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Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security at the Open Debate of the UN Security Council on Advancing the WPS agenda through partnerships

Madam President,

I am pleased to speak on behalf of the 56 Member States of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace, and Security [1].

On this International Women’s Day, the Group of Friends would like to express our solidarity with all women peacebuilders, human rights defenders and advocates for gender equality around the world who are tirelessly working to build peace, defend human rights and implement the Women, Peace and Security agenda. We hear you. We continue to call on all Member States to protect and promote women and girls’ rights everywhere. We call on all Member States and partners to ensure women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace, political and security decision-making processes, at all levels, in line with UN Security Council resolution 1325 and subsequent Women, Peace and Security resolutions.

We express our full solidarity with all women and girls in Ukraine and deplore the loss of life and human suffering caused by the situation stemming from the aggression by the Russian Federation. We are deeply concerned about the distinct impact of violence on women and girls, many of whom have been displaced or forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. The current situation places women and girls at increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence. We must integrate a gender perspective in the delivery of humanitarian assistance and ensure that their needs are fully taken into account and their rights are safeguarded and respected. We commend the action by women’s organizations and other civil society organizations in support of humanitarian efforts.

Madam President,

Women face persistent barriers to economic empowerment and security particularly during times of crisis. This is a serious human rights issue which impedes women’s participation in peace processes and public life at large. In conflict-affected countries -- such as in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen -- there are significant gender gaps in employment, with women less likely to be in paid work and with limited access to social protection systems and public services. Women’s financial and digital inclusion is also systematically lower in these settings. This has been further exacerbated by the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women.


We encourage Members States to increase their support for human-rights based initiatives that advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment and security, particularly in conflict and post-conflict situations. This includes support to civil society and women-led organizations as well as to Member States to improve women and girls’ safe and equitable access to quality education, training and capacity-building.


We encourage the UN Security Council to recognize, as it addresses conflict and post-conflict situations, the importance of women’s economic inclusion for women, their families, their communities, and their countries’ economic security and well-being. Their economic inclusion is as an essential enabler of meaningful participation, sustainable peace and economic recovery in post-conflict settings. We also encourage the Council to strengthen its cooperation with other UN entities, including the UN Peacebuilding Commission and Economic and Social Council, as well as regional and sub-regional organizations, to better promote women’s economic inclusion in fragile, conflict and post-conflict settings.


We recognize the role that the private sector can play in increasing women’s economic participation in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, including through dismantling systemic barriers; eliminating gender-based violence and harassment; the creation of training, mentoring and leadership opportunities; and the provision of decent jobs and livelihoods. We encourage increased cooperation among all partners and take note of multi-stakeholder initiatives, including the Generation Equality Forum and its Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Assistance.


Madam President,

We must remind ourselves today and every day of our responsibility to apply a human-rights based approach and to fully implement the Women, Peace and Security agenda for the women and girls around the world in conflict or crisis environments. We must do our utmost to ensure their full, equal and meaningful participation and to protect them from sexual and gender-based violence.

Thank you.

[1] Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, United States of America.


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