New York

28 October 2014

Secretary-General's message to Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security [delivered by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka]

I thank the Security Council, under the presidency of Argentina for convening this important debate. The Council’s consistent focus on women, peace and security has enabled the international community to move beyond viewing women as only victims of conflict to seeing them as agents of peace and progress. The Security Council is now increasingly addressing the particular concerns of women and involving them in mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

The immense human and financial cost of conflict is starkly evident in the situation of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons. Unprecedented levels of displacement are testing global commitments to address the needs of women and girls, ensure their protection and engage their participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding.

The confluence of crises we face, rather than distracting from the imperative of gender equality, should drive us to do even more to live up to the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and global norms. Squandering the potential dividends of gender equality for peace and development has never been more costly.

We must urgently stand against abuses. I am outraged by targeted attacks and human rights violations committed against women and girls as well as those who defend their rights. I call for immediate action to end impunity in such cases. I am also concerned by continued discrimination against women and girls. I call for greater investments in measures to address this problem.

Security Council Resolution 1325 set out a bold agenda for achieving gender equality as a prerequisite for peaceful and inclusive societies. Led by UN Women, the United Nations is striving to realize this vision.

Next year’s convergence of major global policy events offers an opportunity to advance this.  The United Nations counts on the active participation of all countries in the upcoming strategic high-level reviews on issues ranging from sanctions to peace operations, peacebuilding and gender equality.

I also count on broad participation in my upcoming Global Study on the implementation of resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, which will include targeted recommendations to accelerate results. Its lead author, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, my former Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, is well-known to this Council for her energy and excellence.  Ms. Coomaraswamy, the Advisory Group and the Study’s secretariat will be undertaking broad-based consultations with governments, academia, civil society and, most importantly, women who have experienced the direct impacts of conflict. I encourage all Member States to support this effort.

This wide spectrum of challenges provides an undeniable spur to action. I urge you to join me in responding with urgency and resolve.