Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Gennady Kuzmin at UNSC debate “Strengthening women's resilience in regions plagued by armed groups”
I thank you and your team for organizing this debate on women, peace, and security entitled “Strengthening women's resilience in regions plagued by armed groups”.
We thank Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Executive Director of UN-Women Sima Bahous, and Special Envoy of the African Union on WPS Bineta Diop, as well as Editor-in-chief of ‘Zan Times’ Zahra Nader for their insights and information.
Our discussion confirms the relevance of UN Security Council resolution 1325 which was adopted more than 20 years ago and laid down the groundwork for WPS agenda. The recent report by the Secretary-General confirms that there is progress in promoting the role of women in prevention and settlement of armed conflicts, and in post-conflict recovery. We appreciate that the Secretary-General always remains seized of the issue of increasing women’s meaningful participation in peacekeeping operations, peace talks, and political processes.
One of Security Council’s central tasks is protection of women from violence, to which they become exposed in situations of armed conflicts. Much needs to be done in this regard. Despite the measures that are being undertaken, women still become victims of various forms of violence, get killed and wounded during armed conflicts. When addressing these problems, the Security Council needs to account for the specifics of every given conflict, rather than view gender aspects as an end in itself.
We should remain mindful that the central role in protection of women in armed conflict is assigned to national governments, whereas measures taken by UN bodies and civil society should support and complement national efforts.
We also need to avoid duplication of efforts of various UN bodies of and remain focused on the situations posing indisputable threats to international peace and security – as dictated by the prerogatives of the Security Council. We emphasize that such UN bodies as the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and the Peacebuilding Commission are also taking part in efforts to promote the status of women and ensure gender equality. We are convinced that the Security Council must rigorously uphold its mandate, so we do not welcome the attempts to authorize the Council to infringe on the agenda and subject matters of other UN bodies. Using the UNSC platform for promoting controversial concepts and approaches that do not enjoy broad international support seems equally inappropriate.
We call to focus on concrete work in the interests of women affected by armed conflicts. This in particular means elaboration of national action plans, the adoption of which must be necessitated by situations of armed conflicts. In this case, we are talking about a useful and efficient tool rather than yet another declarative document. Adoption of action plans under UNSC resolution 1325 for the sake of appearance cannot serve as a criterion for assessing states’ national policies in the area of improving the status of women.
We think that in its discussions of the WPS agenda, the Security Council does not pay enough attention to the need of investment in science, healthcare, social protection and development at large. We agree with the point made by the Presidency in the concept note for this meeting that economic empowerment of women makes a valuable contribution to peace and security. We repeatedly called upon UNSC members to focus on problems of women’s employment, property rights (including the right to own land), access to loans and latest technologies as inherent elements of the development of states in situations of armed conflict or post-conflict recovery.
We believe that the Informal Experts Group on women, peace, and security clearly falls short on such efforts. As it is today, the experts group cannot be the coordinator of Security Council’s engagement at this track. Unfortunately, there is some politicizing of the activity of the IEG. Its procedures for adoption of the documents do not meet the requirements of transparency and approval by all UNSC members as a mandatory condition for maintenance of inter-state dialogue. These drawbacks need to be fixed.
As for the activity of the Secretariat, we believe it needs to engage more women from developing states in efforts to promote gender equality and WPS agenda, because they have first-hand knowledge of the situations on the ground.
We have studied with interest the recommendations of the Secretary-General contained in the report. We think what can be added to those is a recommendation to abstain from using illegal unilateral coercive measures that negatively impact the status of women and their family members, and deprive women of employment opportunities, prospects to get education, receive social benefits, and bring up children in a normal environment.
On our part, we will keep contributing meaningfully to the discussion of ways to increase the role of women, uphold their rights and ensure their effective involvement in decision-making and other social processes.