The Women, Peace and Security Agenda 15 Years On - Towards a High-Level Review of resolution 1325 (2000)
Speech by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the Mission to Finland on 10 June, 2014, in Helsinki
10 June 2014
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Excellencies, colleagues and friends, I am
very pleased to be here with you today.
I would like to express UN
Women’s great appreciation to the Government of Finland for its leadership on
Women, Peace and Security.
Last year was an historic one for our agenda.
The Security Council adopted two new resolutions, 2106 and 2122.
CEDAW committee adopted General Recommendation Number 30 on women in conflict
prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations.
political commitments were made in the General Assembly to combat sexual
violence in conflict.
A declaration on women’s economic empowerment for
peacebuilding was adopted by the Peacebuilding Commission.
And a criterion on
gender-based violence was included in the Arms Trade Treaty.
and 2015 will also be extremely important due to the convergence of so many
global policy events: agreement on the post-2015 development framework; the
20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action; and the 15-year anniversary
of Security Council resolution 1325.
Today, despite the passage of
resolutions, declarations and policies, many women and girls in conflict
situations still don’t feel the impact of the progress made at the global level.
Together, we must shift the focus from rhetoric and good intentions to
actual improvements in the lives of women and girls.
I have visited
Syrian women refugees, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and also
Nigeria to bring back the abducted girls.
Elsewhere – including in
Afghanistan – we risk seeing progress reversed as women and girls are
increasingly targeted because they dare to attend school, or occupy positions of
leadership in government or enter the public sphere.
The situation for
women in conflict-affected countries remains dire and much more needs to be done
to protect the rights of girls and women.
Last year the Security Council
requested the UN Secretary-General to produce a Global Study on the
implementation of 1325 to be submitted for consideration at next year’s High
The abduction of more than 200 school girls in Nigeria
shows us that women and girls are not only pawns in warfare, but the empowerment
of women and girls, their education and self-reliance, are deeply threatening to
the forces of violence and chaos.
That is why we see groups like Boko
Haram and the Taliban attacking girls as they try to learn. This brings me to
the first point that UN Women would like the High-Level panel to address:
1. We need less process and more results for women and girls
advancing the policy framework is crucial, at times it seems like these
instruments have been promoted above political, and operational responses that
might make more of an impact.
Today, we have over 40 National Action
Plans on Women, Peace and Security. While this is an impressive number, are
these plans really action-oriented? Are they adequately funded?
study and the policy agenda that emerges from the 2015 High-Level Review must
focus on impact, especially now that the normative framework is so robust.
2. This agenda needs to be treated with political urgency
It is my
experience that for women, peace and security is still treated as an
afterthought by many decision-makers. In Syria, despite their best efforts,
women’s peace advocates have struggled to get a seat at the table.
still face the attitude that women’s priorities are a secondary concern, after
the men with guns deal with the so-called ‘hard issues’. This attitude deprives
women of their right to participate and goes against the spirit of Security
Council Resolution 1325, and the UN Charter itself. This attitude also means
that women’s contributions to peacemaking and peacebuilding are undermined.
As we have seen in Rwanda, Liberia and elsewhere, women’s peacebuilding
efforts make a crucial difference to national reconciliation, recovery and
3. Women, peace and security must be adequately resourced
Resources allocated to women, peace and security continue to be woefully
The UN has committed to allocating 15 per cent of all
recovery funding to women’s empowerment and gender equality by the end of this
In partnership with UNDP and the Peacebuilding support office, UN
Women recently commissioned an indicative baseline study. The study shows that
in 2012 only six per cent of recovery funding was allocated to projects that
have gender equality and women’s empowerment as the main objective.
we are still far from reaching our own target.
But these commitments have
led to improved tracking and monitoring, which we must use to see what needs to
be done to accelerate the pace of change.
I hope that all governments
will rigorously examine their own performance in terms of funding allocations to
women, peace and security. In your role of co-chair of the International
Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, Finland is uniquely placed to
advocate for adequate financing of Women, Peace and Security.
4. How can
we plug the gaps that we know exist?
We know that some areas of the
women, peace and security agenda have performed better than others. Many of the
countries with the best women’s representation in parliament are emerging from
However, women’s participation in peace processes remains too
low and women continue to be excluded from economic recovery.
undermines their contribution to economic security and peacebuilding and impedes
their ability to provide for themselves and their children.
inability to access land, finance and productive resources affects their
physical security as well. The Security Council’s global study must force the
international community to do some soul-searching.
Why do we continue to
underperform on the commitments enshrined in 1325 and the Beijing Platform for
Action? As is often the case, the answer lies in politics.
We have some
very strong supporters in the Security Council. But are those Member States
bringing in a gender perspective to the country-specific deliberations? Are
women’s priorities integrated into the work of the New Deal? Are they inviting
women to the donor conferences?
Are we as the UN doing enough to ensure
coordination and coherence, rather than competition and duplication?
hope that we can use this moment to interrogate ourselves frankly.
mentioned, the preparations for the High-level Review and the Global Study come
at just the right time, as we discuss the post-2015 development framework and
the 20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action.
an incredible opportunity to forge a transformative new agenda for women, peace,
The engagement and input of our Member States will be
fundamental to success in 2015. I look forward to our Friends of 1325 being very
The Beijing Platform for Action shows the way.
From reducing military expenditure to conflict prevention to fostering a
culture of peace to ending occupation, we must remember that for women, peace
and security is not about simply adding women to the existing peace and security
paradigm. It is about a vision of a more equitable, peaceful and prosperous
Women and girls in conflict zones are expecting all of us to live
up to the vision of Beijing and 1325. It will take all of us – government,
international organizations, civil society, women and men, if we are to succeed.
On that note, I am pleased to announce that UN Women has a new campaign
called HeForShe to engage men and boys to speak out for the rights of women and
We have reached more than 28 million people on social media.
A man in Nigeria who signed on as a HeForShe has committed himself to speak
out whenever he hears of a woman or girl suffering from violence at the hands of
men. He has intervened on behalf of his neighbour woman and the violence has
A man in Zimbabwe who has declared himself a HeForShe has
started a group for husbands in his community to advance gender equality.
I encourage all men here to join and take a stand and be on the right side
of history. Be a HeForShe!
I want to close by sharing with you call to
action for all of humanity, which is the SHE Imperative.
The S stands for
safety so that every woman and girl can live free of violence.
stands for human rights to which every woman and girl and all human beings are
The E stands for equality.
Together we can
make this century, the 21st century, the one to realize the promise of the
founding document of the United Nations, the promise in the UN Charter of the
equal rights of men and women.
I thank you and look forward to working
with you to make this promise a reality.