The UN Security Council (UNSC) decided to integrate women, peace and security concerns across all country-specific situations on its agenda, by a resolution adopted during its Open Debate on women, peace and security, which also served to mark the 15th anniversary of the Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
At this meeting, the Council also was presented with the report of the High-level Review on 1325.
13 October 2015: The UN Security Council (UNSC) decided to integrate women, peace and security concerns across all country-specific situations on its agenda, by a resolution adopted during its Open Debate on women, peace and security, which also served to mark the 15th anniversary of the Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. At this meeting, the Council also was presented with the report of the High-level Review on 1325.
In the new resolution (2242), the Council expresses its intention to dedicate periodic Council consultations on country situations to the topic of women, peace and security implementation, as well as to ensure UNSC missions take into account gender considerations and the rights of women.
Addressing the Council at the debate on 13 October 2015, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasizes the centrality of gender equality and the need to step up international efforts for women’s empowerment to achieve “Planet 50/50.” Therefore, he said, the UN’s strategies for implementing Resolution 1325 must be aligned with the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He said the major reviews of UN’s peace operations, peacebuilding architecture, and women, peace and security taking place in 2015 highlight that any reforms must include gender equality and women’s leadership as central ingredients, and “must be strongly grounded in human rights.” Ban also called for particular attention for the most vulnerable women, such as those facing a compound disadvantage of gender and ethnicity, and indigenous women, who suffer from multiple forms of discrimination, especially in times of conflict.
The Secretary-General committed to do everything possible to ensure UN reaches the target of 15% of peacebuilding funds devoted to projects that address gender equality and the empowerment of women, and recalled that he has appointed five women as Special Representatives in peacekeeping missions (Haiti, Côte d’Ivoire, Western Sahara, South Sudan and Cyprus), as well as the first-ever female Force Commander – Major General Kristin Lund in Cyprus. Ban highlighted that: the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is restructuring the gender architecture in Headquarters and field missions, strengthening the partnership with UN Women, and improving accountability of senior managers; the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) has highlighted the need to deploy gender advisors to all Special Political Missions and is working to bolster the capacity of its gender team in Headquarters; the UN Department of Field Support (DFS) is implementing strengthened measures to address sexual exploitation and abuse, and to increase the representation of women in peacekeeping, especially at the senior management level; and the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will ensure that the outcomes and commitments of the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, in May 2016 in Istanbul, have a strong focus on gender equality.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women, said the most under-utilized tool for building peace is the “meaningful inclusion of women.” She underlined that SDG 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies is “intrinsically linked” with SDG 5 on women’s empowerment and gender equality, and elaborated the benefits of women’s leadership and participation. She also called not to focus on making armed conflict safer for women and girls, but to prevent war in the first place. Mlambo-Ngcuka introduced the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on women, peace and security, which highlights several markers of progress in recognizing the link between gender and peace and security, including that the number of peace agreements mentioning women or gender issues increased from 11% (1990–2010) to 50% (2010–2015). The report also identifies areas of concern, including: obstacles such as political will, financing, accountability, attitudinal and institutional barriers, or lack of expertise and awareness; women’s participation remaining symbolic or low at peace tables; large investments in rebuilding countries that neglect women’s economic activities, or confine women to the informal economy; donors failing to target women’s organizations with support; only 2% of aid to peace and security interventions in fragile states targeting gender equality as a principal objective; gender equality being almost completely ignored in reforms of the security sector, even in the most gender-aware nations; and a drop in the percentage of girls in secondary education in conflict countries, while rates of maternal mortality in these settings are more than double the global average.
Three civil society representatives addressed the Security Council – Julienne Lusenge and Yanar Mohammed, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, and Alaa Murabit, Voice of Libyan Women. Mohammed, President of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, said peace will “never be established” in Iraq and Syria without the proper implementation of Resolution 1325. She noted that ISIL arose from ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq, where the “rights of women, girls and LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] persons and other marginalized groups were already degraded, leaving them open to abuse from ISIL.”
In 2013, the Security Council invited the UN Secretary-General to commission a global study on the implementation of Resolution 1325, in preparation for a High-level Review of progress. The Study was led by Radhika Commaraswamy, former Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict, and former Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. The results were submitted to the UN Secretary-General, and included in his annual report to the UN Security Council in 2015. The High-level Review was convened by the Security Council on 13-14 October 2015. [UN Press Release] [UN Secretary-General Remarks] [UN Women Executive Director Remarks] [UN Press Release on Resolution 2242] [UN Security Council Resolution 2242] [Statement by UN Women on Adoption of Resolution 2242] [Publication: Global Study]