25 October 2016, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by H.E. Ms. Mara Marinaki, European Union Principal Adviser on Gender and on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 Women Peace and Security, European External Action Service, at the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security: “Implementing the common agenda”
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Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. I would like to express our appreciation to the Russian Federation as the Security Council Chair for organizing this Open Debate.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
A few weeks ago, we hosted the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, where we devoted a high level side event to the theme of ‘Empowered women, prosperous Afghanistan’. Last year, Afghanistan joined the esteemed club of the 63 nations worldwide with a National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325. The EU played an active role in supporting the development of the Afghan National Action Plan, and we remain a fully committed partner in supporting its implementation. We will continue our assistance as a donor and as a provider of substantial knowledge and experience.
Whether in Afghanistan, in our own Member States or elsewhere in the world, we are working for the same goal: the full and effective implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. We have a standing priority to implement the global normative framework, from UNSCR 1325 to UNSCR 2242. This means practical and concrete actions that make a difference to men, women, girls and boys. It means working for peace, security and gender equality and promoting women as agents of change, peace and development. The Global Strategy on the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy sets a clear direction to promote the role of women in all peace efforts. Human Rights as well as Women, Peace and Security and gender equality and women’s empowerment will continue to be mainstreamed into all policy areas under our Global Strategy. The renewed EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020, mandatory for all EU external actions, promotes the inclusive role of women in conflict prevention, peace negotiations, and peace making processes as well as their protection from sexual and gender based violence in crisis situations. Women, Peace and Security will be integrated across all our policies in our external relations, including through our Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, our policy on Transitional Justice and on Gender Equality and across all other relevant policy frameworks.
One year ago, we set out the commitments of the EU and its Member States to further realise the Women, Peace and Security agenda. In our Capitals, in the EU Delegations and in our field missions, we have actively followed up on our pledges. We continue to accelerate the implementation of all obligations and commitments, both internally and externally. Much has been achieved, but we must also acknowledge that much work remains to be done collectively.
Since the high-level review, EU action on Women, Peace and Security has focused on four main priorities.
First, we have prioritised efforts to promote women’s participation and leadership, and we remain committed to lead by example. One of the most consequential diplomatic achievements of 2015 was the agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue. HR/VP Ms Federica Mogherini and then Political Director, now EEAS SG, Ms Helga Schmid have been leading the EU’s negotiating team in these momentous talks and are now leading on the important implementation phase of the agreement. They also hold the top two positions in EU diplomacy. Another crucial milestone over the past year was the achievement of 50-50 representation among heads of our civilian field missions. Out of our ten civilian crisis management missions, five are now led by women, including our largest civilian mission in Kosovo. In many other ways and settings, we have used our influence to promote the same objective: women’s equal and full inclusion in peace making and peace building. From Syria to Kosovo, from Nigeria to Georgia, from South Sudan to Tanzania – we have comprehensively supported women’s participation in peace negotiations, mediation and preventive dialogues. Women’s participation has also been strongly promoted in all phases of all EU-funded humanitarian actions.
Second, we have prioritised action against sexual and gender based violence in conflict. We have funded transitional justice processes in Kosovo, Colombia and the Philippines to help ensure that past abuses are appropriately dealt with. We are supporting projects in Ukraine and Burundi to address the issues of violence against women affected by conflict. We have maintained a strong focus on combatting sexual and gender based violence in humanitarian settings. For this purpose, we have supported humanitarian action in Syria, the DRC, Bangladesh and other countries. In 2016 alone, we have supported 62 projects with activities to address sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises, and we are proud to say that these projects will reach almost 3.5 million direct beneficiaries.
We remain committed to global initiatives. We are an active member of the initiative ‘Call to Action on Protection from Gender Based Violence in Emergencies’, and we encourage others to join this collective effort to foster change, commitments and accountability. We have also followed up systematically on our commitments from the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict and continued to support the work of the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura.
Third, we have prioritised work to further integrate the gender dimension into countering emerging threats, including terrorism and violent extremism. We have a clear political mandate to support initiatives on women and youth when addressing the underlying factors of violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism. Accordingly, we have been engaged in tackling the root causes of violence and extremism through a diversity of small-scale, tailor-made projects with civil society and local communities. We have financed initiatives across the Horn of Africa, Pakistan and the MENA region.
Fourth, we have placed priority on strengthening our cooperative frameworks. In June 2016, we reconfirmed our strategic partnership with UN WOMEN to further strengthen collaboration. We recognise the crucial role of UN WOMEN, together with other relevant stakeholders, in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. We will continue our joint work to integrate a strong gender dimension into all peace and security efforts. Internally, we have stepped up the role of our EU Gender Focal Points Network. We have been working to intensify intra-EU coordination, information sharing and best practice exchange. Also, we have been working to reinforce our partnerships, including with civil society and regional and international organisations. The EU welcomes new initiatives to strengthen what is already in place. We became a founding member of the new Women, Peace and Security National Focal Points Network, initiated by Spain. We appreciate the steadfast dedication of Spain to Women, Peace and Security throughout its term in the Security Council.
Finally, we have reinforced our own accountability framework. We have adapted and broadened the way we quantify and measure progress in implementing our own obligations and commitments. We are taking continuous measures to ensure that the highest standards of professionalism and conduct are upheld in our field missions. We are also finalising a baseline study on how gender has been integrated into our crisis management policy and missions and operations.
We have made progress in realising our substantial financial commitment pledged a year ago. We will shortly publish new project proposals to contribute to gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment in partner countries. The beneficiaries will be remote or isolated communities, refugee camps or internally displaced persons. International and local civil society actors will be implementing these EU projects through innovative partnerships.
Let me conclude by reconfirming our commitment expressed during last year’s debate: an even faster and more ambitious implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. We will collectively continue our positive partnerships and cooperation in an inclusive manner with all partners who are ready to make a positive contribution to Women, Peace and Security: from partner countries to multilateral organisations, from civil society to the private sector. The EU will remain at the forefront of all efforts to make the Women, Peace and Security agenda a reality, within the shortest possible interval.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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