United Nations: Security Council Open Debate on Protecting Participation - Addressing Violence Targeting Women In Peace and Security Processes

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delivered by Permanent Representative, H.E. Ms. Carolyn Schwalger.

Madam President, Minister,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of New Zealand.

New Zealand thanks Norway for choosing to focus on womens’ full, equal and meaningful participation in peace and security processes as today’s theme. We fully support Norway’s commitment to elevating participation during its Council Presidency and are committed to advancing this shared goal across all UN fora.

Madam President, Minister,

Despite UN Resolution 1325 urging all actors to increase the participation of women and the incorporation of gender perspectives in all UN peace and security efforts, the 2021 Secretary General’s Report on Women, Peace and Security, highlights persistent and troubling gaps in its delivery. This includes the need to strengthen protection measures for women peacebuilders, human rights defenders and civil society representatives.

Today’s debate is an opportunity to collectively take stock of how far we have come and what more remains to be done. Member States must be bold and consistent in their condemnation of those who silence women involved in peace processes or any other context, and hold perpetrators to account without exception.

New Zealand calls on all Member States to continue to seek innovative and sustainable ways to create safe and enabling environments for women and girls in all of their diversity. Unambiguous, resourced, responsive and operationally focused initiatives based on Member States’ shared best practices should be implemented in peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.

In the context of today’s debate, New Zealand recommends the following initiatives for consideration to enhance the operational effectiveness of peacekeepers, based on lessons we have learned.

First, gender analysis – from the outset of any process – is fundamental to understanding and supporting decision-makers within peacekeeping operations and the host country. Understanding gendered cultural dynamics helps to identify challenges and potential solutions to the complex issues of peacebuilding and peacemaking.

Second, New Zealand has seen first hand the immense value of promoting gender sensitive peacekeeping personnel that understand the local environment and the people they are deployed to serve. This has rung true in our experience supporting peacemaking efforts in the South Pacific, including recent operations in Solomon Islands.

Thirdly, the power of diverse teams does not only improve performance but also promote inclusion and equality is a key hallmark of New Zealand’s approach in peace and security and beyond. The Wāhine Toa leadership program designed to increase women’s participation in the New Zealand Defence Forces including peacekeeping operations, provides a proven model.

Madam President, Minister,

It is clear listening to our two female civil society briefers today that their voices and the diverse voices of female civil society are indispensable to advancing women’s involvement in peace processes. No women peacebuilders should have their right to participation curtailed in anyway by the threat of violence, intimidation or reprisals. Any reprisals against civil society briefers for merely briefing the Council, as others have mentioned this morning already, is an affront to their basic rights to participate and share their expertise. We need to leverage this expertise if we want to build peace in all of the conflicts we are witnessing today.

New Zealand will serve on the Organisational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission in 2022 and continues to support the UN’s Peacebuilding Fund. And with this, we are committed to advancing the Peacebuilding Commission’s gender strategy to ensure that sustained gender-responsive engagement is embedded in all aspects of the UN’s peacebuilding work. Inclusion is fundamental to sustainable peace, and we will seek to ground our engagement in gender-responsive peacebuilding and bringing women’s diverse perspectives to the fore. This is our steadfast commitment.

Thank you, Madam President.


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