By: Marina Kumskova, U.N. Security Council Monitor
Photo Credit: UN.org
In February 2016, there are two open debates at the United Nations (UN) Security Council under the presidency of Venezuela. The first ministerial-level Open Debate on February 15, 2016 focused on the maintenance of international peace and security and the respect of purposes and principles of the UN Charter. The second Open Debate on February 23, 2016 was on post-conflict peacebuilding and the review of the peacebuilding architecture.
At the February 15 Debate on International Peace and Security, speakers discussed how the Security Council can simultaneously strengthen its mission and protect principles outlined in the UN Charter when the nature of the threats facing international peace and security is continuously changing ranging now from terrorist acts to pandemic diseases and unprecedented migration flows.
Despite its emphasis on the need to reconsider the UN Charter’s commitment to creating peace and promoting human rights, this debate was characterised by a lack of attention to gender-related issues, such as gender-based violence, participation of women in decision-making processes, and the role of gender in the context of conflict. In his welcoming remarks, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon did note that the primary goal of the UN should include bringing the promise of the UN Charter to the most vulnerable populations. This is a critical issue. As PeaceWomen has emphasized on many occasions, women and girls are uniquely and disproportionately affected by armed conflict and disaster. Additionally, many speakers highlighted the necessity of peaceful conflict resolution. Unfortunately, the majority of speakers failed to recognize the critical contributions of women in peace processes. The fact that there is a much higher chance to reach an agreement in cases where women’s groups exercise a strong influence on the negotiation process should not be left behind. For a more detailed analysis of the debate, please visit our United Nations Security Council Debate Watch page.
On February 23, 2016, PeaceWomen attended the Open Debate on the theme, “Post-conflict peacebuilding: review of the peacebuilding architecture.” Building on the spirit of the first debate, Venezuela suggested in its concept note to further discuss the ways in which the UN can improve its approach to peacebuilding. In this vein, women’s leadership and participation in peacebuilding and the protection of women and girls should come first and never be an afterthought in international security. The complete analysis of this debate is featured on our Debate Watch page.