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The UAE thanks Kenya for organizing this year’s Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security and welcomes the Secretary-General’s strong statement on the matter. We align our statement with the Group of Friends for Women, Peace and Security, and we commend Ireland, Kenya, and Mexico for spotlighting these important issues, and on their trio presidency. We also congratulate the new Executive Director of UN Women, Ambassador Sima Bahous, and reiterate our support for the organization’s crucial efforts and for the critical recommendations she outlined in her briefing this morning.
As Executive Director Bahous outlined, the intensification of crises like traditional conflict, pandemics, and climate change underscore the urgent need for strengthened investment in women in peacekeeping and peacebuilding. COVID-19 and new conflicts have added to the overwhelming evidence that women are often impacted by crisis earliest and longest. This is particularly damaging because women’s well-being is a barometer for the stability of their communities. Fostering the root causes of peace is therefore dependent on robust investments in women. Their experiences, needs, and perspectives must inform the conception and execution of UN missions – on the ground and in boardrooms. In the last two decades, we have witnessed the evolution of the agenda’s normative framework – it is now time to prioritize implementation with robust enforcement mechanisms.
To that effect, the UAE proposes the following recommendations in line with the Secretary-General’s focus on partnership, protection and participation:
First, including gender expertise in the planning and designing of missions’ transitions is essential for their success and needs to be a key performance indicator for better accountability. All actors – leaders or technical experts – who design and prepare for peace operations must be compelled to incorporate a range of perspectives, including from local women. Gender markers and gender advisors must become part of standard operating procedures to ensure sensitivization and accountability. Earlier this year, the UAE launched the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Women, Peace and Security Centre of Excellence, which will provide research, training, and an exchange of best practices to bolster inclusive approaches to peace and security.
Second, the participation and inclusion of women throughout the conflict continuum cannot be haphazard or an afterthought. It must happen early, intentionally, and consistently if peace operations and processes are to be responsive to women’s needs. There are proven and diverse tools, from quotas to women’s advisory boards, and each UN mission must utilize them against systematized performance indicators.
And Member States and the UN itself must play a part in this too: while the numbers of women in leadership positions within the UN have increased, currently only 8 of the 23 senior officials in the field are women.
Partnership and funding will amplify all our efforts and turbocharge closing the gap. The UAE is proud to fund both UN Women and the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs to enable systemic communication and engagement with local women in conflict resolution from the start.
The WPS agenda is multi-faceted; its success requires a collective effort by actors across all sectors, including more targeted and business friendly galvanization of the private sector. Policy alignment and shared metrics in the nexus between WPS, climate change, and humanitarian relief are especially urgent and will be a core focus for the UAE, including as the candidate for president of COP28 in 2023. The five-year Compact on Women, Peace and Security, and Humanitarian Action – developed under the Generation Equality Forum – is also key for implementing an intersectional approach. As both a board member and a signatory, the UAE encourages all stakeholders to join.
Sadly, the singular ways conflicts affect women are again in full view today. But we know that women are not only victimized by conflict; they are also agents of peace. Indeed, the WPS agenda is not a nice-to-have or box ticking exercise for this Chamber; it is not incidental to the concerns of this body – it is necessary for its core mandate. When we join the Council in January, the UAE will continue supporting this unrivalled investment in peace, security, and economic prosperity.