UN: Security Council reaffirms importance of women to global peace, security

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Security Council on Tuesday stressed the need for the international community to fully endorse women’s empowerment and gender equality in ensuring global peace, security and development.

In a unanimously adopted Presidential Statement after an open debate on "Women, peace and security" the Council reaffirmed the need to dismantle the persistent barriers facing gender equality.

It also called on UN member states to embrace a dedicated commitment to women’s empowerment, participation, and human rights, and ensure their full and equal participation in peace and security issues.

PANA in New York reports that the debate held annually, provided an opportunity for the wider UN membership to reflect on the progress made, and accelerate action on implementation of the Security Council resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, which requires parties in a conflict to respect women’s rights and support their participation in peace negotiations and in post-conflict reconstruction.

In a message to the 15-member body delivered by UN Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thanked the Council for its "consistent focus" on women and peace and security issues.

Ban noted that such debate had enabled the international community to move beyond viewing women as only victims of conflict to seeing them as agents of peace and progress.

He expressed concern that unprecedented levels of displacement and the immense human and financial cost of conflict were testing global commitments to addressing the needs of women and girls around the world while also engaging their participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding initiatives.

"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," the UN chief said in his message.

Ban said squandering the potential dividends of gender equality for peace and development had never been more costly.

The secretary-general urged UN member states to stand against abuses, and voiced outrage at targeted attacks and human rights violations committed against women and girls, urging immediate action to end impunity in such cases and calling for greater investments in measures to address this problem.

Among these actions, he continued, was UN Security Council resolution 1325 which set out a bold agenda for achieving gender equality as a prerequisite for peaceful and inclusive societies. He added that led by UN Women, the United Nations was striving to realize this vision.

On her part, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, warned that the shifting trend in conflict from Iraq, Nigeria and Syria to Somalia and Mali was seeing a heightening of targeted violence against women, girls and their communities as extremists took control of territory.

"During and after conflict, more women die during childbirth, and more girls are forcibly married. Fewer women work and participate in the economy and fewer girls go to school.

"Of primary school age children that are out of school, half live in conflict areas. Only 35 per cent of girls are enrolled in secondary education in these settings," she explained, adding that, "this puts us all in danger".

Highlighting the improvements made in the area of gender empowerment, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka cited the UN Secretary-General’s findings which noted that over 80 countries had committed to the women, peace and security agenda, pointing out that the percentage of peace agreements committing to advancing the security and status of women and girls had more than doubled since 2011.

She also cited the "unprecedented" six women ambassadors sitting on the UN Security Council as evidence of remarkable gains in women empowerment.

But, the UN official cautioned: "Much still remained to be done, not least because 97 per cent of military peacekeepers are still men."

"There is now a broad understanding of the importance of women’s economic empowerment in post-conflict settings. But, peacebuilding and recovery funding still largely ignores women’s economic role, and under-invests in their livelihoods," Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka stated.

She said empowered women and girls were the best hope for sustainable development following conflict.

"They are the best drivers of growth, the best hope for reconciliation, and the best buffer against radicalization of youth and the repetition of cycles of violence," she said.
-0- PANA AA/MA 28Oct2014

28 october 2014 21:33:58

xhtml CSS