I thank the Republic of South Africa for convening today’s annual open debate on women, peace and security, a topic of the utmost priority for the UAE. [We take this opportunity to thank the Secretary-General for his annual report on the implementation of resolution 1325, as well as Madam Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN-Women and other briefers for their presentations before this Council].
As the international community prepares to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325, this debate allows for a timely exchange of views to reflect on the achievements and challenges in implementing the mandate of the resolution, as well as to assess the potential next steps. The UAE is proud to have co-sponsored the resolution.
Progress has been significant since the adoption of the resolution in 2000 in the promotion of the women, peace and security agenda. The world is now more aware of both the plight and the positive contribution of women and girls in conflict situations, and why there is a need for their meaningful involvement in resolution, recovery, prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding processes. There is now also widespread recognition of the research findings that when women meaningfully participate in peace processes, peace is 35 percent more likely to last fifteen years or longer. Based on this recognition, several countries have taken policy initiatives in support of women’s inclusion in politics, security, justice, and the economy.
However, significant gaps persist across the Women, Peace and Security agenda, from high rates of sexual and gender-based violence to low rates of female participation and leadership in security and conflict resolution and recovery, among other indicators. Between 1990 and 2017, women constituted only 2 percent of mediators, 8 percent of negotiators, and 5 percent of witnesses and signatories in all major peace processes. We believe these statistics need to be improved in favour of women and girls.
The UAE wishes to highlight a few initiatives and ideas that we believe are integral to contributing to the full and effective implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, as well as the subsequent eight resolutions.
First, there is no substitute for financing, and visibility in the procedures and budgets of security and peace actors. The UAE strongly supports that a minimum of 15% of all UN security and peace spending explicitly target gender equality and women’s empowerment, and we encourage all donors to go beyond the required minimum. We further call on prioritizing financing mechanisms that specifically address women’s important roles in humanitarian and conflict responses. This could be done through either mainstreaming gender considerations in the provision of post-conflict assistance, or through supporting funds for this purpose.
We similarly call for meaningful budget lines for protection in the UN’s humanitarian and peace work, in line with the outcomes of the Oslo conference on Ending Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Humanitarian Crises, which we were honored to co-host in May this year. We also strongly support the mandatory application of gender and age markers across all UN programming.
Second, we recognize the significance of increasing the number of women in peacekeeping operations and affirm our support for the UN’s Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy. The Secretary-General has raised the issue of the negligible involvement of women in United Nations peacekeeping roles within the military, police and civilian components in conflict.
As previously mentioned before this body, the UAE and UN-Women organized a military and peacekeeping training for 134 women from the Arab region in 2019, aimed at equipping the women with the skills and networks to serve and lead. I am very pleased to inform that that as a result of the success of this program, the UAE recently announced the second round of this programme, which is set to launch in mid-January 2020, and to widen the scope to also include women trainees from Africa and Asia. The UAE believes that this program will support regional strategies in the implementation of this resolution, and by doing this, we are supporting the training of women in the military and peacekeeping, not only in our region, but globally as well.
The UAE government is also partnering with UN Women to host a Consultative Dialogue on Women, Peace and Security in 2020. This conference will highlight the achievements and challenges in the full implementation of the WPS agenda; focus on strategies to increase women’s participation in formal and informal peace processes as well as in peacekeeping missions; and identify recommendations to increase financing for the WPS agenda. Importantly, we hope that this Consultative Dialogue will serve as a platform to launch a series of future activities aimed at advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda in the region.
Third, the UAE believes that investing in women’s participation in conflict and post-conflict setting has great returns in effectively resolving these conflicts. We consider our partnership with UN Women as an integral part of our global strategy to implement the WPS agenda. Overall, the UAE has provided more than $26 million to the core budget of the agency since its inception and announced last month a new $15 million multi-year commitment. These funds have facilitated UN Women’s support to WPS programming. Our strong collaboration continues through the UN-Women’s Liaison Office in Abu Dhabi, which has a strategic focus on partnership development in the area of policy advice and political advocacy with Gulf and Arab institutions.
Lastly, we believe that a focus on the inclusion of women in post-conflict reconstruction will have a multiplicative impact and needs to remain a priority of our actions. I am pleased to announce that, on the sidelines of this debate, the UAE and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security are launching a panel discussion series on the role of women in post-conflict reconstruction, one of the core dimensions of UNSCR 1325. The panel series will cover issues ranging from political participation to security sector reform, looking at centering gender in these diverse fields. Drawing on the findings of this collaboration, at this time next year, we will be a releasing an action plan for the UN community, with a shortlist of key reforms and actions to ensure gender is mainstreamed across UN services to post-conflict and recovering communities.
As we have heard today, the WPS agenda is not just a moral imperative, its implementation is critical to preventing conflict and building sustainable peace. Women are our first responders, our community and family pillars, and agents of change. The UAE remains committed to this vision. In this vein, I would like to note that including women, particularly the youth, in briefings on relevant issues is of great importance for the WPS agenda. Allowing young women the opportunity, when possible, to brief the Council on relevant developments would add crucial value to the processes that are followed in the Council, and ensure the Council is aware of developments from the voices of those most affected by conflict and humanitarian crises.
Thank you again.