Remarks by Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde on United Nations Security Council open debate on Women, Peace and Security

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Madam President, Mr Secretary General, dear briefers, dear colleagues and friends,

The adoption of UNSCR 1325 in October 2000 was a true milestone.

The resolution reformed the way we see and conduct conflict analysis and engage in peace keeping. The resolution was an answer to generations of neglect of women as peace makers, as negotiators, mediators and parties to conflict.

Since then, deepened commitments by the UN system and Member States; important initiatives locally, regionally and internationally have moved the agenda forward. Yet, we have a long way to go.

Madam President,

Let me thank South Africa for organising this debate and for their strong focus on implementation. As portrayed in the Secretary General’s report the challenges are profound. To deliver more sustainable results we need:

  • leadership to keep women’s rights and participation at the top of the agenda,
  • implementation of concrete steps that matter in the field, and
  • accountability to ensure that decisions are acted upon.

Let me briefly elaborate on each of these three components:

Firstly, leadership. To achieve full integration, strong leadership is key. We, as Member States and as the UN, must take concrete steps forward in 2020. We need to counter attacks on women’s human rights, including the sexual and reproductive health and rights, and we need to defend our multilateral achievements. Resources need to be committed. Messaging needs to be clear.

Secondly, implementation. Practical measures must be taken by national governments, multilateral institutions, and individual missions. A gender perspective should influence our work, what we talk about and our next steps. There needs to be a gender perspective in conflict analysis and inclusion of sex disaggregated data in all reporting. We welcome the renewed commitments made by the Peacebuilding Commission to adopt an integrated gender perspective in all of its work and we fully support the suggestions presented by the PBC chair to the Security Council today.

Thirdly, accountability. We need clearly defined responsibilities to implement the full WPS-agenda. Follow-up is essential to ensure that analysis and data reflect realities on the ground. There have to be strategies, by the UN and Member States, for women’s participation in peace processes and decision-making bodies. Prevention and prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence needs to be central in peace efforts.

Let me stress the role of civil society. During our time on the Security Council, more civil society briefers than ever were invited, resulting in more inclusive and better-informed discussions. Yesterday in our Multi-stakeholder Forum, civil society organisations expressed great concern that progress on women, peace and security is slowing down.

They also stressed increased hostility towards civil society, especially women human rights defenders. Member States, in particular the Security Council, need to take concrete steps to implement decisions and to include civil society as partners.

Not least, there is an untapped potential for civil society to play a role in preventing conflict through early warning.

Madam President,

As we speak of the importance of civil society and strong political leadership, I would like to highlight the recent developments in Sudan. As we heard from Ms Salah, Sudanese women’s strong participation was critical in the movement for change. We are encouraged by the emphasis on women’s participation by the new government. We should all stand ready to support the Sudanese people as they move forward on this new path.

Madam President,

It is impossible not to mention what is happening in north-east Syria. After years of defending their homes and our countries against the terrorist sect IS/Daesh, the women and men that make up this region’s ethnic and cultural mosaic are now suffering the consequences of the Turkish military offensive. We know that women are among those hardest hit by conflict but in the fight against Daesh they have also been the ones fighting on the front lines. This is especially true of Kurdish women.

We have a moral obligation to stand up for them in times like these.

After more than eight years of conflict, for which the Syrian regime bears the overwhelming responsibility, Syria and the region need peace. Sweden reiterates its support for the UN-led political process – the only path that can lead to sustainable peace.

Madam President,

Finally, let me express my appreciation for the specific commitments in the Secretary General’s report. Many of the recommendations Sweden put forward after two years as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council have been addressed in the report.

I am proud of Sweden’s contribution to the WPS agenda during our time on the Council. Let me assure you that Sweden will continue to champion these issues in close coordination with you and other partners.

Thank you.