NEW YORK – The UAE underscored the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment in conflict prevention and broader efforts to maintain international peace and security during the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS).

“Women’s meaningful participation is at the heart of the implementation of the WPS agenda,” emphasized H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN. “This includes recognizing women’s agency and the vital roles played by women in local communities, as well as the inclusion of women in political and peace processes, and institution-building. The UAE will continue to promote women’s participation as a key principle of our global peace and security efforts and is committed to working towards the effective implementation of the WPS agenda.”

Ambassador Nusseibeh commended the measures undertaken by the UN to operationalize the WPS agenda, but stressed that the progress must continue at a faster pace. She noted that the implementation of the agenda on the ground remained a challenge due to a confluence of threats including the rise in terrorism and extremism, the targeting of women and girls in conflict zones, and the protracted nature of crises today. In addition, she cited the disappointingly low number of women in peacebuilding and mediation efforts and called on the international community to commit to improving this by tying financial contributions to a demand that women’s participation in peace processes reach 50 percent.

Acknowledging the importance of financial support to effectively implement the WPS agenda, Ambassador Nusseibeh highlighted the UAE’s “100% Women Policy”. Launched recently, the policy aims to ensure that by 2021, 100 percent of bilateral and multilateral foreign assistance will target or integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment as key components of the Ministry’s policy and programming. “Research continues to demonstrate the direct relationship between gender equality and the prevention of conflict, and we believe that this policy is a real and tangible way to achieve this,” she added.

A key element of the UAE’s global strategy to implement the WPS agenda is its partnership with UN Women. Ambassador Nusseibeh pointed out that while the UAE’s 2018 contribution of USD 5 million to UN Women was unearmarked, the UAE has urged the entity to use part of the funds to ensure the implementation of the WPS agenda.

Additionally, she noted that in response to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call to increase the number of women in peacekeeping, the UAE General Women’s Union, Ministry of Defense, and UN Women will organize a military and peacekeeping training for Arab women – the first of its kind in the region. She recognized that peacekeeping operations and uniformed personnel remain the most visible representatives of the UN and that improving gender parity in peace operations is an strategic imperative.

Furthermore, Ambassador Nusseibeh stressed the critical need to advance women’s meaningful participation in both formal and informal peace processes around the world. She stated, “In our region, we face a challenge of prolonged crises, which are merely ‘managed’ in the absence of political solutions. The UAE will strive to support existing political initiatives, including working with UN envoys to support women’s effective participation in peacebuilding.”

Ambassador Nusseibeh took the opportunity to congratulate Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege on their being awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize and applauded them for their tireless dedication to bringing a spotlight to the plight of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and their work to improve the lives of those affected. In this regard, she highlighted how individual voices can put WPS at the heart of the global agenda.