I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Finland – and we commend Gabon for arranging this important debate.
In today’s complex conflict situations, the work of human rights defenders is ever more dangerous. Threats, violence, harassment and hate speech against women peacebuilders and human rights defenders pose a serious threat to their lives and physical integrity. This can seriously disrupt their efforts for peace and conflict resolution.
The Nordic countries echo the messages in the SG’s WPS report and the NGO Working Group’s open letter: It is the international community’s responsibility to ensure an enabling environment for women to exercise their right to participate in all aspects of public, social and political life. This includes concrete measures of protection from threats and violence. We simply must recognize the inextricable link between protection and participation.
This is a rights issue but also a crucial step towards building inclusive and sustainable peace. Particular attention must be paid to those who experience multiple, intersecting discrimination, such as women with disabilities.
The Security Council has shown leadership by providing many women human rights defenders and peacebuilders a platform for sharing their views, expertise and experiences. We call on the Council Members to incorporate these perspectives into the Council’s work and conclusions, and to continue to provide women human rights defenders and peacebuilders this visibility and appropriate support before, during and after briefing the Council. We call on Member States to adopt a zero-tolerance policy to address reprisals and to follow up with robust and systematic accountability measures against all perpetrators.
Women and girls are disproportionately impacted by crises and conflicts because of their gender. The SG’s report documents a substantial increase in threats and attacks, including SGBV, targeting women in public life as a strategy to silence, humiliate, and discredit them.
Yet, women peacebuilders and women’s rights organizations all over the world continue to show remarkable leadership, initiative and resilience. They play pivotal roles in efforts relating to conflict prevention, conflict resolution and sustaining peace – and achieving gender equality.
Continuous support to women rights organizations is essential. In addition to political support that recognizes women’s agency, this should include sufficient, predictable and sustainable funding to support grassroot-level action and capacity building for women’s networks.
By the year 2030, an estimate of over 80 percent of global poverty will be in countries suffering from violence and fragility. Tackling state fragility and placing emphasis on conflict prevention and peace mediation are ever more urgent. The Nordic countries regret that only 5 percent of official development assistance to conflict-affected countries is dedicated to advancing gender equality. We – particularly Member States – have to redouble our efforts when it comes to funding.
In conclusion, Mr. President,
Without women, we cannot achieve inclusive and sustainable peace. The Nordic countries commend the 11 current and former Security Council members that have signed the Shared Commitments on WPS. We expect and call on the Security Council to take the lead in ensuring that inclusion of women’s perspectives and gender equality becomes a given in all discussion on peace and security.
I thank you.