Speech by Deputy Foreign Minister of Sweden Mrs Annika Söder at the Security Council Open Debate – Women, Peace and Security
25 October 2016
I am honoured to address the Security Council at this yearly open debate. It's a debate on peace and security, conflict resolution and conflict prevention. On core Security Council business. It's not an add-on or an ad hoc discussion on women and girls.
Because the full and effective participation of women and girls in peace processes is a necessary condition for sustaining peace. For durable and equitable peace for all.
Sweden strongly supports the call from Secretary-General-Designate António Guterres for a surge in peace diplomacy – and his manifest dedication to achieving gender equality. They go hand in hand. We are convinced that to succeed, this surge must put the participation of women and girls centre stage.
We have made progress, but we are still falling short. The task facing the Council is to close the gap between ambition and reality.
Indeed, after the Global Study and its corresponding Resolution 2242 of last year, our full attention should be directed to implementation. To effectively integrating and operationalising the women, peace and security agenda in the daily business of the Council.
I would like to highlight some areas where Sweden believes that progress and attention are particularly needed.
Firstly, adopting a gender equality perspective from the outset.
Focusing on the objective of strengthening the situation of women and girls in conflict situations. Their needs, challenges and opportunities must be brought to the attention of the Council – and acted upon.
A continued dialogue with women's organisations and relevant stakeholders in the field, through the various arms of the UN system, is therefore paramount. The Council should be actively engaging with them.
Secondly, improving data collection, including sex-disaggregated statistics.
Too often, we make decisions based on incomplete data and analysis. We cannot afford to fail to grasp the root causes of conflict or to identify peace dividends and agents.
For instance, mothers, sisters, wives and daughters often know where small arms are. And they are more likely to hand them in under disarmament programmes. They need to be part of these programmes – from design to implementation. And for that to happen, we need proper data.
The Security Council and the Secretariat should jointly endeavour to ensure that the basis for every decision has a solid and actionable gender perspective.
Thirdly, ensuring the full and effective participation of women and girls in peace processes.
This requires the Security Council to adopt strong mandates on participation. But also that we strengthen our follow-up on these mandates.
We need to make sure that guidance is implemented. That national efforts are recognised and supported, or encouraged and requested if missing. We should hold UN mediators, peacekeeping missions and political missions accountable to their WPS mandates.
That is how we can assist Colombian women in following through on their remarkable peace work. Or help Afghan girls to receive an education. Or Somali women to be properly represented in the next legislative assembly.
Fourthly, incentivising through financing and other means.
We must make sure that enough resources are dedicated to realising this agenda. The 15 per cent target in the triple peace and security reviews is a step in the right direction – but only as a first step. I am glad that the Peacebuilding Fund is leading by example.
Conversely, we should critically examine peace and security missions, operations, projects and programmes that do not meaningfully address gender equality or provide for the participation of women and girls. We should consider discontinuing funding to those that don't.
Indeed, there is an acute need to gender mainstream the UN's regular and peacekeeping budgets. Sweden believes that the Secretary-General should be asked, in the outline resolution for the next biennium, to present proposals on how to address this shortcoming.
Sweden will pursue this agenda intensely during our term in the Security Council. Not only because it is right, but also because it is smart. More women simply means more peace.