Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil - UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
CAIRO – 28 October 2017: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) urged on Friday its member states, regional organizations and civil societies to strengthen the partnership to boost women’s participation at all levels including sustainable peace efforts and humanitarian settings where gender gaps are clearly evident.
According to reports from the U.N., actions for women’s inclusion in peace processes remain inadequate, and sometimes there is a rollback on progress. In 2016, signed agreements that contained gender specific provisions declined to 50 percent compared to 70 percent in 2014.
During the UNSC session, member states discussed the need to ensure representation of women in the security sector to reduce women exposure to harm and to realize their potential in conflict prevention. They also discussed the need to better activate the UNSC Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security adopted 17 years ago. Different speakers also highlighted the need to share evidence and examples of their implementation of the resolution to examine gaps and successes.
Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the UNSC chef de cabinet, spoke on behalf of the secretary-general and underlined the need for more action on women, peace and security, with focus on prevention. She said that the secretary-general’s report to the UNSC on women, peace and security includes six recommendations that serve as a roadmap to achieve better representation and inclusion of women. These include focusing on transformative implementation, placing gender at the center of the prevention agenda, investing in quality gender and conflict analysis to better implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), protecting women’s human rights defenders, ensuring funds, and exercising greater leadership and political will.
Viotti also pointed out that only three percent of peacekeepers are women and highlighted that the secretary-general is focusing on increasing the number of female personnel with troops and police. She also explained the importance of gender equality and security of women as indicators for peace.
Also, the executive director of the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said that despite the current attention to violence against women and girls in armed conflict, it is critical that perpetrators are brought to justice and that survivors are provided with support in dignity.
She added that political marginalization is not limited to peace processes, but also in political participation, as only 17 countries have elected woman as heads of state or government and the proportion of women parliamentarians in conflict and post-conflict countries has been standing still at 16 percent in the last two years. “The use of quotas and temporary special measures would help,” said Ngcuka, noting examples from Somalia and Mali, and called on donors to continue supporting efforts targeted at women’s empowerment. She further highlighted the importance of ensuring gender-conscious funding for policies and programs.
“This is only the beginning. The chorus of voices that are appalled by the persistent political marginalization of women in decision making is speaking louder. This agenda unites us because people from all over the world, every day, look up to the United Nations for peace, equality and inclusion,” she added.
The UNSCR 1325 was adopted in 2000 to reaffirm the vital role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace building, peace keeping, humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction. It also stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. The resolution urges all actors to increase the participation of women and gender perspective in all UN peace and security efforts. It also calls on all parties to conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from violence in situations of armed conflict.
In September, the European Union (EU) and the U.N. launched the “spotlight initiative” to fight and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, describing it as the most widespread and devastating human rights violations globally.