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Joint Nordic Baltic Statement at the Open Debate of the UN Security Council on Advancing the WPS agenda through partnerships

Joint Nordic Baltic Statement for Open Debate of the UN Security Council on “Advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda through partnerships: Women’s economic inclusion and participation as a key to building peace”

delivered by Ambassador Anna-Karin Eneström,
Sweden's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York

Tuesday, 8 March 2022


Madam President,

I am delivering this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries.

We thank you for organizing today’s important meeting on Women, Peace and Security and welcome the briefers’ statements.

I want to emphasize our countries’ full solidarity with Ukraine and its people, including women and girls in Ukraine. The unprovoked Russian military aggression towards a sovereign UN member state is an appalling violation of international law and UN principles and must stop immediately. We condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms and fully support the initiated accountability preparations at the UN Human Rights Council. The disproportionate consequences of war on women and girls are well documented and conflict-related sexual violence is a horrifying part of this. We are extremely concerned about the reports of sexual and gender-based violence and call for accountability and prevention of further incidents. We are also concerned that large-scale displacement is seriously curtailing women’s and girls’ access to basic services, which could infringe on their sexual and reproductive health and rights. We commend Ukrainian women for their courage and resilience in their role in the political, military and humanitarian response. Women’s and other civil society organizations are playing a critical role. We, the international community, must ensure that WPS is at the heart of our response.

We urge the Security Council to stay focused on WPS throughout its agenda, including the deeply concerning situation for women and girls and their human rights protection in Afghanistan.

The WPS agenda rests on the pillars of prevention, participation, protection, relief and recovery, which are all crucial, interlinked and must be implemented in an integrated manner. The agenda is based on and cannot be achieved without ensuring the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls, which includes civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights. This is why we are committed to human rights-based approaches to the WPS agenda, including women’s economic empowerment.

Women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace and political processes is not possible if the effects of women’s economic realities are ignored. Their safety and protection, including from sexual and gender-based violence, is not possible without removing discriminatory legislation and other barriers to women’s economic empowerment. The role women can play in any part of the conflict cycle is also shaped by their disproportionate burden of unpaid domestic and care work, and limited access to social protection.

Women’s economic conditions have deteriorated as a result of the pandemic. When building back better and greener, we must ensure targeted measures for women rights and gender equality in all public policies and budgeting. We must promote transformative measures that address the power structures that sustain and reproduce women’s exclusion and gender inequality.

We agree that multi-stakeholder partnerships are critical. We must engage all relevant actors, including the private sector, in order to holistically and efficiently address the WPS implementation gaps. The Generation Equality initiative with its multi-stakeholder approach provides a positive example. We are pleased to note that the WPS-HA Compact finds several catalytic and board members among the Nordic and Baltic countries.

Let me end by reiterating that we all need to step up our efforts to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls. We must step up support to women human rights defenders, women’s and other civil society organizations at the grass root level. When unjust obstacles are removed, women will empower themselves. It is imperative that the Security Council maintains an active discussion on the WPS agenda and all its pillars and that we keep building on the Trio Presidency and some subsequent presidencies’ efforts to place WPS at the heart of the Council’s work.

Thank you.

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