NEW YORK – 14 October 2020 – The Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS), in collaboration with the Department of Peace Operations, hosted a virtual high-level panel on championing gender-sensitive security sector reform. The meeting was the fourth and final in a series of dialogues sponsored by the UAE and GIWPS on the role of women in post-conflict reconstruction.

H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN, said: “Increasing women’s representation in the security sector, as well as cultivating male allies who work for gender equality, is a solid strategy for dismantling gender-biased power structures and norms that contribute to violence against women and broader inequality. Accountability mechanisms represent another powerful lever to empower women and build peace.”

Co-host and moderator of the virtual discussion Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of GIWPS, stated, “Women’s inclusion in security forces is not enough for meaningful participation – which is what matters in the end.”

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, said, “women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in national security sectors is one of the UN’s highest priorities in the area of SSR.” He underlined that women’s exclusion from national security sectors has an impact on “the States’ capacities to effectively prevent conflicts and respond to the security needs of all members of their population – women, men, boys and girls, and to contribute to international peace and security.”

The panel featured H.E. Adela Raz, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN; Commander Seema Dhundia, Former Commander of the First All-Female Formed Police Unit in Liberia; and Dr. Sabrina Karim, Hardis Family Assistant Professor at Cornell University. Together, they explored opportunities to increase women’s meaningful participation in national security sectors and to strengthen the normative and guidance framework on gender-responsive security sector reform in post-conflict contexts. They also identified windows of opportunity for the UN, Member States, international financial institutions, and international and civil society actors to establish partnerships in support of the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda in security sector reform amidst challenges posed by COVID-19.

The joint initiative of the UAE and GIWPS is focused on advancing the role of women in post-conflict reconstruction and evaluating how far the international community has come since the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on WPS. Previous discussions focused on post-conflict governance, political participation, economic recovery and climate resilience, and access to justice. The UAE-GIWPS joint initiative also consists of a major research report, which will be launched in late 2020, as well as a UN plan of action that will support the UN Secretary-General’s 2020 Review of Resolution 1325 (2000). The launch of both the report and plan will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the WPS agenda by the international community.