizations, women were also almost completely absent. “A positive exception remains Colombia, where women reached near parity in the new rounds of negotiations,” she said.
She called for more women’s leadership via quotas and tackling political violence, pointing out that in conflict-affected countries only 23 per cent of parliamentarians and 20 per cent of ministers are women, both below the global average. Gender equality must be at the heart of resource allocation, and there must be ambitious, measurable targets for women’s direct and meaningful participation in delegations and negotiating teams, she said.
On that, Glivânia Maria de Oliveira, Director General of the Rio Branco Institute in Brazil, noted that the negotiating tables still mostly or exclusively comprise men. “The images of women that we see generally present them as victims of the tragedies or quite simply as carers in the shelters and hospitals, in the face of the pain and desperation caused by dynamics that they have neither triggered nor supported,” she said. The Colombian peace dialogue “is generating a negotiating dynamic which has the potential to serve as an example for the world,” she said, adding that “for the first time, the parties managed to agree and implement a ceasefire of 180 days, which is intended to continue.”
Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said many violations against women go undocumented and continue to be considered an inevitable side effect of war. Attacks on health services that kill or injure women and harm caused by sexual violence must be addressed. National laws must be adapted to ensure sexual violence is always designated as a war crime. She also called for international humanitarian law to be applied with an understanding of the gendered harm of armed conflict and for an understanding of how women are affected differently in conflict — for instance, in their ability to flee — as they are more likely to care for children or the elderly. She said the ICRC is working with experts to better understand such impacts.
Hala al-Karib, Regional Director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa, said that in her own country, Sudan, women faced violence during the reign of Omar al-Bashir, under the transition authorities’ rule, and since the conflict there began in April, despite women leading protests for rights. “The suffering of women in Sudan mirrors the suffering of women across Africa,” she said. “We are being treated as collateral damage, rather than as agents of our own lives […] This must change now.” She said the current conflict in Sudan is a result of the failure to uphold women’s rights and women’s participation and urged the international community not to repeat this mistake in other crises, noting that the Council must show solidarity with Palestinian and Afghan women.
During the ensuing debate, titled “Women’s participation in international peace and security: from theory to practice”, speakers observed that approaching the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) collective gains are being reversed and women’s rights are being attacked and called for increased women’s participation in decision-making and peacebuilding to address the issue nationally and multinationally.
Canada’s representative, speaking for the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, said the UN should set a standard requiring women comprise half of all those involved in peace processes. Sustained and flexible funding for peacebuilding by local and women’s rights organizations must be promoted. The Council should use targeted sanctions against those who perpetrate sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict.
Several speakers from countries in or recovering from conflict cited national efforts to empower and include more women in peacebuilding. Among them was Elizabeth Taylor Jay, Colombia’s Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs, who said last year, her Government began a participatory process to draft its first national action plan to implement Council resolution 1325 (2000). After 70 years of conflict, President Gustavo Petro’s plan of Total Peace ensured the participation of women. His Administration now intends to put forward draft recommendations to be implemented at the grass-roots level and a budget to carry out the plan. Such a feat was only possible with the support of UN-Women, among others.
Iryna Mudra, Deputy Minister for Justice of Ukraine, said the topic under discussion in the Council is of paramount importance for her country given the devastating gender-related consequences of the ongoing armed aggression by the Russian Federation. In terms of frontline work, more than 60,000 women currently serve in Ukraine’s military. Ukraine has also increased the number of women in the Cabinet, she said, and a national plan aims to ensure gender equality during Ukraine’s recovery.
Noura Bint Mohammed al Kaabi, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates, observed that, globally, the number of women and girls living in conflict-affected regions reached 614 million in 2022, up 50 per cent from 2017. Women’s economic participation is especially important in post-war scenarios, where economies are depleted. Citing UN figures, she said there were 1,100 new female headed households today in Gaza, due to civilian casualties, with almost 4,000 children having lost their fathers. “Gaza will depend on these women not only to rebuild, but to be the sole bearers of responsibility and care for those who survive the bombardment,” she said. When space is not made for participation, women and their allies have created it, sometimes through unconventional means, she said, adding: “We have seen this in Bosnia [and Herzegovina], Liberia and Colombia. No doubt in the years to come we will refer to the women of Palestine in the same breath.”
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said “today, we are on a knife’s edge”, citing raging conflicts, rising tensions, erupting coups, authoritarianism on the march, a mushrooming nuclear threat, climate chaos, mistrust in global politics, increasing military spending and record-high displacement due to violence, conflict and persecution. In just over five years, the number of women and girls living in countries threatened by fighting has increased by 50 per cent, he said. “Where wars rage, women suffer. Where authoritarianism and insecurity reign, women and girls’ rights are threatened,” he said, giving examples in Sudan, Haiti, Afghanistan, the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, victims of Hamas’ atrocities and victims of the relentless bombing of Gaza.
This grim backdrop gives renewed urgency to efforts to ensure women’s full and meaningful participation in peace and security, he said. Women are leading efforts on peace, justice and rights around the world, “but still, far too many women’s organizations struggle to fund their essential work, as military spending soars, far too many perpetrators of sexual violence walk free and far too many peace processes exclude women”, he said. Of 18 peace agreements reached in 2022, only one was signed or witnessed by a representative of a women’s group or organization. Women represented just 16 per cent of negotiators or delegates in the peace processes led, or co-led, by the United Nations. Centuries of patriarchy are a massive obstacle to gender equality and, in turn, to a culture of peace. “Violence against women — both on and offline — is endemic; a massive barrier and disincentive to participation in civil and political life.”
At the current rate of progress, it will be almost another half century before women are fairly represented in national Parliaments, he said. Women being involved in processes leads to more enduring peace, and gender-equal Parliaments are more likely to increase spending on health, education and social protection, and reduce corruption. He noted that this year’s women, peace and security report shows good practice and success stories, including near gender parity in Colombia’s peace negotiations to perpetrators of sexual violence in Iraq, Syria and the Central African Republic being brought to justice. He commended the work of UN projects, for instance with local women’s organizations.
But, he said: “Overall, when it comes to women, peace and security, the world must urgently bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality. Concrete progress is slow, stagnant or even going backwards.” He said there must be steps to ensure women’s participation in peace talks, via ambitious Government targets, financing of women’s participation in peace and security, 15 per cent of countries’ official development assistance (ODA) allocated to gender equality, and an allocation of 1 per cent — at a bare minimum — of ODA to women’s organizations mobilizing for peace. He said that, by the end of 2025, the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund’s Invest-In-Women global campaign aims to raise $300 million. He also called for concrete measures to secure women’s full, equal and meaningful participation at all levels of decision-making on peace and security, and all levels of political and civil life, via pushing fair representation in local and national Governments, cabinets and Parliaments. “Quotas, targets and incentives work.” Robust, comprehensive legislation to tackle violence against women — both on and offline — is important. The Summit of the Future in 2024 represents an opportunity to push for progress. “No more stalling, no more coasting, no more delays. The state of the world demands it.”
SIMA SAMI BAHOUS, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), presenting the Secretary-General’s annual report on women and peace and security (document S/2023/725) said: “We meet at a time when the impacts of conflict on women and girls have never been more stark, nor the price we collectively pay through spurning women’s leadership more obvious, as millions upon millions suffer the consequences of the wars of men.” She pointed to the dramatic escalation of violence in the Middle East. UN-Women estimates that, to date, this has resulted in over 1,100 new female-headed households and has displaced more than 690,000 women and girls from their homes, leaving them at greater risk of violence, she reported. “Let me be clear, every act of violence against women and girls, including sexual violence, is unequivocally condemned, irrespective of the nationality, identity, race or religion of the victims,” she stressed, emphasizing that the imperative for collective, multilateral action for peace has never been more urgent.
The Secretary-General's report highlights his call for a critical transformation in women’s meaningful participation in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and shares a picture of decline in several countries in the political space for women to participate in decision-making on peace and security — when women’s leadership is needed most. Among the five UN-led or co-led peace processes in 2022, women’s representation stood at only 16 per cent, down from 19 per cent in 2021 and 23 per cent in 2020. In peace processes led by Member States or other organizations, women were also almost completely absent. “A positive exception remains Colombia, where women reached near parity in the new rounds of negotiations,” she said, stressing: “It should alarm us that, 23 years after the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 (2020), we lack an up-to-date, full, transparent, public accounting of women’s representation in peace talks.”
Women’s participation in peacekeeping has increased in the past year, she said, highlighting achievements last year such as the set-up of mobile courts to convict perpetrators of gender-based violence in conflict-affected settings and the deployment of female engagement teams to learn about the situation of women and girls in the most remote areas. However, as peace operations are withdrawn, the UN’s capacity to monitor and protect women’s rights becomes more limited. “We need women’s leadership now,” she said, pointing out that, in conflict-affected countries, only 23 per cent of parliamentarians and 20 per cent of ministers are women, both below the global average. These numbers can be increased with quotas and by tackling increasing political violence against women and gender-based hate speech. Stressing gender equality must be at the heart of resource allocation, she said bilateral aid to support it in conflict-affected countries declined in 2021.
The Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund introduced a window for women human rights defenders in 2022 and was able to support 214 women and their 553 dependents within a few months of operation, she said, urging more of such action. Highlighting five transformative actions “so that this open debate is a milestone, not just a reiteration”, she called for ambitious and measurable targets for women’s direct and meaningful participation on delegations and negotiating teams. Also, women must be nominated and appointed as lead mediators and as mediation experts; gender balance and the inclusion of gender expertise must be a norm for mediation teams. Further, a minimum 15 per cent of funds must be earmarked for mediation support to women’s participation. The number and percentage of women directly participating in these peace processes must be tracked and publicly reported in real time. Moreover, the international community must ensure that gender equality and women’s human rights are a central part of peace agreements.
Joining Brazil, she paid tribute to the memory of Brazilian activist Bertha Lutz, the most prominent advocate for women´s rights in the Charter of the United Nations. Noting that women continue to risk their lives amid crises and conflicts around the world, she said: “They are caring for those around them, trying to carry their families, communities and nations to peace. We can no longer fail to offer them the best support.”
MIRJANA SPOLJARIC EGGER, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), observing that current developments in the Middle East and elsewhere are a shocking reminder of how rapidly humanitarian conditions can deteriorate, said that, amid the desperate situation: “Reprieve must come quickly for all civilians no matter where they are: it is urgent that warring parties maintain a minimum of humanity even during the worst of war.” All parties to a conflict must do their utmost to ensure civilians are protected and international humanitarian law is strictly adhered to, protecting diverse women, men, girls and boys, whether they are civilians, combatants, wounded or prisoners of war. Her organization consistently recalls the rules of war to parties, she said, outlining their provisions, including protecting civilians and civilian infrastructure; to not resort to indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks; to not take hostages; and to allow impartial humanitarian organizations, such as hers, to work unhindered.
In its neutral intermediary role, ICRC regularly works with the parties to facilitate their agreements, so civilians can safely cross front lines; people deprived of liberty are accounted for and can be released; and families separated by armed conflict are reconnected, she went on. In her first year as President of ICRC, she noted witnessing how gravely women and girls are affected by conflict, although the harms they suffer are insufficiently understood or addressed. Many violations against women go undocumented and continue to be considered an inevitable side effect of war. Against this backdrop, she called for the urgent addressing of the realities of, among others, women killed or injured from the reverberating effects of hostilities on health services, and women who suffered and survived sexual violence, and those who did not survive it.
Recalling her address to the Council earlier in 2023 on the gendered impacts of armed conflicts, she outlined several areas of change. First, she underscored the need to prevent and address the harms caused by sexual violence, which still continues to occur with frequency and impunity. She underlined the need for States to adapt national laws to ensure that sexual violence is always designated as a war crime; for special measures of protection for victims and survivors to be provided, among other measures. As well, the faithful application of international humanitarian law requires an understanding of the gendered harms caused by armed conflict, she said, pointing out that women are impacted differently by the conduct of military operations, for instance, in their ability to flee — as they are more likely to care for children, the sick or elderly. She noted that ICRC is working with legal and military experts to better understand such impacts.
The full participation of women is a critical pathway to peace, she continued, noting that peace negotiations and agreements are more likely to succeed when they take account of the gendered impacts of armed conflict, and the specific needs of all segments of society post-conflict. Recalling her interactions with women who were the front-line negotiators in the search for their missing relatives, she noted that they were also activists and leaders, whose knowledge and role in influencing and mobilizing their authorities must be respected in peace negotiations. “There are a hundred steps to peace, and the first are always humanitarian,” she emphasized, reiterating that, without input from women and the recognition of the gendered impact of armed conflicts on women, peace responses will fall short and therefore lack the prospect for true security.
GLIVÂNIA MARIA DE OLIVEIRA, Director General, Rio Branco Institute in Brazil, said that women, young people, girls and boys are the first victims of conflicts. “In circumstances of forced displacements, hostage-taking and sexual violations, deterioration in living conditions, abandoning of projects and dreams for the future, women are seeing their existences being destroyed materially, socially and psychologically in a spiral which is leaving deep scars, often irreversible ones,” she stressed, adding that many of these women are joining the terrible statistics of deaths and disappearances. “Women undoubtedly pay the highest price of war and it is also they who are most capable, as we know, of supporting inclusive forms of governance and coexistence, to foster investment for sustainable development, to choose the financing of peace rather than devoting resources to war,” she emphasized.
While, in theory, negotiations and agreements that involve women have better prospects for success, the path from theory to practice continues to be marked by visible and invisible obstacles, with backsliding or threats of backsliding in the condition of women, with exacerbation of vulnerabilities and levels of participation in decision-making processes which are clearly insufficient, she said. “Resolution 1325 (2000) opened the way and offered the necessary tools, it provided normative progress but the implementation of norms is not keeping up,” she noted, spotlighting the great risks posed to peace and security increasingly across the planet.
“We note that the negotiating tables are still mostly or exclusively made up of men,” she said, recalling that the newspapers show on a daily basis many images of men leading wars and, at the same time, ironically, negotiating or mediating for peace. “The images of women that we see generally present them as victims of the tragedies or quite simply as carers in the shelters and hospitals, in the face of the pain and desperation caused by dynamics that they have neither triggered nor supported,” she underscored.
“I bring words of hope and optimism from my experience on the Peace Dialogue Table of the Government of Colombia with the National Liberation Army (ELN),” she stated, stressing that following decades of conflict, the example of Colombia is of immense importance. “Our Latin America is generating a negotiating dynamic which has the potential to serve as an example for the world,” she said, highlighting that women are involved in the peace process with the National Liberation Army as builders and promoters of peace as the State delegation seeks to ensure parity, with the contribution of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders, human rights defenders, military and police observers, representatives of religious entities and the private sector. “For the first time, the parties managed to agree and implement a ceasefire of 180 days which is intended to continue,” she stressed, pointing out to the National Participation Committee which is made up of 82 members, of whom 31 are women.
HALA AL-KARIB, Regional Director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa, said the debate is an opportunity to reflect on why women’s rights are central to addressing conflict and crisis and that her own country, Sudan, illustrates the consequences of failing to do so. Violence there has impacted almost every part of women’s lives, including through sexual violence and rape, atrocities that took place during the reign of Omar al-Bashir. Mass protests, led by women and youth, began in December 2018 and led to Mr. Al-Bashir’s fall and were in part a response to how women’s bodies and voices were systematically attacked for more than 30 years, she said, adding that while Mr. Al-Bashir was forced out of office, change didn’t come. Transition authorities failed to address systemic violence, repression of protestors and discrimination against women and perpetrators in some cases were appointed to top Government positions. When war erupted again in April, the gendered nature of the conflict immediately became clear. Women were subjected to brutal atrocities, torture and trafficking by the Rapid Support Forces.
More than 4 million women and girls are now at risk of sexual violence in Sudan, she said, with both parties committing serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. While calling on both parties to end such acts, UN experts have expressed concern at consistent reports of widespread violations of women by the Rapid Support Forces, including enforced disappearances, sexual assault, slavery, forced work and detention in inhumane conditions. This pattern of widespread, ethnically motivated attacks, including sexual violence, could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, she said and urged the Security Council to demand an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Sudan to end all violence targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. She reiterated Sudanese women are critical to peace efforts and demanded meaningful representation of women at 50 per cent at all levels and went on to call on all parties to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access and full funding of the humanitarian response and women’s groups.
“The suffering of women in Sudan mirrors the suffering of women across Africa,” she said. “We are being treated as collateral damage, rather than as agents of our own lives … This must change now.” She also called on the Council to pursue accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including sexual violence, and for a strengthening of the existing sanctions regime to include sexual violence as a designation criterion. Furthermore, she urged a strengthening of the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) to enable it to effectively protect human rights, including women’s rights, and for the Council to condemn attacks and threats against women human rights defenders.
She concluded by saying that the current conflict in Sudan is a result of the failure to uphold women’s rights and women’s participation and urged the international community not to repeat this mistake in other crises. The Council must show solidarity with Palestinian women, living under the world’s longest occupation and now suffering an escalating crisis in Gaza, and support a call for an immediate ceasefire, she said, urging the Council to support the calls of Afghan women to hold the Taliban accountable for gender apartheid and to show the women of Ethiopia, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen and other conflicts around the globe that their rights are not dispensable. There can be no peace without protection of women’s rights, she said.
