UN Security Council
Meeting 8306 - Peace and Security in Africa
Women, Peace and Security in the Sahel Region
By: Patrick Liu
Background information: https://www.whatsinblue.org/2018/07/women-peace-and-security-in-the-sahel-region-briefing.php
- Opening Briefings:
- Amina Mohammed - UN Deputy Secretary General
Amina Mohammed opened the UNSC meeting by briefing the Council on the recent trip to South Sudan, Chad, and Niger. Noting the rising levels of violence in these areas, the DSG urged the greater participation of women in decision making of the political peace process. The DSG further cited the role of women in preventing violent extremism and strengthening national economies. DSG Mohammed addressed the connection between security and development, noting that “security comes at the expense of development”. Therefore, the DSG advocated for increased transformative investment for development.
2. Bineta Diop - AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security
Bineta Diop gave a powerful testament to the UNSC advocating for the transformation of Africa led by women. Diop testified that there is “no peace, no security, and no development without the effective participation of women”. Diop advised for greater women participation in national action plans as well as in responses to other national challenges. Furthermore, Diop cited the need for greater investment in education to strengthen the capacity for women and young people. In closing, Diop remarked that the UNSC to take action by stating : “the battle for security is won by responding to the needs of the people!”
3. Margot Wallström - Swedish Foreign Minister
In her capacity as the Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström noted the vast disparity between “hope and despair” during her visit to South Sudan, Chad, and Niger. Specifically Wallström regretted the disproportionate burden that women face to threats to security. In fighting this fundamentally peace and security issue, Wallström advocated for joint-integrated responses from the international community to strengthen national capacities to fight impunity, create sustainable livelihoods, fight violent extremism, and promote equality. Wallström reminded the UNSC of their responsibility in helping to fight for peace and security, noting that “their destiny is our destiny”.
- Statements from Permanent Members
- United States
The United States encouraged the role of women to use the power of their voices. In a comprehensive solution to the Sahel Region issues, the US urged for the consideration of the empowerment of women. The US also cited the linkage between women’s fundamental rights and the advancement of international peace and security.
2. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom expressed its interest in promoting the level of women’s participation in decision making, economic life, and overall regional peace and security. In response, the UK reiterated its commitment of its resources to women’s development.
3. France (and Germany)
France and Germany maintained that only integrated action of security, political, and human rights developments will foster lasting Sahel development. In this aspect, France stressed the need to support UNISS and women participation in the Sahel region. In closing, France and Germany called for the systematic and long-term promotion of the capacity of women to engage in the political and peace processes.
The Russian Federation lamented the fact that 17 years since resolution 1325 that strengthened the protection of women in armed conflict, women today are still subjected to violence. Russia hoped for joint forces and action to fight against these crimes to women. Russia further noted the positive role of women in armed conflict, prevention, and post-conflict rebuilding situations. Lastly, Russia reiterated that the main actors of such efforts should be states with civil societies and regional organizations as supporters
China named many of the challenges faced by the Sahel region including cross-border crimes, underdevelopment, poverty, and the humanitarian situation that have grave effects on peace and development. In addressing these issues, China hoped political solutions draw from the domestic population and from women specifically. The international community should therefore support leadership in Africa and assist where needed to ensure the full implementation of the 2030 agenda and sustainable peace and development.
- Statements from Other Members
- European States
The Netherlands addressed the disproportionate effects on women from climate change, and the need for gender sensitive responses in the Sahel. In addition to a UN system to support a strategy, the Netherlands advocated for greater women’s participation in decision making and for women’s empowerment on issues of peace and security.
Poland urged for the implementation of the UN strategy plan for Sahel in order to respond to the needs of the women. Furthermore Poland promoted the positive role of women as agents of change in the long term sustainable development of the Sahel region.
2. Latin America
Peru insisted the focus of such peace and security issues on their root causes: the empowerment of Women, gender equality, and access to justice. In response, Peru promoted greater participation, education, and employment opportunities for women. Peru therefore urged the UNSC to promote regional mechanisms like the G5 Sahel, ECOWAS, and the AU to mainstream gender perspectives, and accomplish these goals.
Bolivia re-emphasized the need for cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organizations
- Central Asia
Kazakhstan recognized the growing relationship between the AU and UN in promoting the women, peace and security agenda and in advancing gender empowerment. However, Kazakhstan mentioned the need to bridge the gap between spoken commitment and actual action.
In this context, Kazakhstan urged a focus on structural drivers and root causes of instability to understand the link between security and development, and create a comprehensive approach to build resilience. Lastly, Kazakhstan acknowledged the continued issue of financing for women, peace and security initiatives and hoped for “better coordinated strategies and better collaboration with partners” to ensure their survival.
2. Middle East
Kuwait welcomed the advancement of the role of women in achieving peace and security in the Sahel region as part of the SG’s approach to gender equality in various UN bodies.
3. African States
Equatorial Guinea denounced the terrorist activity in the Sahel region that left thousands of IDPs dependent on humanitarian aid and assistance. These violent outbreaks particularly affect women and girls. Equatorial Guinea therefore called on the international community to support the government in waging war against terrorism in order to protect against gender based violence. Equatorial Guinea lauded the work by UNOWAS and AU counter-terrorism initiatives.
Ethiopia similarly acknowledged the impact from conflicts on women and girls. In addition to lauding AU and UN joint regional approach, Ethiopia emphasized the need to build partnerships with various stakeholders. Cote D’Ivoire recognized the complex, multidimensional crises that affects women and urged for greater focus to address the issues and root causes.
- Statements from Other Parties
Chad lauded the tripart delegation trip to Chad, Sudan, and Niger and thanked the diplomats for their work on women, peace, and security. Chad noted the precariousness of living conditions for women because of violent conflicts and climate change. Chad also stressed the need to assist resulting IDPs and refugees, most who are women and children.