Thank you Madame President

New Zealand thanks Bolivia for calling this important Open Debate, and the Secretary-General for his report.

New Zealand wishes to highlight two themes from the report: first the participation of women in peacekeeping, and second, the barriers to accessing essential services in conflict and humanitarian situations.

Earlier this month, New Zealand hosted the annual conference of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres, or IAPTC, which included workshops on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. We were gratified to see a continued commitment to greater participation of women in peacekeeping operations, and to see ideas shared in an open and constructive manner.

New Zealand now holds the Presidency of the IAPTC. We are pleased to share that New Zealand Colonel Helen Cooper is the first female president in the Association’s 24-year history.

Over the coming year, we will be working with some of the Peacekeeping Training Centres on initiatives to further Women, Peace and Security commitments.  

Madame President, as well as participation in peacekeeping, the Secretary-General’s report highlights the discriminatory barriers which women and girls face in conflict and humanitarian situations.

We know that women and girls are disproportionately exposed to a high risk of violations of their human rights in such situations. Empirical evidence shows that reduced access to sexual and reproductive health services results in the needless loss of lives, due to the increased rates of unsafe abortion and preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.

Removal of discriminatory barriers to access is of critical importance to ensure the health and safety of women and girls. Women and girls must have power over their own lives, including the right to have full control over, and freely decide on, matters relating to their sexual and reproductive health and rights. We welcome the adoption of Human Rights Council resolution 39/10 on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights in humanitarian settings.

Madame President, we all benefit when the Women, Peace and Security Agenda is fully realised. We build safer and more prosperous societies, our peacekeeping efforts are more likely to take hold, and we improve the chances of sustainable peace being achieved.

I want to affirm that New Zealand – as the first country to recognise women’s suffrage – remains committed to realising this agenda. As New Zealand nears the end of the timeframe for our first National Action Plan, we look forward to working with civil society to identify ambitious targets and actions for our second action plan.

Muchas gracias.