MAURO VIEIRA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Brazil and Council President for October, speaking in his national capacity, said the Council’s 10 existing women, peace and security resolutions must be followed up with concrete action, adding that the insufficient representation of women from Africa, Latin America and developing countries in tasks and events on women, peace and security is troubling, especially given their contribution to peace and security in their regions. He paid tribute to Bertha Lutz, Brazilian politician and laureate scientist who played a critical role of including gender equality as a prerequisite for the work of the United Nations in 1945 in San Francisco. Fifty-five years before resolution 1325 (2000), she and other women delegates “understood that this Council needed the contribution of women in order to avoid the errors of a new world war”. Brazil, therefore, as a matter of justice, dedicates its presidency of this annual open debate to her memory.
He said achieving gender equality and improving women’s participation in peace and security requires challenging and overcoming deeply entrenched gender norms and stereotypes that perpetuate women’s exclusions and marginalization. He called on Council members and all UN Member States to invite more women briefers, not only within Security Council agenda, but in every meeting they convene. He underscored the importance of financing women-focused mechanisms, such as women, peace and security funds which have financed over 1,000 civil society organizations in 43 countries. Highlighting the role of women in mediation efforts around the world, he said his country looks forward to joining the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks and to start offering its contributions on several mediation initiatives. He further underscored that enhancing women participation in decision-making process is not about securing seats at negotiation tables or a symbolic representation, but “a substantive essential task that drives the effectiveness and legitimacy of peace and security endeavours globally”.
CHRISTOPHE NANGA (Gabon) said women’s central place in peace processes is a catalyst for their empowerment and reenergizing socioeconomic and political landscapes. He called for reducing gender inequalities, strengthening the leadership and resilience of women, and giving true visibility to women. “Calling for gender equality and the substantial participation of women is to choose to prevent armed conflicts.” Implementing the women, peace and security agenda means guaranteeing a more robust response to violence, war and patriarchy to ensure that women are no longer pulled into structures which generate and support conflict. He called for the stepping up of efforts at the national, regional and international levels for the global, inclusive and efficient implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) and its related texts. He highlighted the need for the inclusion of gender at all stages of peace processes, in conflict-prevention efforts, the mandates of United Nations peace missions and responses to climate change.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States), noting that her country is the first to adopt a comprehensive law on women, peace and security, said that, later in October, President Joseph R. Biden’s Administration will launch the updated United States strategy and national action plan on women, peace and security, which will encourage partners around the world to mainstream women, peace and security principles across policies and strategies. Emphasizing that more financing is needed for women and youth peacebuilders, she said her country hopes to work through the Peacebuilding Commission to move forward on that matter. She recalled the 7 October attack by Hamas against Israel and pointed to women and girls in Gaza who have endured years of Hamas’ cruelty. The United States is providing $100 million in new humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank and continues to work around the clock to ensure that aid can reach people in need, she said.
NOURA BINT MOHAMMED AL KAABI, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates, observed that, globally, the number of women and girls living in conflict-affected regions reached 614 million in 2022, 50 per cent higher than in 2017. Women’s potential for action as agents of peace must be leveraged, she said, adding that their participation should not remain an afterthought, but becomes the status quo. To this end, she underlined the need to boost women’s meaningful participation nationally, including through involving women and local community members in peace efforts, and the adoption of targeted measures such as quotas for political and leadership positions. At the multinational level, including at the Security Council, institutions should be shaped by women’s perspectives, she said, spotlighting, in this regard, the work of the Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security. Hearing directly from women civil society leaders provides key insights into efforts on the ground, she stressed.
Underscoring the need for women’s participation across the spectrum, not just within the political parameters, she said their economic participation is especially important in post-war scenarios, where economies are depleted. On that, she cited the grim figure, from the UN, that there were 1,100 new female headed households today in Gaza, due to civilian casualties, with almost 4,000 children having lost their fathers. “Gaza will depend on these women not only to rebuild, but to be the sole bearers of responsibility and care for those who survive the bombardment,” she added. When space is not made for participation, women and their allies have created it, sometimes through unconventional means, she said, adding: “We have seen this in Bosnia [and Herzegovina], Liberia and Colombia. No doubt in the years to come we will refer to the women of Palestine in the same breath.”
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) said that women and girls’ rights are under attack and called for urgent and coordinated action in three areas: participation, empowerment and protection. “The UK’s new National Action Plan focuses on putting women’s meaningful participation into action,” she said, adding that her country was proud to support Colombia with its National Action Plan and will continue to advocate for women to take on leading roles in resolving conflict, including in UN-led peace processes. “As part of our International Women and Girls Strategy, we launched a $46 million programme to support grassroots women’s rights organizations around the world,” she said, spotlighting $4 million in funding to overcome gender-based violence in Ukraine and across the region. “From South Sudan to Israel and Gaza, we see the impact of conflict on women’s lives, and this is particularly true for women’s rights defenders,” she stressed.
ADRIAN DOMINIK HAURI (Switzerland) said the participation of women is essential for lasting peace. Expressing support for women’s role in conflict prevention and social cohesion, he said progress is needed at the multilateral level. The facts are clear: without prevention of violence and protection of their rights, women cannot participate fully and equally in political, social and economic life in times of conflict and peace, he said, pointing out that the most flagrant violations occur every day in Afghanistan where the Taliban has institutionalized systematic, gender-based discrimination and persecution. Every State has a responsibility to prevent violations of women and girls’ rights, also in the digital space, he said. Almost a quarter of a century after the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in peacebuilding should no longer be a matter of debate. However, the goal remains far away, he said.
PEDRO COMISSÁRIO AFONSO (Mozambique) said women continue to be one of the most disproportionally affected social groups in all possible dimensions, by armed conflicts around the world and in Africa in particular. “We are, therefore, duty-bound to redouble our individual and collective efforts to accelerate the meaningful participation of women in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding,” he said, adding that parties to armed conflicts must take special measures to protect women, girls and children from gender-based violence. He highlighted the socioeconomic opportunities Mozambican women ex-combatants receive in the context of a United Nations-supported disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process and their efforts in mitigating local conflict, preventing recruitment into armed groups and building community resilience. Recognizing women’s role in peacebuilding, Mozambique has taken measures to include appointing female military officers to key positions, promoting the role of women in the fight against terrorism, and promoting and strengthening gender equality within its defence forces.
MARIA ZABOLOTSKAYA (Russian Federation), noting with satisfaction the increasing participation of women in peacekeeping processes, said that such involvement allows for the establishment of more resilient and trusting relationships with the local population, the prevention and investigation of existing cases of violations against women and children, and the rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of such violations. She also said that unilateral coercive measures have an extremely negative effect on the position and well-being of women and their families, depriving them of prospects, and called on the UN to actively monitor the negative impact of such measures. “The Council needs to concentrate on specific tasks and avoid duplicating the work of the General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission,” she stressed. Turning to the situation in Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation, the victims of which are primarily women and children, she said that the scale of the humanitarian disaster is expanding.
HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador) expressed concern over the decrease in the number of women negotiators or delegates in active peace processes co-directed by the United Nations, stating that 16 per cent of women were included in 2022 compared to 23 per cent in 2020. He said there is a need to “mainstream the gender perspective throughout the Council mandates and in the products of the United Nations”, including those on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, accountability and transitional justice, and participation in mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. He called for the mobilization of resources to train peacekeeping and peacebuilding forces, women peacebuilders and human rights defenders to prevent exploitation and sexual abuse and promote leadership with gender awareness. He encouraged the UN, national institutions and civil society organizations to cooperate to establish national action plans for resolution 1325 (2000).
CAROLYN ABENA ANIMA OPPONG-NTIRI (Ghana) said that to translate the full, equal and meaningful participation of women from theory into practice, the Council should reinforce its support for platforms such as the Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action Compact, which rallies together UN Member States, regional organizations, civil society groups and the private sector to foster women’s economic security and leadership. The Council must also create a safe environment for women involved in peace and security through digital and offline platforms. Women civil society representatives and peacebuilders who brief the Council deserve special attention and should be accorded the utmost protection by the UN, she emphasized, reiterating calls to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish a framework for the protection of women who cooperate with the UN. Effective bilateral cooperation, as well as collaboration across regional organizations on the women, peace and security agenda, is crucial for accelerating the economic empowerment of women in peace and security and women’s empowerment initiatives, she stressed, encouraging such partnerships.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta) said that the devastating impacts of the conflict in Israel and Gaza on women and girls must be central to the Council’s deliberations on that issue. Women’s meaningful participation in political and peace processes is a precondition for sustainable peace in Libya, Iraq and Syria, she said, also noting the systematic persecution and discrimination of Afghan women and girls by the Taliban. Recalling that disarmament and arms control is at the heart of the women, peace and security agenda, she said that by stopping the illicit transfer of weapons, the links between militarization and gender-based violence can be weakened. Long-term and flexible funding to local women’s rights and women-led humanitarian organizations can reverse the funding deficit for gender equality in crisis situations. For its part, the UN system must ensure that the risks facing women human rights defenders are never used as an excuse to exclude them, she said, emphasizing that mandates must monitor and respond to these risks and reprisals.
NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France) voiced worry that the rights of women and girls are being subjected to attacks, ahead of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris. She called for the full implementation of the 10 “women, peace and security” resolutions adopted by the Council, including Council resolution 1325 (2000). She underlined the need for the full and meaningful participation of women in conflict prevention and restoring peace, through strengthening the participation of women in UN missions and operations, highlighting her country’s financing of the training of women officers and gender advisors. Women must also participate in peace negotiations and humanitarian response. The infringement of women’s rights must be combated, she said, pointing to the systematic violation of their rights in Afghanistan. She also echoed the appeal of civil society organizations to combat reprisals and intimidation faced by women who bore witness before the Council.
ARIAN SPASSE (Albania) said that women’s unique experiences as leaders and agents of change provide essential perspectives in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction. “Wherever women take part in a peace process, peace lasts longer,” he said, urging to bridge the gap and ensure the meaningful participation of women. Governments and organizations must align their practices with the Council resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent resolutions and establish adequate institutional mechanisms, he said, calling for a change to challenge societal norms and business models to eliminate discriminatory practices. “At the UN, we need to encourage and increase the number of gender-sensitive trainings for all UN peacekeeping missions' components to create a friendly environment for women and mitigate the occurrence of gender-based violence,” he stated, highlighting the need to give civil society a voice that is heard in the Security Council. He also said that his country ranks first for the share of women cabinet ministers according to the 2023 “Women in Politics” global map.
SHINO MITSUKO (Japan) expressed his country’s commitment to amplifying women’s voices and following up on the recommendations presented to the Security Council. She highlighted the need to invest in people, with a specific focus on women and girls, to ensure societal inclusivity, which will lead to building resilient and effective institutions. She urged Governments to prioritize community infrastructure and provide basic necessities to address the needs of vulnerable populations. She went on to highlight Japan’s long-standing holistic approach to international cooperation aimed at advancing gender equality and expressed continued commitment to these efforts. She noted that Japan has promoted women’s access to leadership positions in political institutions as well as in justice, security and defence institutions with numerical targets. To ensure institutions stay on track, the relevant Government departments and agencies monitor progress and take actions to bridge any gaps, she said.
GENG SHUANG (China), echoing a saying in his country that “women hold up half the sky and they are just as competent as men”, called on the international community to have a greater sense of urgency to ensure that women are protected from violence and enhance their sense of security. He called on the Council to take collective action to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and create conditions for the protection of women and children, and a commitment to putting gender equality into practice. China salutes women who have stepped forward in conflict areas in disregard of their personal safety and urges the international community to incorporate a gender perspective into peace processes, maximizing women’s communications skills. Highlighting his country’s women’s empowerment efforts, he called on the Council to put into practice the concept of development for peace and promote women’s empowerment. He said the women, peace and security agenda cannot be achieved without strengthened global cooperation.
NALEDI PANDOR, Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, believed that enhanced international efforts are needed to implement commitments made to advancing women’s participation in all peace processes. Peace agreements are more sustainable when women are involved. She agreed with the Secretary-General’s proposal for concrete actions to increase women’s involvement in peace negotiations, but noted that the current global security environment may contribute to the reversal of progress in the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda. She highlighted South Africa’s Gertrude Shope Annual Dialogue Forum in 2015 and its Women Mediators Network, in training African women negotiators and peace monitors and contributing to setting targets for women’s direct participation in delegations and negotiating teams. They have shown how “empowered women can contribute to peace and stability and support other women living in vulnerable conditions”. She noted the contribution of South African female peacekeepers when deployed.
At a time of crisis in Israel-Gaza, she highlighted the cross-community solidarity forged by civil society groups Women of the Sun, of Palestine, and Women Wage Peace, of Israel, aimed at urging parties to engage in dialogue and diplomacy to reach a just, comprehensive, and sustainable peace. This is an example of positive activism and inspirational leadership by women striving to find a solution in the context of the continued occupation of Palestine, she said.
JEAN ASSELBORN, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg, associating himself with the European Union, Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security and the Feminist Foreign Policy Plus Group, said his country’s support for strengthening the role of women as peacemakers is part of its feminist foreign policy and its national action plan on women, peace and security, which was launched in 2018. To remedy gender inequality, the international community must adopt a global approach and take concerted action within all multilateral bodies, including the UN, he said, urging: “If wars are waged by men, let’s make women the drivers of peace.” He pointed out, however, that any work for gender equality will be incomplete without the participation of men and boys in the feminist agenda. Allowing women and girls to exercise their bodily autonomy is an essential step in achieving gender equality and allowing them to take part in peace processes, he added.
RETNO LESTARI PRIANSARI MARSUDI, Minister for Foreign Affairs for Indonesia, observed that today’s reality was reflected in the fact that, over the past week, in Gaza, women and children represented more than 60 per cent of fatalities of attacks on civilians. She underlined the need for the meaningful participation of women in economic, social and political spheres, which contributes to resilience and peace, as borne out by the contributions of women peacekeepers on the ground. She called for strengthened participation of women in peace processes, noting that they are underrepresented and often not equipped for the roles they take on in conflict scenarios. She also emphasized the need to promote women’s education, voicing worry that, in Afghanistan, more than 80 per cent of school-age women and girls are not attending school. Therefore, Indonesia is committed to providing scholarships and training for Afghan women.
KEISAL PETERS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said that women and children already account for more than 60 per cent of the casualties in the current war in the Middle East and this number will increase if there is no ceasefire. She reminded that the primary objectives of the Charter of the United Nations are to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights and promote social progress. Women’s participation in international peace and security processes, including those led by the United Nations, remains unacceptably low, and she urged taking action to address this issue.
“To achieve the women, peace and security goal of equal participation of diverse women at every stage of peace processes, all UN-led organs and agencies must consistently apply gender analysis,” she stressed, adding that the UN must demonstrate political will by providing financial and technical support and building national capacity to enhance women’s participation. She called for the involvement of women in monitoring peace agreements
and all other political and economic processes related to building and sustaining peace.
MARIO ADOLFO BÚCARO FLORES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, began by condemning the Hamas attacks against Israel and went on to say resolution 1725 (2006) was a landmark text as it recognized the key role of women in preventing conflict and building peace as well as the impact that conflict has on women and girls. The resolution inspired the international community to adopt clear-cut measures to promote gender equality in areas affected by conflict and has led to nine subsequent resolutions and frameworks, he said, highlighting how the resolution has shed light on gender-based violence, which tends to happen in conflicts, and helped protect women and girls from sexual violence as well as provide support for survivors.
He pointed to Guatemala’s national roadmap which shows the State’s commitment to action for the global agenda of women, peace and security. He also noted that Guatemala has ratified several conventions to protect women’s rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Guatemala is committed to involving women in peacekeeping operations, he said, adding that the State has deployed 372 women. He said it was important to recognize progress achieved by Member States as well as the challenges ahead. “We must prioritize the needs of women in conflict and post-conflict situations,” he said. “To achieve sustainable peace, we need the full and meaningful participation of women in the decision-making process and in peacebuilding.”
LORD VAEA, Minister for Internal Affairs of Tonga, said the intersecting crises of climate change, the COVID‑19 pandemic and natural hazards, including the volcanic eruption on 15 January 2022 in his country, have occasioned a variety of insecurities which must be addressed. He said Tonga aligns with the goals of women mediators’ networks in its national women’s empowerment and gender policy as well as the Pacific Platform for Action for Gender Equality and Women’s Rights, which create an enabling environment for mainstreaming gender across Government policies, programmes and services. He urged the Security Council to support climate action by increasing collaboration with the Peacebuilding Commission and other intergovernmental entities to boost conflict prevention efforts, appointing a special representative of the Secretary-General on climate and security and deploying dedicated staff as climate security Advisers. He also called for the leveraging of existing mechanisms such as the Climate Security Mechanism; integration of climate data in early warning systems and other data and reporting tools; and incorporation of climate risks in mandates of peacekeeping and special political missions. Climate-informed mediation, peacebuilding initiatives and peace operations should be encouraged as well.
AHMED ATTAF, Minister for Foreign Affairs and National Community Abroad of Algeria, said his country adopted last July a National Action Plan to contribute to the promotion of the status of women in peace processes and security and their effective role in achieving peace at all times. He said that the Plan aims to implement resolution 1325 (2000). It will extend the past achievements of Algerian women. He highlighted areas in which it will contribute, including: the recruitment of women in the security and military sectors for their effective participation in the maintenance of security and stability; the promotion of women in leadership in security sectors; increasing awareness of the importance of women’s participation in the security sector; the promotion of women’s roles in national institutions; and training women in security and military fields in the skills of negotiation conflict management in order to participate in regional and international operations to preserve peace.
