Low number of women peacekeepers “crippling” UN credibility


Notwithstanding greater participation of women in building and sustaining peace and recognition of the value they bring, realities on the ground show more remains to be done, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council members.

“Every year we make laudable commitments,” he said the Council’s annual high-level debate on women and peace and security.
“They are not backed with the requisite financial and political support,” he added, noting lack of inclusion in mediation efforts and limited space for women to participate as peacebuilders.

He said it was “crippling to our credibility and protection capacity that women represent only four percent of our military peacekeepers and 10% of police.” The UN, he said “fully supports innovative efforts launched by member states this year to incentivise greater representation”.

Women’s organisations overall are not provided with adequate funding while resources for empowerment programmes are constrained, according to the UN chief.

In his briefing Guterres outlined key action points he will prioritise in the coming months, beginning with a commitment to ensure gender parity as well as stamping out all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse within the world body.

He will continue to push for greater and more meaningful participation of women in mediation efforts, as well as for a gendered approach to peace and security.

This meant “supporting peacebuilding at local level, even during conflict. We must consistently support local women’s groups that negotiate humanitarian access and support community resilience; learn from them and build peace from the ground up”.

Ensuring full financing for these and other measures is vital, added the Secretary-General, noting he has set up a task force to review UN funding for gender equality, including the peace and security pillar.
“From now on, I will include gender analysis in my reports to this Council whenever it is relevant to inform your decisions,” he said.

Also speaking at the Security Council debate, South Africa’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the head of UN Women, the world body’s main gender equality and women’s empowerment agency, briefed on the Guterres report on women and peace and security.

Stating the report was a “loud alarm bell” on systemic failures preventing women’s full involvement in peace making, she called on UN member states to ensure “genuine” efforts to include more women. “Our continued tolerance for the limited recognition of women’s expertise and lived experience is shameful.”

The 20th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 in 2020 will be an opportunity to shape the agenda for the next decade with new commitments and priorities, she continued, calling on all to participate and contribute to lasting change.

Adopted in 2000 resolution 1325 reaffirmed the critical role of women in prevention and resolution of conflicts, including peacebuilding, peacekeeping and humanitarian response. It also stressed the importance of equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.