By Sarah Tunnell
Secretary-General António Guterres (right) addresses journalists with Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and President of the Security Council for January, on the Council’s open debate on conflict prevention and sustaining peace. (Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)
The January 10 Security Council Open Debate entitled “Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace” presented the first opportunity for the new UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to establish the priorities of his administration. WILPF’s longstanding calls to pivot from crisis response to conflict prevention and promote an integrated approach was a central element of his priority goals. Guterres also emphasised the importance of engaging women and girls in conflict prevention and development. “When women and men face difficulties together, the society has the best chance to support prosperity, social conflicts, and violent extremism”, he stated.
Building on the statement of the Secretary-General, forty-seven percent of speakers at the debate highlighted the role of women in building peaceful societies and referenced the Women Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. The majority of these statements advocated for the inclusion of women in conflict prevention efforts, peace processes, and governance. Some speakers called for the implementation of WPS resolutions, which closely align with, and facilitate, international peace and security. However, many speakers afforded the WPS Agenda only a passing mention in their statements, rather than recognising that, as the greatest indicator of peace, the engagement of women should be at the forefront of the discussion.
Find the full analysis of the Security Council open debate on conflict prevention here
Also check out our analysis of the January 17 Open Debate on the Middle East here