ELIZABETH TAYLOR JAY, Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs of Colombia, recalling that, a year ago, her Government announced the start of its participatory process to draft its first national action plan to implement Council resolution 1325 (2000), said that building peace was only possible with women in all their diversity. After 70 years of conflict, Colombia President Gustavo Petro’s plan of Total Peace ensured the participation of women, whose lives had been permeated by war. After two decades, during which women walked alone without State support, her Government has now finalized a lengthy participatory process in drafting a national plan of action. The plan took inputs from 1,500 diverse women across different fora, who shared their stories and their vision for the future, she said, noting that they included Afro-descendant women, rural women, peasants, Indigenous women, women who signed the peace agreement in 2016, women with disabilities and those deprived of freedom, among others.
Following these meetings, her Government intends to put forward draft recommendations to be implemented at the grass-roots level, she said, adding that the budget is presently being defined to implement the plan in the short, medium and long term. Such a feat was only possible with the support of UN-Women, Sweden and Norway, among others. She called for a cross-cutting, gender-mainstreaming approach to be integrated in peace processes and discussions, including in the work of the Council.
SANJA ŠTIGLIC, State Secretary for Political and Multilateral Affairs and Development Cooperation of Slovenia, said that the number of women and girls living in conflict-affected regions has risen by a staggering 50 per cent since 2017. “The current dire situation in the Middle East will only further exacerbate these numbers,” she said, calling for full respect of international law. Slovenia will respond to these challenges by increasing the share of its development assistance for gender equality and women’s empowerment to 85 per cent by 2030 in line with its feminist foreign policy approach, she stated, welcoming progress by the Department of Peace Operations on achieving targets of the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy and encouraging further efforts on gender parity in military contingents. “[The] United Nations, including this Security Council, must lead by example; it needs to include gender dimension issues in its work more systematically,” she emphasized, commending the increase in women briefers in recent years.
IRYNA MUDRA, Deputy Minister for Justice of Ukraine, aligned with the Group of Friends in Support of Women, Peace and Security as well as the European Union, in its capacity as an observer, and said that the topic under discussion is of paramount importance for Ukraine given the devastating gender-related consequences of the ongoing armed aggression by the Russian Federation. “Women in Ukraine must be actors and agents in the ongoing war, as well as in the recovery and reconstruction of the country,” she said, adding that Ukraine places victims and survivors at the heart of all efforts. In terms of frontline work, more than 60,000 women currently serve in Ukraine’s military, protecting the country against the aggression of the Russian Federation. Ukraine has also increased the number of women in the Cabinet, she said, and a national plan aims to ensure gender equality during Ukraine’s recovery and provides better coordination between the Government and other relevant stakeholders, including civil society and business representatives.
She urged Member States to continue to protect and promote women’s human rights and ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership of women in all aspects of peace and security with the target of 50 per cent, adding that support to women’s organizations and activists is crucial in this regard. Turning to gender-based violence, she said cases of sexual violence committed by soldiers from the Russian Federation against Ukrainian women, girls, men and boys have been documented by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine and the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. Ensuring survivors’ non-discriminatory and comprehensive access to essential services, including sexual and reproductive health care and mental health services, as well as access to gender-responsive justice, is crucial, she said.
KHATUNA TOTLADZE, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Georgia, associating herself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, said that her country welcomes the increasing participation of women in areas pertaining to international peace and security. Accelerated efforts are, however, needed for the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda in line with resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent relevant texts. On integrating a gender perspective into the security sector and decision-making processes, she said “Georgia remains committed to maintain the issues of the conflict-affected women, including IDPs [internally displaced persons], on the agenda of the Geneva International Discussions, which is the only format of negotiations between Georgia and Russia on the security and humanitarian issues stemming from the Russian aggression and occupation” of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.
She noted that despite these efforts, the Russian Federation’s occupation of these regions hinders peace processes and violates human rights of its citizens in these regions. She highlighted the Russian Federation’s continued breach of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and its grave human rights violation in its Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, which continue to cause “immense suffering for the conflict-affected people on both sides of the occupation line”. Her country therefore underscores the importance of international and regional human rights monitoring mechanisms being allowed into the occupied regions.
STELLA RONNER-GRUBAČIĆ, representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said, “gender equality is a universal value”. Resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent texts “remind us of our joint commitment to hold women’s rights and their leadership at the core of security and political decision-making”. She noted that the world faces alarming security shifts, including advanced technology and cyberwarfare, climate change, weaponization of energy, of food, of migration movements, and of information. She called for sustained, predictable and flexible funding for women’s and women-led organizations. She said that there is a need to act decisively to end and prevent all forms of violence, harassment, intimidation, threats and reprisals, online and offline, as well as the spread of disinformation designed to discredit and silence women politicians, human rights defenders, peacebuilders and civil society activists. Strong measures are needed to ensure full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership of women in political, military and security structures.
NASRIA ELARDJA FLITTI, League of Arab States, said the international community should enhance efforts to promote the participation of women at the national, regional and international level to foster peace and security. To that end, she called for an end the barbaric attacks being carried out by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, adding: “The heinous war against the defenceless people of Gaza is an obstacle to international efforts to bring about peace in the region and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The failure to achieve peace over the past seven decades is in breach of Council resolution 1325 (2000), international law, and all norms and pillars of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. She called for strengthened participation between the UN and LAS and highlighted practical strategies to protect Arab women initiated by her group, including an emergency committee on protecting women in conflict and a women’s network for peace.
ALICIA GUADALUPE BUENROSTRO MASSIEU (Mexico) reaffirmed support for all women activists, human rights defenders, peacebuilders and civil society leaders and condemned any attack against the civilian population, especially women and girls, under any circumstances. “Although the women, peace and security agenda has been built with a solid legal framework of ten resolutions, women continue to be excluded from decision-taking and peace processes,” she noted, calling for the full utilizing of this framework. Mexico is aware of the importance of guaranteeing human rights of women for their reproductive and sexual health, including abortion and body autonomy, as well as the provision of mental health-care services and psychosocial support, she said, reminding that Mexico was the first developing country to proclaim a feminist foreign policy. Noting that the UN has not yet reached the goal of least 15 per cent of women in uniform of the total deployed personnel, she called for supporting implementation of the gender parity strategy for uniformed personnel by 2028.
JOONKOOK HWANG (Republic of Korea) aligned himself with the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security and noted the Secretary-General’s report provides another frustrating picture of reality. “Exclusion, inequality and misogyny encapsulates the status of women across the world,” he said, pointing out that women in Afghanistan have been erased from public life and there is widespread sexual violence in Sudan. To address this reality and fully implement resolution 1725 (2006) requires recommitment and an enhancement of the Security Council’s role, he said. It is alarming that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) documented instances of reprisals against 172 women and girls working with the United Nations in 2022, he said, adding that another 30 women who addressed the Security Council last year were targeted for reprisals. He condemned all attacks against women involved in humanitarian work and peacebuilding activities, especially those cooperating with the United Nations. The international community must ensure their safety, he said.
NORDIANA ZIN ZAWAWI (Malaysia), aligning herself with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that consistent with the goals of her country’s National Policy on Women launched in 1989, the Government has undertaken efforts to ensure women’s participation in decision-making at all levels. Malaysia’s national policy takes into account gender perspective, she noted, spotlighting that it also serves as a basis for the deployment of 868 Malaysian Armed Forces and Royal Malaysia Police — of which 96 are women — to five UN peacekeeping operations. Stressing the need for more women to be included in peace processes, she emphasized that their compassion and empathetic listening are invaluable assets in addressing gender-based crimes and conflict-related sexual violence in armed conflict. Endorsing ASEAN’s Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security adopted in November 2017, she said that the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on the same topic, launched in 2021, is a “further testament” to her country’s commitment.
CORNEL FERUȚĂ (Romania) said with a 50 per cent increase over that past five years in the number of women and girls living in conflict-affected countries and coming up on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the women, peace and security agenda and the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the world needs to do more to avoid completely failing in this endeavour. He said that as conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, threats and attacks against women and girls continue to rise, Romania calls for bringing perpetrators to account and providing survivors with necessary support. He called for an inclusion of women in leadership positions during peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities across different geographical ecosystems. He further invited Member States to participate in the international conference of the Global Network for National Focal Points for the women, peace and security agenda, to be held in Bucharest in November.
IVAN ŠIMONOVIĆ (Croatia), aligning himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, noting successes in implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), however added that “nowadays we are facing negative trends”. Women’s rights and gender equality are under increasing threat. “We need to improve global security and respect for international humanitarian and human rights law — and we need a stronger role of women to achieve it,” he said. He noted his country’s experience clearly demonstrates that women bear an immense burden during conflict and have a crucial role in prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. He called on all States to uphold resolution 1325 (2000) and follow on resolutions, as powerful tools, among others, to safeguard women’s rights and strengthen their participation and leadership in war and peace. He welcomed the initiative to bring in more women of various backgrounds as Council briefers to offer new voices on how to improve implementation.
