Foreign and Commonwealth Office – 2019 Press Release on Women, Peace and Security

Below is a press release issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 29/10/2019.

Statement by Ambassador Karen Pierce, UK Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council briefing on Women, Peace and Security.

Thank you very much, Mr President.

The UK was pleased to vote in favour of the resolution that South Africa proposed today and we are very grateful for your efforts to secure Council consensus on this resolution and the efforts of your mission.

We welcome the resolution’s focus on implementation. Implementation is the United Kingdom’s main priority on Women, Peace and Security as we look forward to the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325 next year. We believe that this resolution represents the final push that the Council needs to provide on implementation. From the United Kingdom’s perspective, our focus should now be on delivering on the ambition of the full existing framework of Women Peace and Security resolutions, and not producing more texts.

Turning to the text itself, we endorse its confirmation of this Council’s call for full – and I stress that word “full” – implementation of SCR 1325 and its encouragement of increased engagement by Member States and UN agencies, as well as increased support for civil society.

Mr President, the emphasis on full implementation – and again I stress “full” – is vital. The implementation gap is visible right the way across the Women, Peace and Security agenda; we have not seen sufficient progress in ensuring women’s meaningful participation, or in increasing the number of women in peacekeeping, nor in building an effective response to conflict-related sexual violence.

In all cases, Mr President, this needs to include sexual and reproductive health services. I know that not all member states agree with this but from the perspective of the United Kingdom, SRHR and their services are a vital part of public services for women in all countries and a vital part of ensuring that women can play a truly equal role in the building of their countries.

We welcome the resolution’s support for the creation of safe and enabling environments for civil society, as well as the importance of funding, which we consider essential for organisations and individuals to carry out their work, free of interference and free from fear.

However, I have to say, Mr President that the United Kingdom was disappointed that the Council did not seize the opportunity for a resolution more ambitious in scope.

Firstly, we believe that the resolution would have broken new ground if it had included explicit language on women human rights defenders and their protection and their security. The work of women human rights defenders is essential to the functioning of democracy and the maintenance and achievement of peace.

Secondly, we regret it wasn’t possible to include broader recognition of civil society’s role in implementation. We talk a lot about implementation in meetings and events in New York, but civil society – especially women at the grassroots level – are responsible for making this Council’s resolution a reality on the ground. They are the ones on the front lines, and they need increased recognition and support in order to effect greater and more effective change.

Thank you, Mr President.