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Gender and Social Inclusion

Debate & Resolution: UN Takes on Women, Peace & Security

Following the UN in autumn is no job for the weary, but it’s exciting. September saw the opening of the General Assembly (GA), with a series of high-level events and a historic focus on people with disabilities. And today, October 18, is a thrilling day for those of us working on the critical area of women, peace and security: the UN Security Council is holding its annual open debate on this issue.

Thirteen years ago, the Security Council adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1325—a landmark achievement that established the agenda for women, peace and security. The WRC made important contributions to the original resolution, and continues advocacy to reinforce and ensure its strength.

In this year’s open debate—“open” because all Member States have the opportunity to make statements—the Security Council will adopt a resolution. This new resolution underscores women’s participation and leadership in peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction, a “pillar” of the WPS agenda. This is significant, as the participation pillar has been somewhat overlooked amidst a recent targeted focus on sexual violence in conflict. Yet ensuring women’s participation and leadership is essential to achieving success in these other areas, so a resolution that reinforces this point is necessary and welcome. Women’s security, well-being and empowerment require that we give due attention to all four pillars, committing the necessary resources and marshalling political will for the full agenda.

Today’s open debate follows the Secretary General’s annual report to the Security Council on women, peace and security. In this year’s report, the Secretary General takes a hard look at gaps in implementation and highlights areas that are often neglected: refugee women and girls in urban areas, livelihoods for women in post-conflict contexts and the necessity of gender equality in citizenship laws. The WRC strongly supported the inclusion of these issues in the report. Gender inequality in citizenship laws, in particular, is a human rights violation and blocks women’s ability to access services. Furthermore, it is a pre-requisite for women’s full participation in peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction. The Secretary General’s report also recommends that all dialogues undertaken on the post-2015 development agenda incorporate the principles of Resolution 1325, and that a high-level, independent review be undertaken ahead of the agenda’s 15th anniversary in 2015 to examine progress and remaining challenges.

The WRC is pleased that today’s resolution acknowledges the specific needs and role of displaced women, including the necessity of facilitating their equal rights to claim citizenship and participate in all peacebuilding and post-conflict processes. We will be listening carefully to statements made by Ambassadors of Member States, which will reflect on the Secretary General’s report as well as each Member State’s own efforts to implement the 1325 agenda in its domestic and foreign policy. These statements signal to the international community each Member State’s position and priorities in this area of work for the year ahead.

For its part, the WRC will continue our intensive advocacy on women, peace and security issues, calling attention in particular to the importance of including displaced women and girls in all national and international efforts to meet the goals of Resolution 1325 and the related resolutions the Council has adopted in recent years.  The momentum that we have seen building around this year’s report and open debate is notable. And we welcome the call for an independent review of the status of the women, peace and security agenda in conjunction with the approaching 15th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325. We hope all this activity will help to further energize the commitment to this critical agenda and result in much more effective implementation on the ground. 


Gender and Social Inclusion