JACQUELINE O'NEILL (Canada), first speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, urged all Member States and the UN system to redouble efforts to protect and promote women’s human rights, and ensure their full, equal, meaningful, and safe participation and leadership in all aspects of peace and security. She called for a target of 50 per cent participation of women in peace processes and the UN making that a standard requirement. She also called for the dismantling of the patriarchy and oppressive power structures standing in the way of progress on gender equality. As well, safe, secure and enabling environments must be created for peacebuilders, peacekeepers, human rights defenders, environmental defenders and journalists, among others, and any attacks, intimidation, retaliation, and reprisals against women peacebuilders and human rights defenders, including those who cooperate with the UN, must be condemned.
Sustained and flexible funding for peacebuilding by local and women’s rights organizations must be promoted. She also called for the full respect of international law, and prevention and response to all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination, through putting victims and survivors at the heart of all efforts. Where national institutions are not able or willing to act against perpetrators, such crimes should be deterred, including referring matters to the International Criminal Court, she said, encouraging the Council to use targeted sanctions against those who perpetrate sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflict.
In her national capacity, she said that, while consulting last year’s statement and the ones from years before, she was struck by how almost all of them would be equally relevant today, adding: “I fear how far we could go back in years, and continue to find useable material.” These included references to growing threats against women peacebuilders and even specific calls to recognize and resource the leadership of Afghan, Haitian, Israeli, Palestinian, South Sudanese, Sudanese, and other women working for peace. Yet, she said, this moment feels especially raw and fearsome, as though the work done to strengthen humanity and build peace is being lost. She therefore underscored the need to heed women peacebuilders’ calls, and to build new partnerships across geopolitical blocs based on outdated power dynamics. More must be done to bridge the funding gap for peacebuilding, she said, voicing hope that everyone can be in search of a new text next year.
CHRISTINA MARKUS LASSEN (Denmark), also speaking for Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, said that in a time shaped by the proliferation of armed conflict and a scourge of violence beyond armed conflict, Member States must redouble their efforts to implement resolution 1325 (2000). Stressing that women’s full, equal and meaningful participation at all levels in political and peacebuilding processes and in peacekeeping is essential to peace and security, she drew attention of those present to the open letter of 16 October signed by 617 civil society organizations, echoing its call. She said that history has taught nations that inclusive peace processes are likely to produce sustainable results, adding: “Positive political change and development is in high demand, and women must be in the driving seat.”
She noted that Member States must do more to ensure that women-led groups can participate in all political processes, not least by providing flexible funding through mechanisms such as the Women, Peace and Humanitarian Fund. The UN must take steps towards greater diversity and representation of women, including young women, in the meditation teams it leads and co-leads, she emphasized, calling for concrete actions to ensure women’s representation in all UN-led mediation efforts. Stressing that it is the responsibility of Member States to address all cases of violence, she said that the countries, for which she speaks, emphasize zero-tolerance for harassment.
HOANG GIANG DANG (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that the group reaffirms women empowerment as not only a moral imperative but also a strategic necessity. “Women are not merely statistics in conflict data, women are the effective peacemakers, agents of change and architects of reconciliation,” he stressed, adding that ASEAN is committed to ensuring the gender equality and the full protection of women’s rights. “The ASEAN Women for Peace Registry was established in 2018 as a creative initiative to mobilize resource and consolidate knowledge for capacity-building and advocacy on the gender approach to peace and conflicts in the region,” he said, underscoring that ASEAM member States have also undertaken concrete steps across the spectrum of peace and security at the national level and have increased the participation of women in military and police roles. “Several ASEAN member States have enacted laws and policies aimed at preventing violence against women and girls in the conflict-related situations,” he concluded.
MARITZA CHAN VALVERDE (Costa Rica) said that as women continue to bear a disproportionate burden in conflict, urgent action must be taken to avoid further setbacks, particularly as the world approaches the twenty-fifth anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000). She said while most resolutions under the women, peace and security agenda deplore sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon of war, the Council is yet to examine online gender-based violence “within its normative framework, let alone its intersectionality”. Beyond facing severe barriers to Internet access and connectivity in rural and conflict-affected regions, women and girls experience violence on the Internet, which prevents them from participating in discussions and from doing so in private spaces. She called for greater civil society and private-sector involvement as well as States’ collaboration with women’s organizations at the local level to further this agenda. “This debate should not focus on what you can ‘give’ to women but on dismantling the barriers to our participation,” she said.
YOKA BRANDT (Netherlands), aligning herself with the European Union, the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, and the Feminist Foreign Policy+ Group, said: “There can be no lasting peace if we do not take into account half of the population’s voices, perspectives and lived experiences.” But there are few examples of truly inclusive peace processes. Too often, masculine power dynamics decide the course of conflict. The Netherlands is committed to creating a safe environment that enables diverse women to participate in political spheres, online and offline. She said that there is a need to ensure substantial financial support for women-led and feminist organizations as they work to break through the barriers to women’s participation in peace processes. She added that her country in its aim to address the root causes of gender inequality across all the aspects of its foreign policy needs self-reflection and proper evaluation of its own policies.
THARARUT HANLUMYUANG (Thailand), aligning herself with the statement to be delivered by ASEAN, underscored the need for political will in promoting women’s leadership and meaningful participation to translate the women, peace and security agenda into national policies and programmes at all levels. Thailand is finalizing its national action plan on the topic to further strengthen women’s involvement in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Underscoring the need to foster an environment where uniformed women personnel can participate in the UN peacekeeping operations in a sustainable manner, she voiced support for the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy in Peacekeeping Operations. As well, the agenda must be integrated into regional platforms, she said, highlighting ASEAN’s efforts to this end.
MYRIAM OEHRI (Liechtenstein) said that despite achievements in the implementation of the women, peace and security pillar worldwide, women’s participation remains the exception rather than the rule. Often among the most active agents of change at grassroot level, women routinely face discriminatory practices that exclude them from more formal processes, including peace talks and negotiations, she observed. “Translating the [women, peace and security] agenda from theory into practice means empowering actors whose legitimate claim for participation continues to be neglected and ignored,” she stressed, noting that to do so, States must listen to, invest in and include women in decision-making. Noting that women rights defenders are on the front lines of women’s rights in conflict and post-conflict situations, she said they operate in the “hyper-masculinized context of war” to push against centuries of discrimination and violence faced by women and girls.
SANITA PAVĻUTA-DESLANDES (Latvia), aligning herself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, said that the agenda calls for collective efforts to address the dire situation of women and children, most urgently in the Middle East, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and the Russian Federation’s war of aggression in Ukraine. “In countries where women can overcome barriers to their participation, they contribute greatly to enhancement of peace and security, climate-resilient communities and sustainable resource management — we have seen that happen in Sierra Leone, Sudan, Colombia, El Salvador and Ecuador,” she emphasized, highlighting the approach of the UN Peacebuilding Fund, which in 2022 invested resources aimed at promoting women’s participation in climate change adaptation. She encouraged the Council to further integrate climate-related security risks into women, peace and security agenda.
ANA JIMENEZ DE LA HOZ (Spain) said her country prioritizes conflict prevention on the issue of women, peace and security by addressing underlying causes such as gender inequality, through the incorporation of more women into positions of political power and safety. She added that training can also play an important role in preventing conflict, citing the European Union Gender Military Training Discipline course which gives a comprehensive approach to gender in peace operations, led by the Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs of Spain and the Netherlands with about 1,000 participants from over 50 countries. She highlighted her country’s regional efforts in mediation with the joint creation of the Ibero-American Network of Women Mediators with Mexico and a dozen countries in the region. On the eve of the agenda’s twenty-fifth anniversary, “we must protect women peacebuilders more firmly than ever so that the agenda ceases to be a promise and begins to become a reality,” she said.
BERIK ABDUSHEV (Kazakhstan) said his country is working to strengthen the role of women and achieve the highest international standards in gender policy. Gender equality is one of the key priorities of large-scale political and democratic reforms aimed at building a new Kazakhstan — a socially just democracy, based on the principle of leaving no one behind and ensuring equal conditions for all. Progress to date includes reducing the country’s gender inequality index by 60 per cent and introducing a 30 per cent quota for women and youth in Parliament and local representative bodies, he said. National efforts must be reinforced by commitments at the regional level. In this context, he noted that the five countries of Central Asia, with the support of the UN, have created the Women Leaders Caucus to develop effective ways to fully realize the potential of women throughout Central Asia.
[Due to technical difficulties, the statement made by the representative of the Dominican Republic was unable to be covered.]
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) said the Government has a well-defined policy that has strengthened the role of women and created opportunities for their significant contributions at the national and international levels. The Education Above All Foundation implements initiatives that ensure capacity-building for young men and women affected by conflict through its "Protecting Education in Conflict and Insecurity" programme. This gives them the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective agents of positive change and build more just, peaceful and prosperous societies. In cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Education Foundation, Qatar launched the "Women in Conflict Zones" initiative to support women and girls in conflict and crisis. It is also committed to following up on the implementation of the main outcomes of the High-Level World Conference on Inclusive Peace Processes for Youth, she said. This includes a five-year strategy on comprehensive peace processes for youth, with a special focus on the vital role played by young women.
