On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, under the presidency of South Africa, the United Nations Security Council and 91 Member States and regional blocs commemorated the 19th Anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 during the annual open debate on women, peace, and security (WPS). The open debate, which continued to a second day on 4 November, addressed the theme: “Towards the successful implementation of the women, peace and security agenda: moving from commitments to accomplishments in preparation for the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).” It also included the unanimous adoption of UNSCR 2493 as the 10th Resolution on Women, Peace and Security.
WILPF monitored this year’s Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security in its entirety, including both the 29 October and 4 November sessions. The main focus of the debate was on meaningful participation, with substantial attention also to civil society, women human rights defenders, and women in peacekeeping and security sector. Overall the 2019 open debate focused on the need for greater accountability and the full implementation of the WPS agenda. However, although the concept note for the debate and also the purported aim of the resolution both focused on accountability, only twenty-one states (23.08%) referenced accountability directly (i.e. regarding WPS implementation generally, gender-based violence, or sexual violence in conflict).
The debate included a civil society statement by Alaa Salah on behalf of MANSAM, a coalition of Sudanese women civil and political groups and the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. “There is no excuse for us [women] not to have an equal seat at every single table,” stated Salah.