Security Council Open VTC on Women, Peace and Security - Statement by the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security

29 October 2020

Mister/Madam President,

We are submitting this statement on behalf of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security (WPS), an informal network of 63 Member States, representing all five regional groups of the UNFootnote 1, and the European Union. The Group welcomes the most recent report of the Secretary-General as well as the recommendations it contains.

As we mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325, the Group recognizes the progress made as well as the opportunity and need for far greater implementation of all pillars of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The Group urges Member States to fully implement the provisions of all previous Security Council Resolutions pertaining to the Women, Peace and Security agenda and to reinforce their efforts in this regard. The Group underscores the importance of ensuring that commitments made are kept and accompanied by appropriate accountability frameworks.  

The Group recognizes and pays tribute to the critical role played by civil society in the creation and ongoing implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Now, more than ever, we must create enabling spaces for their important voices and critical perspectives to be heard, considered and acted upon, including in the Security Council. The Group condemns in the strongest possible terms the ongoing and, in many cases, increasing intimidation, threats and violence against women peacebuilders, women political leaders, women community leaders, and women human rights defenders. This violence is unacceptable and it must stop. The Group urges all Member States to fulfill their obligations to this end, and, further urges all Member States to unequivocally call out speech and acts that fuel gender-based discrimination, stigma and violence, including in the digital space.

The Group welcomes ongoing efforts undertaken by the Security Council to more systematically include women from diverse backgrounds in its discussions and urges its members to fully integrate WPS into all of its work and outcomes, including on country-specific situations and mission mandates. The Group similarly welcomes continuing efforts across the UN system and calls on UN departments and entities, including their senior officials, to deliver on their ten core commitments included in the 2019 report of the Secretary-General. The Group emphasizes that women’s participation in peace negotiations is not only desirable; it is essential to achieving more sustainable peace. As such, the Group calls on the UN to aim towards making women’s full, equal and meaningful participation a requirement in all mediation teams, political transitions and the peace processes it leads or co-leads. The Group also encourages Member States and the UN Security Council to follow-up on the recommendations directed at them in the reports of the Secretary-General.

As highlighted in this year’s report, the Group emphasizes how increased, predictable, sustained and flexible funding for Women, Peace and Security is key to making the agenda a reality. Despite some positive examples, we are concerned by the relative stagnation in financing for women’s organisations, especially compared to the trillions of dollars spent every year on peace and security. The financial situation of many women’s organizations has been further weakened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. More must be done to support them.

The 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc worldwide with its impacts exacerbated for women and girls including increased violence, impacts on safety and livelihoods and exclusion from the design, implementation and monitoring of response efforts. We remain outraged by reports of increased sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls during COVID-19, including in armed conflict and post-conflict situations, which undermines the fragile gains on gender equality and women and girls’ human rights. Recalling the responsibilities of parties to armed conflict to respect fully international law applicable to the rights and protection of women and girls, the Group once again echoes the call of the Secretary-General for a global ceasefire in response to COVID-19 and we underscore the importance of a human rights-based and gender-responsive measures against the pandemic.

In this particularly challenging context, it therefore becomes even more imperative to seize on this anniversary year, which also marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, to call upon the international community to redouble our efforts to ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of peace and security, to ensure women’s rights are promoted and protected, and to fill the gaps in implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

Thank you.

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