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Inside the Security Council Open Debate on Women Peace and Security

By Sarah Tunnell

(Visual: Nela Abey, WILPF PeaceWomen)

The annual United Nations Security Council open debate on Women Peace and Security (WPS) was convened, under the presidency of the Russian Federation, on 25 October 2016. One year after the Global Study on 1325, measuring action to move from commitments to accomplishments is critical. Prior to the debate Russia circulated a concept note calling upon Member States to focus their statements on the progress achieved in implementing commitments made in 2015. However, only 24 states out of 58  (41 percent) illustrated the action steps taken on their 2015 commitments. Of these, 11 states (45.8 percent) only followed up on some of their commitments, leaving one or more unmet. In fact, moving beyond rhetoric is a major gap which raises substantial questions about the seriousness with which stakeholders are addressing the WPS Agenda.

In addition to reviewing 2015 commitments, 16 out of 80 states who attended the 2016 WPS debate (19.75 percent) made new commitments to the Agenda. Of these, 11 (45.8 percent) only followed up on some of their commitments, leaving one or more unmet. When including states that made concrete commitments in 2015, but did not present statements in 2016, the total number of states that failed to follow up on any of their commitments was 31 (53 percent).

Despite consistent recognition by all three peace and security reviews in 2015 of the need for strengthened action on conflict prevention, conflict prevention and disarmament were absent from a majority of the statements. This disconnect demonstrates a level of negligence among states to acknowledge that the best prevention of conflict-related sexual violence and gender-based discrimination or injustice, is to prevent conflict from occurring in the first place.

Find the Full Debate Analysis  of the 2016 Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security here.

Find the Analysis of the WPS Commitments made at the 2016 Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security here.