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


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Excellencies, colleagues and friends, I amvery pleased to be here with you today.

I would like to express UNWomen’s great appreciation to the Government of Finland for its leadership onWomen, Peace and Security.

Last year was an historic one for our agenda.The Security Council adopted two new resolutions, 2106 and 2122.

TheCEDAW committee adopted General Recommendation Number 30 on women in conflictprevention, conflict and post-conflict situations.

Two high-levelpolitical commitments were made in the General Assembly to combat sexualviolence in conflict.

A declaration on women’s economic empowerment forpeacebuilding was adopted by the Peacebuilding Commission.
And a criterion ongender-based violence was included in the Arms Trade Treaty.

This yearand 2015 will also be extremely important due to the convergence of so manyglobal policy events: agreement on the post-2015 development framework; the20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action; and the 15-year anniversaryof Security Council resolution 1325.

Today, despite the passage ofresolutions, declarations and policies, many women and girls in conflictsituations 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 toactual improvements in the lives of women and girls.

I have visitedSyrian women refugees, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and alsoNigeria to bring back the abducted girls.

Elsewhere – including inAfghanistan – we risk seeing progress reversed as women and girls areincreasingly targeted because they dare to attend school, or occupy positions ofleadership in government or enter the public sphere.

The situation forwomen in conflict-affected countries remains dire and much more needs to be doneto protect the rights of girls and women.

Last year the Security Councilrequested the UN Secretary-General to produce a Global Study on theimplementation of 1325 to be submitted for consideration at next year’s HighLevel Review.

The abduction of more than 200 school girls in Nigeriashows us that women and girls are not only pawns in warfare, but the empowermentof women and girls, their education and self-reliance, are deeply threatening tothe forces of violence and chaos.

That is why we see groups like BokoHaram and the Taliban attacking girls as they try to learn. This brings me tothe 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

Whileadvancing the policy framework is crucial, at times it seems like theseinstruments have been promoted above political, and operational responses thatmight make more of an impact.

Today, we have over 40 National ActionPlans on Women, Peace and Security. While this is an impressive number, arethese plans really action-oriented? Are they adequately funded?

Thestudy and the policy agenda that emerges from the 2015 High-Level Review mustfocus on impact, especially now that the normative framework is so robust.

2. This agenda needs to be treated with political urgency

It is myexperience that for women, peace and security is still treated as anafterthought by many decision-makers. In Syria, despite their best efforts,women’s peace advocates have struggled to get a seat at the table.

Westill face the attitude that women’s priorities are a secondary concern, afterthe men with guns deal with the so-called ‘hard issues’. This attitude depriveswomen of their right to participate and goes against the spirit of SecurityCouncil Resolution 1325, and the UN Charter itself. This attitude also meansthat women’s contributions to peacemaking and peacebuilding are undermined.

As we have seen in Rwanda, Liberia and elsewhere, women’s peacebuildingefforts make a crucial difference to national reconciliation, recovery andstability.

3. Women, peace and security must be adequately resourced

Resources allocated to women, peace and security continue to be woefullyinadequate.

The UN has committed to allocating 15 per cent of allrecovery funding to women’s empowerment and gender equality by the end of thisyear.

In partnership with UNDP and the Peacebuilding support office, UNWomen recently commissioned an indicative baseline study. The study shows thatin 2012 only six per cent of recovery funding was allocated to projects thathave gender equality and women’s empowerment as the main objective.

Sowe are still far from reaching our own target.

But these commitments haveled to improved tracking and monitoring, which we must use to see what needs tobe done to accelerate the pace of change.

I hope that all governmentswill rigorously examine their own performance in terms of funding allocations towomen, peace and security. In your role of co-chair of the InternationalDialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, Finland is uniquely placed toadvocate for adequate financing of Women, Peace and Security.

4. How canwe plug the gaps that we know exist?

We know that some areas of thewomen, peace and security agenda have performed better than others. Many of thecountries with the best women’s representation in parliament are emerging fromconflict.

However, women’s participation in peace processes remains toolow and women continue to be excluded from economic recovery.

Thisundermines their contribution to economic security and peacebuilding and impedestheir ability to provide for themselves and their children.

Women’sinability to access land, finance and productive resources affects theirphysical security as well. The Security Council’s global study must force theinternational community to do some soul-searching.

Why do we continue tounderperform on the commitments enshrined in 1325 and the Beijing Platform forAction? As is often the case, the answer lies in politics.

We have somevery strong supporters in the Security Council. But are those Member Statesbringing in a gender perspective to the country-specific deliberations? Arewomen’s priorities integrated into the work of the New Deal? Are they invitingwomen to the donor conferences?

Are we as the UN doing enough to ensurecoordination and coherence, rather than competition and duplication?

Ihope that we can use this moment to interrogate ourselves frankly.

As Imentioned, the preparations for the High-level Review and the Global Study comeat just the right time, as we discuss the post-2015 development framework andthe 20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action.

This representsan incredible opportunity to forge a transformative new agenda for women, peace,and security.

The engagement and input of our Member States will befundamental to success in 2015. I look forward to our Friends of 1325 being veryactive contributors.

The Beijing Platform for Action shows the way.

From reducing military expenditure to conflict prevention to fostering aculture of peace to ending occupation, we must remember that for women, peaceand security is not about simply adding women to the existing peace and securityparadigm. It is about a vision of a more equitable, peaceful and prosperousworld.

Women and girls in conflict zones are expecting all of us to liveup 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 campaigncalled HeForShe to engage men and boys to speak out for the rights of women andgirls.

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 speakout whenever he hears of a woman or girl suffering from violence at the hands ofmen. He has intervened on behalf of his neighbour woman and the violence hasstopped.

A man in Zimbabwe who has declared himself a HeForShe hasstarted 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 sideof history. Be a HeForShe!

I want to close by sharing with you call toaction for all of humanity, which is the SHE Imperative.

The S stands forsafety so that every woman and girl can live free of violence.

The Hstands for human rights to which every woman and girl and all human beings arerightfully entitled.

The E stands for equality.

Together we canmake this century, the 21st century, the one to realize the promise of thefounding document of the United Nations, the promise in the UN Charter of theequal rights of men and women.

I thank you and look forward to workingwith you to make this promise a reality.