Written by: Zainab Alam
In July and August, the Security Council held several open debates, including a debate on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security discussing conflict prevention, held on August 21, 2014 and a debate on the UN Peacekeeping regarding evolution and partnerships, held on July 28, 2014. The Security Council also went on mission to South Sudan, Somalia, Belgium and the Netherlands.
On 28 July 2014 the UN Security Council held an open debate entitled “UN Peacekeeping: Regional Partnerships and its Evolution.” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave an opening statement and around 40 speakers highlighted the critical importance of cooperation between the UN, regional, and subregional organizations in accordance with which SCR 2167 was adopted. Overall, despite requests from the Council in SCR 2122 for integration of WPS considerations in peacekeeping reporting, two-thirds of the statements were gender blind. Despite a focus on cooperation, the key contribution from women's groups and organizations was largely ignored.
From August 8th to August 13th, the Security Council conducted a visiting mission to Europe and Africa. The visit to South Sudan was made in emergent circumstances as the country is undergoing a period of conflict requiring non-military measures that would produce national unity- prompting the visiting body to suggest greater regional cooperation with UNMISS. Also of note, in Somalia, 10 years after its last visit, the Security Council discussed a variety of concerns including the upcoming 2016 elections, humanitarian and security issues, as well as the importance of women's participation.
On August 21, 2014, the Security Council held a debate on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security with a focus on conflict prevention. Refreshingly, many speakers referenced gender and the importance of women's participation and protection and similar language was found in the unanimously adopted SCR 2171 which was unanimously adopted as a result of this debate. It is critical moving forward that the Council members continue to make statements addressing WPS issues to strengthen political will and implementation of the WPS agenda.