ECOSOC: Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security

Statement by President of ECOSOC Ambassador Mona Juul on the occasion of the Security Council’s Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, 29 October 2019.

| President of ECOSOC

The President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Mona Juul of Norway has issued the following statement on the occasion of the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security: “Towards the successful implementation of the women, peace and security agenda: moving from commitments to accomplishments in preparation for the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000)”:

ECOSOC is a long standing and steadfast supporter of the women, peace and security agenda. In its Agreed Conclusions on Gender Mainstreaming in 1997, ECOSOC called for immediate and concrete steps be taken to mainstream a gender perspective as a matter of urgency, by 2000, in areas such as human rights, disarmament, peace and security and in legal and political matters.

This initial work undertaken by ECOSOC, on mainstreaming gender throughout the work of the United Nations provided the impetus for the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 in 2000. ECOSOC welcomes the continued discussions and focus of the Council on this very important agenda.

While the UN and its Member States have achieved much in the past 19 years since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325, it is also important to consider the gaps that remain. To highlight only a few:  

  • Women and girls continue to be disproportionally impacted by conflict. Girls in conflict settings are almost two and half times more likely than boys to be out of school.
  • Girls at secondary level who are refugees are only half as likely to be enrolled in school as boys.
  • At least one in five women who are refugees have experienced sexual violence and its effects.
  • Women’s participation in peace processes as delegates and decision-makers remains scant. Even in peace processes involving the United Nations, women were included in only 14 out of 19 delegations.[1] And only 4 out of 52 peace agreements contained gender provisions.
  • In 2018 women held less than 25% of parliamentary seats worldwide. And only 19% in conflict and post-conflict countries.

These continued gaps are alarming, but also help us to focus on the way forward. Our work towards realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is mutually reinforcing with the women, peace and security agenda. Indeed the focus of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is leaving no one behind. It recognizes that attaining gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is necessary for progress across all sustainable development goals and targets.

The actions necessary to reach key SDGs and their targets - particularly SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions- are directly relevant to promoting the women, peace and security agenda.

Achieving targets related to combating violence against women, ending trafficking, ensuring women’s effective participation at all levels of decision-making, ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services and providing women with equal rights to economic resources as well as access to ownership and control over land, among many others, all contribute to advancing the women, peace and security agenda.

Next year we will enter the decade for action and delivery of the 2030 Agenda, while also celebrating the 20th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325, the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 75th anniversary of the United Nations itself.

We must harness these opportunities in 2020 to renew our commitment to multilateralism and to accelerate action to further the women, peace and security agenda.

All main organs of the UN have a role to play. We aim to benefit from greater collaboration between the Security Council, the Peacebuilding Commission, the Human Rights Council and ECOSOC as a whole. ECOSOC’s subsidiary bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Population and Development, must be a part of this joint effort.

We should not miss any avenue for progress. Now is the time to translate these agreed commitments into reality for lasting peace and women’s and girls’ empowerment.


[1] S/2019/800, p.6.