Intervention by the Permanent Representative of the Argentine Republic, Amb. Martín García Moritán
I am pleased to speak on behalf of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, an informal network of 51 interested Member States chaired by Canada, representing all five regional groups of the United Nations. On the 17th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325, the Group reaffirms its unwavering support for the Council’s work on this important agenda.
Despite an increasingly robust normative framework on women, peace, and security, we emphasize that real, tangible progress lies in implementation. In this regard, much remains to be done. We applaud those countries which have established or renewed national action plans in the past year. We reiterate that such plans must be coupled with sufficient resources to deliver results. Such implementation will also directly contribute to the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, agreed to by all Member States. We wish to thank Spain for its initiative to establish the network of WPS Focal points and for organizing the first substantive meeting in Alicante and its follow-up in New York. We look forward to Germany and Namibia chairing the Focal Points’ Network in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Furthermore, we wish to highlight regional efforts which can coordinate and combine efforts towards more effective implementation.
The Group welcomes the Secretary-General’s leadership on conflict prevention and sustaining peace and notes that the effective implementation of the women, peace and security agenda directly contributes to these objectives. Indeed, we know that gender-based violence and the repression of women’s human rights is correlated with the outbreak of conflict. We also know that women’s participation has a positive impact on the credibility and durability of peace agreements. Therefore, it is all the more essential to include gender considerations and the meaningful participation of women in early warning, mediation, and conflict resolution efforts, as well as the mainstreaming of gender-specific language and the human rights of women in peace agreements. A greater role for women needs also to be ensured in post-conflict peacebuilding and economic recovery.
This approach should also apply to the Security Council’s work in preventing and addressing conflict. In this regard, we welcome the ongoing work undertaken by the Informal Experts Group to facilitate a more systematic approach to the Council’s agenda, including in resolutions, statements, reporting, and visits to the field, as well as regular input from civil society. Indeed, we recognize the importance of engaging with and supporting civil society in delivering real impact on this agenda.
The Group highlights the need to further the implementation of the women, peace, and security agenda in UN peacekeeping, both in terms of women’s participation and gender expertise and mainstreaming into doctrine and all planning documents. Women play an indispensable role in peacekeeping and their participation at all levels is key to the operational effectiveness of missions. We must therefore redouble efforts and engage in new and creative thinking to resolve persistent gaps and structural barriers to female participation and leadership. Separately, peacekeeping operations need to be equipped with appropriate gender-responsive conflict analysis and expertise. We are deeply concerned that cutting, downgrading, and under-resourcing gender advisors and women protection advisors positions may cripple the ability of peace operations to fulfill these critical tasks.
We must also ensure that UN peacekeepers themselves are not part of the problem and condemn cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations. We welcome recent initiatives by the Secretary-General, including the conclusion of sexual exploitation and abuse Voluntary Compact with Member States, the establishment of a Circle of Leadership, and the appointment of a SEA Victims’ Rights Advocate. Still much more needs to be done to tackle this scourge, ensure accountability, and fundamentally reconfigure our collective approach to make it victim-centered.
Unfortunately, sexual violence also remains prevalent in situations of armed conflict worldwide. The Group condemns in the strongest terms such acts, which constitute a grave violation and abuse of human rights and international humanitarian law, and raise barriers to the full achievement of gender equality, peace, and development. To end impunity, perpetrators must be brought to justice, and victims and survivors must be assisted in a comprehensive manner in order to fully recover from these violations and be able to reintegrate in their societies. We are also appalled by acts of sexual violence, including rape, child, early and forced marriage, and enslavement, including those committed by terrorist groups such as Daesh. In this regard, we welcome the recent adoption of Security Council Resolution 2379 on accountability for the acts committed by Daesh in Iraq. It is our hope that this is the first step in a process to ensure more comprehensive accountability. We highlight the importance of including specific expertise on gender and sexual violence to ensure the documentation of sexual violence as part of these efforts as well as a focus on reducing stigma associated with survivors of sexual violence in conflict.
Indeed, a gendered approach is critical to facing new and emerging challenges such as violent extremism. We support the engagement of women’s leadership and the incorporation of a gender lens in the development of strategies to prevent and address violent extremism, and recognize Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership as a dynamic network of independent women-led organizations that are locally rooted and globally connected. Such an approach recognizes the role of women in developing resilience, the impact of violent extremism on women, and the reality of women joining violent extremist groups. We also welcome the establishment of the Group of Friends of Preventing Violent Extremism as and when conducive to terrorism, co-chaired by Jordan and Norway, which stresses the need for full and executive participation of women and youth in efforts to prevent violent extremism.
In conclusion, we believe in the transformational potential of the women, peace, and security agenda. We remain committed to work with the United Nations and all Member States to its full realization.