National Statement by Sweden at the Security Council Briefing on Peace and Security in Africa
National Statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on Peace and Security in Africa, Thursday, 10 August 2017, New York.
Let me begin by thanking Deputy Secretary General Ms. Amina Mohammed and His Excellency, the Permanent Observer of the African Union, Ambassador Tete Antonio, for their valuable briefings and their leadership on women, peace and security. Today is also a demonstration of how the AU-UN partnership is growing stronger, which we welcome.
Sweden really applauds your initiative to make this joint visit. You have put the women, peace and security agenda front and center, to properly understand and respond to contemporary security challenges in Nigeria and DRC.
With the help of UNSCR 2242, the Council should be shifting women and gender equality from "add-on" to core Security Council business.
This is also at the heart of the Swedish feminist foreign policy: Combatting root causes is only possible with truly inclusive solutions. This is also why we remain a steadfast supporter of UN Women, so that women will be part of the solution – in humanitarian assistance, in development and in peace and security.
Going forward, we would like to highlight the following three priorities:
First, no sustainable peace can be achieved without effectively linking humanitarian, security, human rights and development efforts. The Sustainable Development Goals and the Sustaining Peace Agenda provides the masterplan for this integrated system. There can be no humanitarian solution for a political crisis, or for long-term development challenges. This was evident during the Security Council visit to Lake Chad in March, where we witnessed first-hand how the roots of the conflict run deeper than the Boko Haram insurgency and how humanitarian assistance must be complemented by development assistance and investment.
In the DRC, Sweden supports the Humanitarian Fund from both its humanitarian programme and its development programme to enable humanitarian actors' longer term engagement and planning. In all that we do, SDG5 should guide our efforts to make sure that the needs of women and girls are heard and addressed.
Second, nothing should be discussed about women without women. Exclusion will always result in inequality and the risk of continued conflict. Women's effective participation and full enjoyment of their human rights is crucial to achieve effective and sustainable peace.
In the DRC, democratic and peaceful development requires the full implementation of the New Year's agreement, including women's full participation in the upcoming elections. We are encouraged by local efforts to improve the registration of female voters, by for example keeping voter registration facilities open also on Sundays. There is no shortage of women wanting to get involved in Congolese politics, as the umbrella network Rien sans les femmes and other Congolese organizations demonstrate.
In Nigeria, encouraging local efforts to bring more women into decision-making positions are also underway. This is most welcome since women currently hold less than six percent of the seats in Parliament and in the Courts. These efforts in both the DRC and in Nigeria to enhance women's participation must be strongly supported.
Third, we need to strengthen our efforts to combat sexual and gender based crimes. Violence against women and girls violates their human rights and hinders development. In Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, survivors of SGBV risk stigma of association with insurgents, creating further alienation and isolation which – in turn – risks leading to further socioeconomic frustration and continuation of conflict.
It is of course the primary responsibility of states to ensure their citizen's safety and dignity – and when violated – accountability; if a state is unwilling or unable, international tribunals have an important complementary role to play.
The Security Council should increase its attention to SGBV transgressions in the implementation of its mandates. We would also like to see enhanced attention to SGBV in both thematic and country-specific action when it comes to sanctions. We note that SGBV rarely receives the appropriate attention in UN reports.
Today's briefing has shown that the women, peace and security agenda needs to be properly addressed when the Security Council debates geographic security challenges.
It is now important we ensure effective follow up of this visit. We look forward to continued discussions in the Council and the Informal Experts Group on Women, Peace and Security. There is a need for the whole UN system to more coherently report and act in line with UNSCR 2242 and this should also be part of its follow up.
This initiative should serve as an inspiration for continued efforts in the field and we encourage similar trips to more countries and regions by UN senior leadership, UN Women and other relevant actors. Intensified cooperation between the AU and the UN on women, peace and security benefits both organisations; as it benefits the strife for peace and prosperity for the DRC and in Nigeria. In these efforts, DSG Mohammed, Ambassador Antonio, and colleagues of the Council, you can count on the full support of Sweden.
I thank you.