Delivered By: Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State
Please check against delivery.
We thank Mozambique for organizing this open debate on the eve of International Women’s Day and Foreign Minister Dlhovu for chairing today’s meeting. Throughout your country’s history, Mozambican women have proven time and again that we should not underestimate women’s contributions to peace. As Dame Machel said in 2015, “Gender equality is the goal that will help abolish poverty, that will create more equal economies, fairer societies and happier men, women and children” – end of quote. A necessary reminder that women’s full, equal and meaningful participation is part and parcel of nation-building and all efforts for security and stability.
The UAE would also like to thank UN Women Executive Director Bahous, ICRC President Spoljaric, Special Envoy Diop as well as Nobel Peace Laureate Gbowee for their powerful briefings.
The message is clear: globally, with every one step forward for women and girls, we take two steps back. There are continued misogynistic, violent attacks against women and girls who try to build and sustain peace across conflicts. Afghan women and girls continue to be systematically erased from their society. Women and girls are forced to take refuge away from their homes because of the devastating impacts of both the earthquakes in the Middle East and the war in Ukraine. In fact, just today, during First Lady Olena Zelenska’s visit to the UAE, she met with Ukrainian women and girls who escaped the war.
So for this mid-term review, and as we advance towards the 25th anniversary of Resolution 1325, I would like to share the following three goals that the UAE believes support the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda:
First, the WPS agenda must be a key prism through which we look at emerging and new threats. Climate change, for instance, is the greatest threat that this world is facing, and it disproportionately impacts women and girls – affecting their education and employment opportunities, health, and physical safety. We must support their participation and amplify their voices in efforts to mitigate, adapt to and address climate-induced issues. As the UAE prepares to host COP28, two thirds of the UAE’s leadership team and more than half of the management team are women. Excuses for excluding women are no longer acceptable and we must all hold ourselves to the same standards.
Second, to advance the WPS agenda, the international community, and in particular this Council, must pay equal tribute to its four pillars. If the goal is to mainstream this agenda, it must be implemented in its entirety, consistently, into all policy and programming – with partners from all segments in society. This is why one year ago, the UAE convened a Ministerial open debate on the occasion of International Women’s Day, that focused on the relief and recovery pillar – in our view an underdeveloped one. Our approach to the WPS framework must be balanced to address crises and conflicts holistically. We must strengthen women’s roles throughout the entire conflict continuum.
Third, the protection of women and girls is one of the strongest tools to defend their participation and empowerment. Crimes of sexual and gender-based violence continue to be the cheapest weapon of war, terrorizing and controlling whole communities. As we heard today by President Spoljaric, all parties to conflict should incorporate a gender perspective into the application and interpretation of international humanitarian law. We must also face the reality that – all too often – perpetrators of sexual violence enjoy impunity of their actions. To deter such heinous acts, States and conflict parties must also implement a robust and consistent accountability framework to address conflict-related sexual violence, including by building the capacity of relevant accountability institutions and promoting a survivor-centred approach.
Today’s taking stock exercise does not just mean listing missed opportunities. The WPS agenda has also made great strides since 2020 that we can and must build on. Initiatives such as the Generation Equality Forum’s Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action has brought together 196 signatories, all committed to advancing the role of women and girls. More Member States, including my own, are utilizing tools, such as National Action Plans, to implement Resolution 1325. Also last month, an additional Senior Women’s Protection Adviser was deployed to another UN peace mission, now a total of 8. While still a low number, it reminds us of the objective we continue to work towards.
There is no doubt that those of us present today are united in our strive to succeed in this important work. But for this to happen, we must uphold our commitments to implementing the agenda in our individual countries’ policies as well as in the international agenda.
Thank you, Madam President.