Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Explanation of Vote on a draft resolution on Women, Peace and Security

The Russian Federation is disappointed with the outcome of voting on draft resolution on Women, Peace and Security on occasion of the 20th anniversary of SC resolution 1325.

But what is even more worrisome is unconstructive behavior of some members of the Security Council who act as if they have a monopoly on promoting and formulating of women’s agenda.

On 1 October, we as President of the Security Council for the month of October, officially informed about the intention to hold a pen on a draft resolution on this important Anniversary year.

Initially we presented a short commemorative text. Several Members of the Security Council indicated that some important elements were missing, so we followed the requests for adding those. Eventually many proposals were taken on board by merging similar ideas and finding the language that would constitute a middle ground. Thus, we managed to come up with a balanced text, reflecting four pillars of WPS and accommodating not only peace and security issues but also human rights and development. The latter seems to have constituted a problem for European delegations and US. We substantially streamlined a number of references to development in the text, deleting many of those and limiting ourselves to previously agreed ones. However, being one of the pillars of the UN, development, is crucial for countries in armed conflict and post-conflict reconstruction. It should be noted that bearing in mind the existing sensitivities we worked on the basis of agreed language and when necessary, realistic and possible, we reverted to verbatim language from previous resolutions on WPS. Till yesterday we engaged with delegations, carefully looked through their proposals, including those received overnight, and tried to accommodate those to the extent possible.

The language in the draft was a result of intense expert consultations. This may not be the ideal text that Russia would like to have but it made stock of the achievements, indicated the gaps and called for better implementation of the WPS agenda.

Why would some Members of the SC not support the text? The answer is obvious. There was no genuine will to compromise, bridge the differences and search for solutions. Is there another SC resolution, where the same countries would like to see a compendium of their favourite paragraphs from previous resolutions in verbatim? No. Was the approach the same, when we negotiated two resolutions on WPS in 2019? No. Delegations, including ours, exercised maximum flexibility. Why was it different this year? The answer is obvious. Some delegations had issues with other countries, and Russia in particular, having the lead on this topic and challenging some states’ “monopoly“ on protecting women in situations of armed conflicts and promoting their participation in peace processes. This approach once again led to the situation, when the Council became divided on this important issue. We regret the fact that WPS became a controversial topic on which we didn’t find unity as it was 20 years ago, when the agenda was established and when the landmark resolution 1325 was adopted.

And this controversy was not worth pursuing. To analyse this let’s look at the text itself.

What in fact some of SC members didn’t support?

The draft resolution reaffirms the commitment to WPS and urges to fully implement all WPS resolutions (pp1, op4, op5); recognizes the importance of equal approach to all four pillars of WPS (pp4) and the need to strengthen links between the United Nations peace and security in the field, human rights and development work as a means to address root causes of armed conflict and threats to the security of women and girls (pp9); underlines the important contribution of civil society and affirms the importance of their sustained engagement and meaningful participation in all peace processes, while remaining deeply concerned about threats, attacks and restrictions on the work of civil society organizations (pp14); urges to ensure safe, enabling and gender-sensitive working environments for women in peacekeeping operations and to address threats and violence against them (op6); calls to promote all the rights of women, including civil, political and economic rights and urges them to increase their funding on WPS including through aid in conflict and post-conflict situations for programmes that further gender equality and women’s economic empowerment and security, as well as through support to civil society (op8); takes note of the Informal Experts Group on WPS (op9); highlights the efforts of regional and sub-regional organizations in implementing the WPS agenda and encourages them to continue this work (pp8, pp11, op1, op10). There are multiple provisions on facilitating, ensuring and promoting full, equal and meaningful participation of women in peace processes (op5, op6, op7). In conclusion, there is a request to the Secretary-General in his next report to make recommendations on how to address new and emerging challenges as well as to promote full, equal and meaningful participation of women in peace processes and ensure that their specific needs are addressed in peace agreements (op11).

We are puzzled and regret that our former operative paragraph 3 on ending impunity for sexual violence in conflict was gone. The night before the Open Debate we received multiple requests of our western colleagues to delete the paragraph or replace it with a PP11 paragraph from 2467, which in our view has a different focus. But we did as they persisted in their letters.

Today we have already learned that these delegations are trying to tell to the public at large that this resolution was “a stepback, a water-down, a retreat, a departure” from the previous resolutions. Some of them went as far as to suggest that they took “a firm stand to protect this critical agenda from attack from the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China”. These are all but futile attempts to disguise their sabotage.

Their allegations are not true.

First, the resolution refers to all previously adopted resolutions on the subject that retain their validity.

Secondly, it was a commemorative resolution that was not meant to add to or deduct from the topic.

So, by effectively killing this resolution these delegations prevented the world community to celebrate this important milestone and thus sent a confusing message.

We would like to “thank” them for that on behalf of all women. We are not sure, though, that the public at large will understand their reasoning.

As one of those delegations noted in one of its communications "it is widely maintained that there is no need for further WPS resolutions, but we do need to focus intently on implementation". Then, apparently the Security Council has reached the critical mass of resolutions on WPS. From now on we will follow based on this premise.

And once again we wish those delegations that have not supported this resolution good luck in trying to explain to the international community and women they seek to protect, what in this resolution prevented them from supporting it.

It won’t be an easy task.