Photo: Minister of State Müntefering during the open debate on women, peace and security in the UN Security Council on 25 October 2018. Credit: German Foreign Office. - Photo: 2018

Women, Peace and Security is Germany’s Priority in 2019-2020 Security Council Membership

By Santo D. Banerjee

NEW YORK (IDN) – When Germany joins the UN Security Council next January as a non-permanent member for 2019-2020, promoting the ‘Women, Peace and Security Agenda’ by ensuring a greater political participation of women and prevention of sexual violence in conflicts, will be one of its priorities. The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in which women play a central role.

Before speaking in the Security Council’s open debate on women, peace and security on October 25, Germany’s Minister of State Michelle Müntefering said, the unanimous adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security on October 31, 2000 was a milestone in the UN Security Council.

Following are extensive excerpts from her remarks in the open debate:

“I would like to state here, and I believe that many agree with me on this issue, that we women do not owe a debt of gratitude in the traditional sense of the expression.”

These words were uttered by Marie Juchacz almost 100 years ago, on 19 February 1919 in the German parliament – during the first German democracy immediately after the introduction of women’s suffrage. As the first woman to speak in parliament, she boldly continued:

 “It will not occur to us to deny our femininity because we have entered into the political arena and are joining the fight for the rights of the people. There is no part of the new governmental programme that we (social democratic) women are not interested in.”

This is precisely the way things are today, 100 years after this speech – also internationally. Foreign and security policy can and must no longer take place without women in the 21st century. Neither in national parliaments, nor in the United Nations, nor in its international peace missions.

The United Nations as a central, rules-based, multilateral regulatory framework was created 70 years ago after two world wars. For us, it is more important than ever before – and not only with a view to our own history, but to a common and peaceful future. This is why I wish first of all to offer my sincere thanks to Bolivia, the current holder of the Security Council Presidency, for this Security Council Open Debate on Resolution 1325. I would also like to thank the UN Secretary General and the Executive Director of UN Women Ms Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka for their important statements, as well as Ms Randa Siniora in her capacity as a civil-society representative.

We cannot afford to talk about peace, women and security in the 21stcentury without women sitting at the table as equal partners. They must be actors and shapers of peace and security policy, and not just passive recipients of political decisions. We cannot afford to neglect women’s potential for promoting security, stability and sustainable peace, as remains the case today.

The adoption of this Resolution 20 years ago was a milestone. A new generation of sons and daughters of our countries has reached adulthood in the intervening years. A great deal has happened since that time. We may be taking small steps, but we’re making progress.

This is why it’s decisive now for us to continue to address this topic in view of the crises and conflicts in the world and to steadily build on experiences and successes – and to drive these forward with vim and vigour.

Germany aligns itself with the statements made by the European Union and Canada. Allow me, above and beyond this, to mention three of Germany’s priorities with regard to women, peace and security.

Firstly, we will place the implementation of Resolution 1325 at the heart of our work as a member of the Security Council in 2019/2020. We’re looking forward to working closely together with Peru in taking over as Co-Chair of the Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security. We will build on Sweden’s excellent preparatory work and raise the profile of the group’s recommendations still further. We will give civil society a voice that is heard in the UN Security Council, including women human rights defenders.

Secondly, we will continue to lend our full support to the UN’s important work to prevent and eliminate conflict-related sexual violence. We will use the annual open debate on this issue during our Chairmanship in April 2019 to strengthen the normative framework of the Security Council with respect to conflict-related violence. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nadia Murad from Iraq, who now lives in Germany, and Dr Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, underscore in their work how important the fight against conflict-related violence continues to be.

Thirdly and lastly, Germany intends to achieve tangible progress regarding the implementation of Resolution 1325 by 2020 – the 20th anniversary of the Resolution. We will continue to draw on the important and practical exchange of experiences in the Focal Points Network. I’m most delighted that we are due to hand on the presidency of this network to Namibia in 2019 – especially since it is one of the driving forces behind Resolution 1325.

Moreover, we will continue to lend political and financial support to the African Women Leaders’ Network, also with regard to the establishment of national chapters such as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo right now.

We’re talking here about Resolution 1325, about nothing less than the implementation of applicable international law – the decision of the UN Security Council of 31 October 2000, which was adopted unanimously and is binding under international law. It is important to ensure that we strengthen women at all socio-political levels, both locally and globally. We’re doing this because we firmly believe that women can do anything – but they must also be allowed to do so. [IDN-InDepthNews – 27 October 2018]

Photo: Minister of State Müntefering during the open debate on women, peace and security in the UN Security Council on 25 October 2018. Credit: German Foreign Office.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –

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