Statement by H.E. Ms. Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, at the Open Debate of the Security Council on Women, Peace and Security
Germany aligns itself with the statements delivered by the European Union and by Canada on behalf of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security.
First of all, let me thank France for presiding over this open debate and for putting a renewed focus on the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. I would like to thank the Deputy Secretary-General and the Executive Director of UN Women for their insightful briefings. Thank you to Ms. Mina-Rojas for speaking about the participation of women in the Colombian peace process. We also appreciate that Ms. Jean has provided a very practical example of women’s leadership at the helm of a major international organization.
This debate places a much welcome focus on concrete actions and commitments. I would like to put forward four specific ideas on how we can step up implementation of the 1325 agenda:
1) First, we need to support practical initiatives to transform the rhetoric about women’s participation in peace processes into action.
Germany has decided to back the African Union in developing a network of African Women Leaders which provides women leaders from across the continent with a platform to exchange their experiences. The network was launched in June here in New York and is already producing results. Its next meeting will take place in Addis next spring.
Germany fully backs an initiative led by Ghana and the African Union to found a Group of Friends of the African Women Leaders network here in New York. The network needs our political support, and the group can play an important role in that regard.
We also welcome that, under the leadership of the Deputy Secretary-General and the AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, several women leaders conducted their first joint AU-UN “solidarity mission” to Nigeria and the DRC this summer. We hope that more such “solidarity missions” will follow in the future.
2) Second, we need to continue the international discussion on the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda between the annual open debates.
Spain has founded a network of capital-level focal points on Women, Peace and Security, and it is encouraging to see that more than 60 countries from all regions have appointed focal points. Germany will take over the chairmanship of the network in 2018, followed by Namibia in 2019, and we will host its next meeting in Berlin next spring. We hope that many delegations will be able to send a focal point to Berlin and use this opportunity to continue today’s discussion.
Here in New York, the Informal Expert Group of the Security Council has become an indispensable tool in keeping the Council’s attention on Women, Peace and Security between the open debates. It has looked at four specific situations in 2017 already. We commend Sweden, Uruguay and the UK for their work in leading this group and encourage the group to continue its approach of looking at individual situations more than once, thereby following up on implementation.
3) Third, we can do better in linking up the implementation of the Security Council’s agenda on Women, Peace and Security with other agendas – most importantly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, but also the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
This year, Germany has adopted its second-generation National Action Plan for the 2017-2020 period, and we have tried to emphasize some of these interlinkages. For instance, in line with CEDAW general recommendation No. 30, our new Action Plan has further strengthened the qualitative involvement of civil society organizations. Civil society representatives have strongly contributed to our second Action Plan and we have created new consultation mechanisms for our engagement with civil society.
4) Finally, we need to take specific action to prioritize the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security in UN peacekeeping.
Peacekeeping missions need to have the necessary human rights and gender expertise. Having gender expertise integrated into all mission components is not only nice to have. It is at the core of mandate implementation, at the core of lasting peace and security.
We welcome the UNSG’s initiative to launch a UN Senior Women Talent Pipeline. But we as Member States must also do more to inform, motivate and nominate women for peacekeeping missions. Germany recently awarded 5 female peacekeepers for their outstanding service in peace operations – their contributions to the success of these missions are essential, whether as Captain of the German Frigate training Lebanese Armed Forces in UNIFIL, as Military Officer overseeing reconnaissance in MINUSMA or as Human Resource Officer in UNVMC.
We also provide gender-sensitive and gender-specific training to third countries, for instance at at the Kofi Annan Center in Accra, and support UN Police in their work to implement Resolution 1325.
The Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security agenda remains a priority for Germany in the UN. You can count on Germany’s support in putting the rhetoric on Women, Peace and Security into action.
Thank you, Mr. President.