NEKWAYA HELALIA NALITYE IILEKA (Namibia) said her delegation’s commitment to the agenda is anchored in its full appreciation that it applies to all situations — non-conflict, conflict and post-conflict — while promoting the equal participation of women and men in peace processes and development efforts at all levels. As a practical tool of support, in the run-up to the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), Namibia launched the International Women’s Peace Centre, which conceptualizes and operationalizes the concept of women’s influence in peace processes, she said. As the international community prepares for the twenty-fifth anniversary in 2025, she appreciated the broad mainstreaming of resolution 1325 (2000) and the implementation of the women and peace and security agenda. She urged Member States to translate the rhetoric into tangible benefits by developing and implementing comprehensive national action plans and investing in capacity-building and gender-responsive budgeting.
ANA PAULA ZACARIAS (Portugal) said the international community needs to redouble its efforts to achieve women’s full, equal and meaningful participation as peace negotiators, mediators and signatories of agreements. In a world shattered by more conflicts and crises around the world, it is essential to ensure the agenda’s initiatives are transferred into concrete changes for local female populations. Women’s safety, particularly that of female human rights activists and journalists, must be ensured as they face greater security threats. Portugal has laid out its fourth national action plan, which introduces dimensions of resolution 1325 (2000) into all areas. This includes political activity, foreign policy, multilateral relations and development cooperation. The empowerment of women and girls demands a special focus on education complemented by awareness-raising campaigns, which must include men and boys to dismantle gender stereotypes and bias. She said ensuring meaningful participation of women and girls in public life and decision-making “is not only a moral obligation, but an essential driver of peace”.
HEBA MOSTAFA MOSTAFA RIZK (Egypt) voiced alarm over the exponential rise in the number of women and girls living in conflict-affected countries as set out in the Secretary-General’s report, adding that the increase may be higher in situations of armed conflict. The year 2023 has witnessed the eruption of further conflicts affecting women and girls, she said, noting the armed conflict in the Sudan, and the aggression by Israel, the occupying Power, against innocent civilians in Gaza. The number of casualties rises daily, in violation of international law, perpetrated with impunity. Her country adheres to Council resolution 1325 (2000), she said, reiterating the need for its full implementation in conflict and post-conflict settings, while taking into account national priorities and specificities. Within the UN, since the seventy-first General Assembly, Egypt has championed the resolution on sexual exploitation and abuse, which aims to eliminate such unlawful acts in UN operations.
KRISTEL LÕUK (Estonia), aligning herself with the European Union, said that implementing the women, peace and security agenda requires comprehensive, all-inclusive efforts. Estonia’s national action plan includes reference to women’s involvement in peacekeeping and peace negotiations. “Amidst the horrors that Russian armed forces and affiliated mercenaries commit against women and girls in Ukraine, we want to commend the incredible leadership Ukrainian women have exemplified by taking assertive roles in the political, military and humanitarian spheres in resisting Russia’s heinous war,” she said, urging the Russian Federation to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine. “Women’s full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership is the only way to achieve sustainable and lasting peace — that said, we should rather focus on conflict prevention than dealing with the aftermath,” she stressed, adding that change cannot happen without engaging men and boys as crucial contributors.
MATEUSZ SAKOWICZ (Poland), aligning himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, hoped the debate would serve as a catalyst for the significant advancements in the promotion of women’s inclusion across all facets of the women, peace and security agenda. He said actions that hinder the political engagement of women or curb their public activities negatively impact crisis prevention and post-conflict recovery. “We must harness this untapped resource of strong women as change agents,” he said, adding that political and financial measures are essential to protecting women’s rights and promoting their role, including in United Nations peacekeeping and political missions. He said Ukrainian women have been at the forefront of humanitarian efforts and tirelessly advocated for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, standing strong against the Russian Federation’s efforts to undermine them. The world must therefore continue to advance their rights and freedoms and provide them the necessary protection, including from conflict-related sexual violence.
TOMÁŠ GRÜNWALD (Slovakia), aligning himself with the European Union, said: “If we want peaceful and prosperous societies for all, we cannot afford to ignore half of the population.” To this end, he emphasized that it is crucial to ensure women’s safety and their right to act. Noting that his country faces “challenges of its own” but spares no effort in implementing the women, peace and security agenda, he reported that his Government has implemented its first National Action Plan for 2021-2025 in this regard, highlighting that women’s share in the military has reached 22 per cent among new conscripts. Representation of women serving in the armed forces is now 15 per cent, he added, expressing hope that this will translate into an increased number of women-peacekeepers. He also spotlighted that on 24 October Slovakia’s President appointed the first-ever female Brigadier General in that country.
DIEGO PARY RODRÍGUEZ (Bolivia) paid tribute to the women and girls who suffer the consequences of conflict, in particular those in Gaza enduring one of the worst tragedies because of the actions of the occupying Power. Sixty per cent of victims are children and women, he said, adding that resolution 1325 (2000) was a milestone in recognizing the relationship between gender and security. But the figures mentioned show it is still insufficient. Women cannot continue to be excluded from decisions that impact their lives and communities, he said, adding that they bring a unique perspective to conflict resolution. Wars and armed conflict have a greater impact on women, who often face forced displacement and sexual and gender-based violence, he said, adding that it is vital to empower women and girls. “Empowerment of women is not just a matter of rights but of historical justice,” he said. “Fighting for equality is not just an issue for women.”
ARIEL RODELAS PEÑARANDA (Philippines) said that in 2010 his country became the first nation in Asia to launch a national action plan on women, peace and security and his was the first country to have a female chief negotiator for a major peace agreement that ended many decades of conflict. The Philippines is in the process of finalizing the fourth generation of its National Action Plan, which covers a 10-year planning and implementation period from 2023 to 2033, he said. This document builds upon the findings of multi-stakeholder evaluations of the 2017-2022 National Action Plan, which upholds the principles outlined in the country’s “Magna Carta of Women”. The country’s Development Plan for 2023-2028 recognizes that ensuring peace and security needs a whole-of-Government approach with gender mainstreaming as one of its cross-cutting strategies, he emphasized, adding that this is further reinforced by the Five-Point Peace Reconciliation and Unity Agenda.
MARÍA DEL CARMEN SQUEFF (Argentina) said that her country is committed to continue support to all gender policies that seek peace and equality through the implementation of its second national action plan, which aims to deepen gender policies. “The reality currently shows the growing number of armed groups for whom gender inequality is a strategic goal and misogyny is part of their central ideology,” she stressed, adding that exclusion of women from participation in peace processes continues to be a constant. She also expressed regret that women negotiators, activists, politicians and human rights defenders continue to be attacked for their involvement in peace processes, including through sexual violence. “At the request of Argentina, the Regional Network of Mediators of the Southern Cone was launched in 2021, which constitutes an important regional achievement of joint work between MERCOSUR [the Southern Common Market] partners and Chile,” she said.
JAKUB KULHÁNEK (Czech Republic), aligning himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, said with global security deteriorating, the world witnesses a rollback of women’s and girls’ rights globally. It is therefore essential that Council and the international community recommit to improving the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda. “We need to accelerate action to protect and uphold the full spectrum of human rights of women and girls, and ensure their full, equal and meaningful participation in all spheres of public life and decision-making,” he stressed, adding that any intimidation or attacks against women rights defenders, women journalists, peacebuilders, and civil society must be condemned and perpetrators held accountable. He called on all parties to armed conflicts to fully comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law. “Women´s participation and leadership in peace and security issues must become a norm in order to bring about the change and results we want to achieve,” he said.
VÍCTOR GARCÍA TOMA (Peru) said resolution 1325 (2000) is a fundamental milestone in recognizing women as relevant participants in achieving the purposes and goals of the Charter of the United Nations. That resolution serves as a sound basis for strengthening the rights of women, fully and without exclusion, he said, adding that the capacity of women has been clearly seen in the effective compliance with the United Nations peacekeeping mandate, which Peru fully supports. Along these lines, he expressed appreciation of the Secretary-General’s annual report on women and peace and security, which underscores the importance of incorporating the gender perspective. He highlighted that Peru has an 18 per cent participation rate in peacekeeping missions and supports and promotes women’s participation in political and civil decision-making, he said, expressing a commitment to continue to fight all forms of gender-based violence.
ALEXANDER MARSCHIK (Austria), aligning himself with the European Union, said that he deplores all conflict-related sexual violence, which primarily targets women and girls. Pointing out that local, community-level responses are usually “most immediate” to provide relief, he stressed that women need to be in the centre of local level solutions. Reiterating Austria’s commitment to the women, peace and security agenda, he said it has pledged over €11 million for the Women, Peace and Security Humanitarian Action Compact and increased its multi-year funding to the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund from €5 million to €9.7 million until 2025. Austria is also committed to increasing the number of women among its military personnel, including military staff on peacekeeping missions, he said. He further renewed a call on the Security Council to systematically include the women, peace and security agenda in all mandates of UN peacekeeping and political missions.
