New York

13 October 2015

Secretary-General's remarks to Security Council open debate on Women, Peace and Security [as delivered]

Excelentísimo Señor Mariano Rajoy Brey, Presidente del Gobierno de España y Presidente del Consejo de Seguridad, Distinguidos miembros del Consejo,
Excelencias, Señoras y señores, Doy las gracias a la Presidencia española del Consejo por la organización de esta importante reunión.  [I thank the Spanish Presidency for organizing this important meeting.]

Fifteen years ago, Security Council resolution 1325 underscored the pivotal link between gender equality and international peace and security.
Since then, this Council has adopted several resolutions on women, peace and security -- each of them a call to action for the international community.

I am personally committed to implementing these resolutions.  I have highlighted women’s leadership in peacebuilding as a priority. 

I have appointed 5 women who are now serving as my Special Representatives in peacekeeping missions from Haiti to Côte d'Ivoire – from Western Sahara to South Sudan and Cyprus.

I have also appointed the first-ever female Force Commander -- Major General Kristin Lund -- in Cyprus. 

But all of us must do much more.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasizes the centrality of gender equality – and the need to step up our efforts for women’s empowerment to achieve a Planet 50/50. 

Our strategies for implementing Resolution 1325 must be aligned with the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals.

At the tenth anniversary of adoption of resolution 1325, I suggested that the Council convene a ministerial[-level] review every five years to assess progress, renew commitments, and address obstacles.

I thank Member States for coming forward today to share achievements.  I look forward to hearing your plans for even stronger action.

This year we have conducted three major reviews of United Nations peace operations, our peacebuilding architecture, and women, peace and security.

One common theme has emerged: any reforms must include gender equality and women’s leadership as central ingredients, and must be strongly grounded in human rights.

We must also pay particular attention to those women who are most vulnerable.

Facing a compound disadvantage of gender and ethnicity, indigenous women suffer from multiple forms of discrimination, especially in times of conflict.
We must also do much more to combat the growing spread of violent extremism.  Groups such as Da’esh and Boko Haram have mercilessly targeted women and girls.  For example, the systematic killings, torture, rape and sexual slavery by Da’esh against the Yazidi community may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.  We must ensure accountability.

As we look ahead, we have an ambitious agenda.

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is restructuring the gender architecture in headquarters and field missions, strengthening the partnership with UN Women, and improving accountability of senior managers.

The Department of Political Affairs (DPA) has highlighted the need for deploying gender advisors to all Special Political Missions.  It is working to bolster the capacity of its gender team in headquarters and to keep expanding the engagement and participation of women in peacemaking.

The Department of Field Support (DFS) is implementing strengthened measures to address sexual exploitation and abuse, and to increase the representation of women in peacekeeping, especially at the senior management level.

With my appointment of a Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, we have seen strategic leadership and unprecedented advances on this critical aspect of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

We must ensure that these gains are reinforced -- particularly the concerted focus on prevention, accountability and the critical needs of survivors of sexual violence.

The Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will ensure that the outcomes and commitments of the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit in May in Istanbul have a strong focus on gender equality.

We will also boost efforts to ensure women and girls affected by crises are systematically prioritized in the planning and implementation of humanitarian responses.

I personally commit to do all I can to ensure that we reach the target of 15 % of peacebuilding funds devoted to projects that address gender equality and the empowerment of women.  We must also expand this target to our efforts in emerging areas of peace and security threats, in particular countering violent extremism.

The Under-Secretary-General for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) will present these and other commitments as part of the highlights of my annual report on women, peace and security.

In preparation for this high-level review, I commissioned an independent expert’s assessment. The Global Study on the implementation of resolution 1325 is an important part of the United Nations agenda for change.  I thank the lead author Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the high-level advisory group, UN Women and other UN entities, Member States and civil society for their important contributions.

At a time when armed extremist groups place the subordination of women at the top of their agenda, we must place women’s leadership and the protection of women’s rights at the top of ours.

In the face of daunting challenges, I am encouraged and inspired by the recent commitments of everyone from world leaders to grassroots activists. 

I expect a similar level of determination and ambition from the long list of Member States that have requested to participate in this Open Debate today.

Let us heed the call for action and work together to empower women and girls, protect their human rights and advance world peace for everyone – all cornerstones of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and a life of security and dignity for all.

Thank you.  Muchas gracias.