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António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) on Women, Peace and Security - Security Council Open VTC
29 Oct 2020 -  Opening remarks by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations on Women, Peace and Security, during the Security Council Open VTC.
"(...) Twenty years since resolution 1325, there have been important changes to the ways in which the United Nations works on international peace and security, the resources we invest, and the expertise we deploy.
The women’s movement and its allies in governments and international institutions have changed discriminatory laws, reached milestones in political representation and international jurisprudence, and made a difference in peace processes.
But gender equality is first and foremost a question of power, and wherever we look, power structures are dominated by men.
Women lead only seven per cent of countries.
Three-quarters of the members of COVID-19 task forces and committees are men.
Decisions about international peace and security are still overwhelmingly made by men.
Even as we improve the representation of women in UN mediation teams, they remain largely excluded from delegations to peace talks and negotiations.
Let’s take some recent examples. Are women fairly represented in the rooms where the future of Afghanistan is being discussed between the Taliban and the government? Or in Mali, as it embarks on a political transition?
Is Sudan on track to meet the 40 per cent quota for women’s representation in parliament, set out in the new Constitutional Declaration?
Will South Sudan meet the 35 per cent quota for women’s representation across the executive arm, included in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution to the Conflict?
Are political actors and conflict parties in Yemen including women at the negotiating table?
If the answer to these questions is no, then clearly, we face serious obstacles in the task before us.
Women’s meaningful and effective participation in mediation matters. It broadens the prospects for peace, stability, social cohesion and economic advancement.
Ensuring that women play their full part in peace processes also requires stronger partnerships between the United Nations, regional organizations, Member States and civil society.
We must use the full range of tools at our disposal, and find innovative solutions that have a rapid and decisive impact on women’s representation.
Temporary special measures including quotas can make a huge difference. I witnessed this myself as a politician in my own country.
And it is time that we, the United Nations and Member States, consider how we can best use our political influence, funding and support to incentivize and create conditions for women’s equal representation and participation in peace talks.
Women must be included as a priority from the outset.
And as peace processes move online during the pandemic, efforts to promote women’s participation must keep pace (...)" - António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations [Excerpt].
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