I want to thank the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment for organising today’s open debate. It is indeed in line with our shared commitments to make WPS a priority during our Presidencies.
On this International Women's Day, let me recognise and express our full support to the many women peacebuilders and human rights defenders who continue the fight for women's rights in conflict and crisis. I also want to thank UN Women’s Executive Director; the Managing Director of IMF; and Ms. Moussokoro Coulibaly for providing important context to our discussions today.
implementation of the relief and recovery pillar of the WPS agenda can be transformative, and help connect our goals for peace, and gender equality. Ensuring women’s economic rights requires their participation in decision-making processes, mechanisms, and institutions – including economic and financial ones – and access to and control over resources on equal terms with men.
For a country in crisis or conflict, ensuring women’s economic rights can be a means to achieving development, stability, and long-term peace. Yet, it is often in fragile and conflict-affected countries where women face the most severe economic exclusion. But also, where their participation is most critically needed.We have seen this clearly - for example - in Afghanistan.
Women face unique, and intersectional challenges to economic inclusion and rights during conflict and post-conflict recovery. According to the latest edition of the Global WPS Index, displaced women and girls face a higher risk to all forms of gender-based violence and economic marginalisation, including barriers to accessing jobs, and livelihood opportunities resulting from intersecting factors affecting their rights and agency. Forced and early marriage, and absence of legal identification were among the largest contributors to poverty in households headed by displaced women. This perpetuates a negative cycle, further underlining the need to consider all efforts through a gender lens.
In this regard, we also want to reiterate Norway’s condemnation of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified large-scale aggression against Ukraine. We are deeply concerned about the particular impacts it is having on Ukrainian women and girls. Including reports of increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence, and trafficking of those who have been displaced or fled to neighbouring countries. In responding to this crisis, we encourage broad consultations with women’s organisations, particularly those representing marginalised groups
Let me share a few reflections on this debate’s guiding questions:
First, conflict and crises can disrupt traditional norms and create opportunities for women. It is imperative that these opportunities are reflected in the gender provisions in peace agreements, reforms, and new legislation. It is also why broad and inclusive consultations with a diversity of women are vital to both the design, and implementation, of: peacebuilding, demobilization, reintegration, recovery, and economic programs at the national and community level.
Second, participation remains key. The Security Council; all UN presences in the field- including UN peace operations; and UN Member States should insist on women’s direct influence in decisions that affect their lives and future. Their economic needs and rights must be safeguarded. This includes in delivery of humanitarian assistance and recovery efforts, as well as decisions about natural resource management and gender responsive budgeting.
Third, partnerships with the private sector offers underutilised opportunities. The private sector provides jobs- including in war and crisis economies- and can boost women’s participation in the labour force. They are vital partners for bridging the digital divide, and bringing innovative solutions to complex problems - such as payment solutions, or addressing energy poverty - where there are ample opportunities for gender-transformative approaches.
Conflict and crises do not lessen the need to focus on women’s participation and rights, including economic rights. Quite the contrary. Economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights are inextricably linked. Inclusion requires both creativity, and solid commitment, and we are ready to work broadly with all partners to implement all pillars of the WPS-agenda.