Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. ‘Towards the successful implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Moving from commitments to accomplishments in preparation for the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325’.

Statement by H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom

Permanent Representative of The Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

NEW YORK, Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Thank you madame president, and thank you for presiding over this meeting. The Kingdom of the Netherlands aligns itself with the statements to be delivered by Canada on behalf of 57 Member States and with the EU statement.

Madame President, we are on the eve of the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Calling for the full and effective implementation of all elements of the Women, Peace and Security agenda could not be more important.

This year’s SG report on WPS is clear on this – we cannot lower our guard.

We need to stand together to ensure that the WPS agenda is not weakened by compromising on agreed language, especially on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

In this statement I will highlight three aspects of this agenda:

  1. Women human rights defenders
  2. The survivor-centered approach
  3. Our commitment to implementation

Madame President, my first point

  1. Women human rights defenders

Women’s organizations and women human rights defenders play key roles in promoting peace and security at multiple levels. We are deeply concerned that violence against them is rising. In Colombia for instance, in the first half of 2019, 447 threats, 20 homicides and 13 homicide attempts against women leaders, human rights defenders and peacebuilders were recorded. We need to ensure across the world that women’s rights defenders are protected and that they can do their work without interference.

My second point, the importance of a

  1. Survivor-centered approach

When it comes to protection against Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, it is essential to adopt a survivor-centered approach, to listen to survivors and to respect their dignity, their rights, and their wishes. Survivors should be the drivers of their personal recovery process, they should be supported by information and by comprehensive services; these should include services related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and these should provide her access to mental health and psychosocial support. Of course international humanitarian and human rights law should be respected.

Madame President, my third point:

  1. KNL commitment to implementation

Coming back to the focus of today’s debate: implementation.

We need to go beyond words. The gap between on the one hand commitment and on the other implementation remains wide. It is something we all have to take responsibility for.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is committed to full implementation of all elements of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. We will make use of next year’s momentum to develop our fourth National Action Plan, with enhanced accountability and a stronger national pillar. We will double out funding for Women, Peace and Security, starting in 2021.

Furthermore, we will continue our efforts on enhancing meaningful participation of women in peace processes and increasing the number of uniformed women in peacekeeping missions, including in leadership roles.

Let me conclude with a quote by Leymah Gbowee, the Liberian women's rights advocate and celebrated Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She said:

We have the power to stop war and to turn our upside down world right again.

We agree. We have that power. All necessary elements are present in the comprehensive agenda that is the Women Peace and Security agenda. Now we need to collectively do our part to achieve full implementation.

Madame President, I thank you.