Security Council Open Debate: Realizing the promise of the Women and Peace and Security agenda

Statement by H.E. Lise Gregoire-van Haaren,
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

New York, 27 October 2017

Madam President,

The Netherlands aligns itself fully with the statement made by the European Union.

We also fully support the statement made by the Permanent Representative of Italy as well as by Canada as Chair of the Group of Friends of WPS.

We also wish to thank the Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General for her briefing, and the Secretary-General for his report and leadership on this issue.

Madam President,

Nalia. Valérie. Angèle. Arlette. Josephine. Alice. Martine. Marie. Nicole. Natifa.

Names that deserve to be mentioned in this Council. Because these are names that appeared in this month’s report by Human Rights Watch on widespread sexual violence by armed groups in the Central African Republic.

The report observes how, during nearly five years of conflict, these groups have used rape and sexual slavery as a tactic of war. As such, it provides us with both a gruesome reminder of how conflict affects women and a painful reminder of the acute relevance of resolution 1325 to this day.

Madam President,

It is such a painful reminder as it reminds us that, eight resolutions down the road, we need to have a serious talk about implementation. Women are still not actively engaged in many peace processes, also UN-led or assisted, and thus not recognized as the powerful agents of peace they are.

If we truly want to practice what we preach we must pressure parties to a peace process to include women, and not leave it as an afterthought. Because those that have briefed the 2242 Informal Expert Group or someone like Ms Mina-Rojas today are living proof of what the meaningful participation of women could do for peace processes.  But if they cannot, conflicts are often prolonged and women and girls bear the brunt.

Like the Secretary-General rightfully observes in his report: “Commitments become meaningful accomplishments, changing lives and transforming societies, only upon implementation”.  Today I wish to emphasize three conditions that need to be met, in order to make 1325 become a reality.

Madam President,

It is good to remind ourselves, firstly, that gender mainstreaming is not a goal in itself, but rather an instrument – an instrument to achieve a transformative peace agenda. Meaningful and balanced participation of women and men has the potential to transform conflict prevention and peace processes. 1325 was adopted with this transformative intent.

We do not tick the box, let alone implement 1325, by simply having women around the table: it is not simply about the numbers. We have to integrate a women’s perspective and let the voice of women’s organizations on the ground be heard at mediation tables through their substantive participation.

If we do, there is a 35% increase in probability of a peace agreement lasting more than 15 years. This figure alone speaks for itself.

In this respect I welcome the meeting the visiting mission to the Sahel had with women’s organizations in Mali. Ideally, in future missions, this is not a separate session with women only, but rather an integrated voice in the other meetings.

Madam President,

In order to be implemented, resolution 1325 needs to be translated. Not just in UN languages, but in plans and activities.

It needs to be operationalized and - equally important - funded. Until now, 68 members have devised their National Action Plans. While we applaud those members that did so, the Kingdom of the  Netherlands strongly calls on the remaining 2/3 of the UN membership to follow suit.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is moreover sadly one of just a handful that have actually financed their NAP. More funds should be made available if we are serious in making gender equality a practical reality.

Madam President,

Lastly, in all of this – as the Secretary-General also states to conclude his report - the UN should “lead and inspire by example”. By including sufficiently strong language on women, peace and security in all of our mission’s mandates. By systematically applying a gender lens in strategic reviews and analyzing the power dimensions between women, men and youth in conflict dynamics. By consequently requesting from TCCs that they train all peacekeepers on gender and subsequently actually deploying women to the field. By showing zero tolerance for SEA through transparency,  accountability and careful victim care. And as justly advocated by the NGO Working Group on WPS, by upgrading rather than downgrading the role of gender advisors in peacekeeping missions.

We welcome efforts made by other TCCs to this effect, and particularly support Canada’s efforts to include gender as part of the discussions and pledges at the Vancouver Defence Ministerial next month.

Madam President,

In conclusion.

The challenge and responsibility is upon us to integrate 1325 in a transformative peace agenda; one that is operationalized and funded and on which the UN leads the way. To enable the likes of  Valérie, Alice and Nicole to lead the peace talks in their country. Let me finish by reiterating once again the support of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for resolution 1325, as well as our genuine commitment to its implementation.

I thank you.

Belongs to