ANTONIOS PAPAKOSTAS (Greece), aligning himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, said that women are still absent in many peace processes. “Women’s meaningful participation requires that their security, dignity, as well as human rights, including the right to have control over their own body and the sexual and reproductive health and rights, are equally respected, promoted and protected,” he said, adding that his country implements the coherent legal and institutional framework which provides for gender mainstreaming across the whole range of public policies, both domestic and foreign. Greece also includes the women, peace and security agenda among the priorities of its candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and, if elected, intends to keep the issue high on its agenda, he stated.
ZORAYA DEL CARMEN CANO FRANCO (Panama) said violence against women generates a chain of consequences that last beyond the conflict and perpetuates broken homes and intergenerational traumas in children and adolescents. She said the promotion of gender equality and women's empowerment is a basic pillar of her country’s foreign policy as her Government recognizes that equality, development and peace can be achieved if women participate in all spheres of society, with meaningful steps being taken to promote their access to leadership positions in all sectors. She underscored the importance of documentation and follow-up of aggression and violations against women and girls as key elements in all peace efforts. “Let us raise or voice here for those who cannot speak and let us invite women to mobilize their efforts in order to put an end to the serious aggression that women and girls suffer today,” she urged. She further called for peace under humanitarian law and facilitation of a humanitarian corridor for free passage of aid into Gaza.
MUHAMMAD ABDUL MUHITH (Bangladesh) aligned himself with the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, and expressed full commitment to the agenda. Over the years, successive Security Council resolutions have expanded the scope and dimensions of the agenda, he said, adding that, unfortunately, its realization has remained slow and inadequate. It is critical to develop and apply an effective compliance mechanism at the country level. The Council itself has a responsibility to lead by example by engaging a greater number of women in proceedings, he said, adding that the views and recommendations of women briefers should be noted in relevant resolutions and decisions. He commended the peacekeeping operations in advancing gender equality and women’s participation in the host countries. Turning to sexual violence during conflicts, he said it is imperative to create a safe environment for women and to strengthen accountability.
ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen) said the participation of women in international peace and security begins at the national and regional levels, which opens the road to a wider role for women internationally. In the past decades, Yemeni women have had many opportunities in public life as well as in economic, social and political life. He noted the election of women to parliament and their employment in civil service, adding that Yemen has many women ambassadors throughout the world. Yemeni women work as lawyers and judges and have taken up important roles in court. They have also participated in the comprehensive national dialogue that ended in 2014. This was an important national event that reflected the political will to give women the role they deserve, he added.
ENKHBOLD VORSHILOV (Mongolia) said that the current turbulent time of heightened geopolitical tensions and armed conflicts requires exerting more efforts on engaging every Member State and all members of society, including women, into peace and security actions. He said that his country attaches great importance to women’s participation in decision-making levels, political leadership, and economic empowerment. Although women make up half of the total population, gender equality has not been achieved in decision-making positions, he noted, adding that his country’s Law on Elections has been amended to set a minimum quota for women among party candidates to 30 per cent. Mongolia has been ranking among the top 30 UN troop-contributing countries in the number of women peacekeepers and is firmly committed to meet the call by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations to increase the number of women peacekeepers to 15 per cent by 2027, he said.
ABBAS KADHOM OBAID AL-FATLAWI (Iraq) said the impact of women’s involvement in peace processes and decision-making is a turning point internationally as his country has adopted a national strategy from 2023 to 2030 on women “to crown our achievements to empower women and strengthen their participation in public life, where women and girls have equal opportunity and enjoy their full human rights”. He said his country is committed to strengthening women’s role in negotiations and mediations to protect them during crisis and is the first county in the Middle East and North Africa to put in place national plans to implement resolution 1325 (2000). Iraq is committed to increasing the number of women in protection services and strengthening legislations on protection of women in crises, with over 73 centres for psychosocial support. He called on the international community to ensure that justice is served to Palestinian women in Gaza with all rights protected.
LILIANA VERÓNICA BAÑOS MÜLLER (El Salvador), associating herself with the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, said despite the advances to implement the women, peace and security agenda, females continue to grapple with obstacles to participate on an equal footing in peace processes. Pointing to prevailing impunity in atrocities committed against women and girls in conflict and to gaps in funding to support implementation of gender and peace agreements, she called for action to address those challenges urgently. She encouraged Council members to continue making visible the women, peace and security agenda through open debates and informative sessions. To implement the agenda, El Salvador set up an inter-institutional national committee for implementation of Council resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent resolutions. It has also promoted a series of initiatives with UN support. Among them is Women Guardians of Peace focused on strengthening the leadership capacity of women and empowering them at the national level.
GIANLUCA GRECO (Italy), aligning himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, noting the disproportionate suffering of women and girls in conflict-affected situations, said that violence, particularly gender-based violence in conflict, is rooted in gender inequality and structural patterns of discrimination. He highlighted his country’s efforts to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment through its support for the work of women peacebuilders and networks of women mediators, and its launching in 2017 of the Mediterranean Women Mediators’ Network to foster women’s inclusion in peace processes, mediation efforts and peacebuilding in the region. Its work led to the establishment of the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks. He spotlighted his country’s promotion of two side-events in the margins of today’s debate, including a discussion, to be held on 26 October, with UN-Women, civil society representatives and others about Afghan women and their absence in the Taliban-controlled political arena.
REBECCA SUZANNE BRYANT (Australia) asked why women are still excluded from peace processes and decision-making. There is an extensive body of evidence on why women matter to making, building and keeping peace, she said, adding that the Secretary-General’s report is a reminder of the devastating consequences of disregarding the women, peace and security agenda, which can be witnessed in Israel and Gaza. Globally, there has been no substantial increase in the percentage of women in peace negotiations, and violence against female human rights defenders continues to rise. With regression on gender equality and the human rights of women and girls, there is erosion in democracy and a surge in instability, she said, adding that Australia is resisting threats to the international rules-based system. Australia is also prioritizing the participation of women in the country’s defence force and the security sector globally, she said.
FIONA BRODERICK (Ireland) said that peace processes and political dialogues must include the full, meaningful and safe participation of women. “This is not a nice idea to tick a box but rather an essential requirement if we want to achieve just and sustainable peace,” she said, calling for a zero-tolerance approach to reprisals of any kind or harassment or attack against women peacebuilders and human rights defenders, including those who engage with the UN. “It involves embracing an intersectional approach in peacebuilding and conflict resolution to create space for the participation of all, including LGBTQI+ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex] persons,” she stressed. “In many contexts around the world we are losing ground on gender equality,” she noted, urging investment in women’s and female-led grassroot organizations and pledging €42 million from Ireland to feminist and women’s rights organizations and women peacebuilders over five years.
MARÍA NOEL BERETTA TASSANO (Uruguay) said the lack of progress in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) urges Member States to reflect on how each country can play a significant role in countering the situation, adding that promoting peace and security with a focus on women’s full participation “is a collective responsibility that requires joint and coordinated action”. To this end, her country’s armed forces, supported by the Elsie Initiative Fund, is working towards overcoming barriers pertinent to women being deployed to field operations. Uruguay is committed to effective implementation of concrete measures advancing gender equality and the active participation of women in all aspects related to the women, peace and security agenda. She paid tribute to Bertha Lutz for her efforts in the San Francisco Conference towards women’s participation in all activities of the United Nations, including peace and security.
GHEORGHE LEUCĂ (Republic of Moldova), associating himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, said his country has made important progress in advancing gender equality. Women’s participation and representation in leadership and decision-making processes has gradually and steadily increased at all levels and in many spheres. To ensure a comprehensive, effective and inclusive approach to gender equality, his Government has adopted a programme and related action plan for cohesion among various actors in the security and defence sectors. They aim to reduce stereotypes and barriers in the field, support better representation of women in those sectors, and enhance the mechanism for prevention, reporting and investigation of cases of violence, among others. The Republic of Moldova is also focused on increasing the share of women in international peacekeeping missions and facilitating the equal participation of women and men in all stages of conflict resolution, he added.
OMAR KADIRI (Morocco) said that women face discrimination and violence, hampering their participation in decision-making in post-conflict contexts. He called for a holistic approach to move from theory to practice by encouraging the participation of women at all levels of decision-making. As well, women and girls must be protected in conflict areas. Gender-based violence and sexual violence must be prevented and impunity must be fought. Morocco is committed to moving the women, peace and security agenda forward. Its national action plan in that regard is not a formality; it ensures equality between men and women. He went on to take exception to comments by Algeria’s delegate on the Moroccan Sahara and asserted that its women enjoyed all their rights, including the right to participate in elections on equal footing with men. However, this was not the case for Algerian women, whose rights were violated, he added.