Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations Security Council: Open Debate Women and Peace and Security: Investing in Women in Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding

New York, 21/10/2021 - 16:53, UNIQUE ID: 211021_10
Statements on behalf of the EU

21 October 2021, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by H.E. Ms Stella RONNER-GRUBAČIĆ, EU Ambassador for Gender and Diversity, at the Security Council Open Debate on Women and Peace and Security: Investing in Women in Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding

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Mr President,

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries the Republic of North 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.

Gender equality and full enjoyment of all human rights by all women and girls and their empowerment are core values and political priorities for the European Union and its Member States. Their realisation requires dedicated actions and programmes on the ground, and systematic mainstreaming in our own institutions, as well as in those of third countries.

In all peace and security efforts, we are guided by the Women, Peace and Security agenda; it must be implemented in the analysis, planning, conduct and evaluation of all matters related to peace and security.  As part of this, we must also put the leadership and full, equal and meaningful participation of women in peace operations and peace processes at the forefront: women as commanders, peacekeepers, peacebuilders, and mediators. In order for a country to prevent conflict or make the transition from conflict to sustainable peace, women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace and political processes, including official peace negotiations, is key. Women ‘on the ground’, civil society and local and grassroots organisations defending their interests are essential. We must ensure they are supported by speaking out and acting against threats of reprisal that endanger them and their work.

The EU commends the UN Secretary-General for promoting the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda and supports his efforts to promote gender equality and ensure women’s full equal, effective and meaningful participation, including in leadership positions in disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control fora.

Let me also reaffirm the EU’s full support to women and girls in Afghanistan, and for the efforts of the UN Secretary-General in that respect. The rights of women and girls in Afghanistan have sharply declined. Women and women human rights defenders are increasingly and disproportionately targeted by the Taliban. Afghan women and girls have the right to live in safety, security and dignity with full enjoyment of their human rights. Free and equal access to health services, employment and education are essential, as well as freedom of movement. The EU expects full, equal and meaningful political, social and economic leadership and participation of women in Afghan society. Monitoring is key in this respect. We welcome the adoption by the Human Rights Council of the EU-led resolution appointing a Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan, and stand ready to cooperate with this Special Rapporteur.

Peace processes must take into account gender norms and roles, and analyse the conflict through a gender lens. This cannot be just an afterthought or a side issue. It is not a question of simply adding women’s interests around the edges of programmatic activities. On the contrary. It is a question of rights. Only by understanding the interplay between different gender roles and resulting power imbalances can we assess how this affects conflict dynamics and power relations. This helps both to predict and to prevent conflict and to protect women’s and girls’ rights.

Moreover, implementing WPS commitments requires funding. Peacekeeping missions have to receive the necessary budgetary allocations to properly implement their Women, Peace and Security mandates. In addition, civil society organisations, particularly women’s rights and women-led organisations, must be ensured long-term, sustainable and flexible funding. The responsibility lies with Member States to adopt National Action Plans, including adequate budgeting.

In that regard, the EU would like to stress the importance of gender-responsive leadership and gender training and expects all the components of UN Peacekeeping missions to create a safe and non-hostile environment for women and girls. This includes the prevention of gender-based violence and acts of misogyny, as well as sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment.

Addressing exclusion and grievances is a prerequisite for enabling communities and individuals sustain peace. The protection of survivors and a survivor-centred approach, including in terms of justice and reparations, is essential, particularly in fragile conflict-affected settings, and when survivors face stigma and discrimination. Ensuring full access to comprehensive health services, including sexual and reproductive health-care services, is a key priority.

We are concerned by the persistent impunity for conflict-related sexual violence and call for accountability to be enforced. Where such crimes are perpetrated, we reiterate our support for the Security Council to incorporate and apply sexual violence as a designation criterion in UN sanction regimes in a systematic manner.

The EU is currently updating its policy and standards on DDR (Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration) in order to align them with the UN’s Integrated DDR standards and promote a greater commitment to mainstream gender and age responsive approaches to DDR.

Finally, we are committed to continuing to strengthen our partnerships with civil society, women’s rights and feminist organisations, human rights defenders, peacebuilders and local and religious leaders to elevate their voices and inform our own positions. In this regard, we note the launch of the Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, launched during the Generation Equality Forum in Paris.

We thank the Kenyan presidency for putting this issue on the agenda and confirm the EU's full commitment to engaging in the common efforts for the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in diverse situations and conditions, at all stages and in all aspects of peace processes.


* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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