Statement on behalf of the Nordic countries by Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide in the Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security in the Security Council, 29 October 2019.
Members of the Security Council, Excellencies,
I am speaking today on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway. I would like to thank South Africa for initiating this debate and for bringing women peacebuilders to this room.
To understand conflicts, we need to understand how they affect both women and men. To solve conflicts, we need to mobilize women.
Women and men have exactly the same right to take part in decisions concerning their future. As Nobel Laureate Leyma Gbowee simply put it; Women are not observers to conflict. Why should we be observers to peace? And we know that inclusive peace processes, including both men and women, have better odds to create lasting peace.
The Nordic countries welcome the emphasis in the Secretary General’s report, on women’s meaningful participation to prevent conflict and sustain peace. It is now critical to ensure concrete and practical follow up. We will do our part, both nationally and in multilaterally.
The launch of the Global Alliance of Women Mediators in September was a milestone. The network not only highlights the large number of women with substantial and different experience in the field of peace and security. It also shows their commitment to participate in and lead processes.
We encourage other countries to join Commitment 2025 on Women’s Inclusion in Peace Processes, which was launched during the UN’s High-Level Week in September. And we urge the Security Council to ensure that the situation and roles of women are reflected in the Security Council’s resolutions and mission mandates.
Inclusion is also about including different women; rural and urban, young and elderly women, differently abled, indigenous women and women of different sexual orientation.
We are concerned about the widespread violence and repression women peacebuilders and human rights defenders face, and the persistent impunity for such violence. These women’s rights and security are essential to democracy and peace.
Supporting women on the frontlines working for peace is essential. I would like to highlight the work of the International Civil Society Action Network, the Women’s League for Peace and Freedom, and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders.
Research continues to link gender-based violence and gender inequality to how vulnerable a society is to civil war and conflict.
More needs to be done to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, including conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.
We must counter attacks on women’s full and equal enjoyment of human rights, ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights and strengthen services for survivors of sexual violence.
We strongly support the mandate of the Special Representative on sexual violence in conflict, and welcome the International Fund for Survivors of Conflict Related Sexual Violence, under the lead of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad.
In my national capacity as Norway’s Foreign Minister, I would like to announce that we will support this fund.
I also draw your attention to the recently launched Women, Peace and Security Index. It measures women’s situation globally by three key dimensions – inclusion, justice, and security.
Furthermore, the handbook on prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence for use in UN operations is forthcoming.
We spend much time discussing resolutions. Now we should spend at least an equal amount of time on fully implementing them!
South Africa, supported by the NGO Working Group and others, did secure language on the full implementation of former resolutions. And while we want to see stronger commitments to safeguard and enable women human rights defenders and peacebuilders, their key role is recognized as well as the states’ responsibilities towards them.
We co-sponsored the resolution and congratulate South Africa and the Security Council om a consensus vote.
President, in conclusion,
The Nordic countries call on the Security Council to preserve and build on the cross-regional consensus that has been the trademark of this agenda.
Around this table, there should be full agreement on this simple fact:
Women’s participation is needed to achieve sustainable peace.