NATO Statement at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security

NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, Ms. Clare Hutchinson

  • 29 Oct. 2020 -
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  • Last updated: 03 Nov. 2020 09:56

Mr. President,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address the Security Council on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

Two decades ago, this Council made clear its commitment to addressing the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and girls.  Today, the adoption of UNSCR 1325 has provided the baseline for the expanding recognition of the nexus between security and women’s empowerment.

Resolution 1325 demonstrated that women can act as catalysts for peace and security. They play a prominent role in the prevention and resolution of conflict, and in the restoration of the rule of law, governance and democracy.

Women serve as the mediators of disputes; hold families together in times of conflict; identify and manage resources when there are few, and in many cases defend and protect often at great personal risk.

From the violence against women in Kandahar, the rape of women in Foca, to the trafficking of women from Sinjar, women’s bodies carry the scars of violence and the wounds of loss. But women are resilient.

Mr. President,

NATO’s commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda is firm. Over the last twenty years the Alliance’s understanding of the importance of the Women, Peace and Security agenda has evolved and expanded.

Early on we recognised the value of deploying women to operations and missions. This has helped with force protection and situational awareness for our troops and provided a foundation for increased recognition of gender parity as an operational enhancer.

However, twenty years later we know that the efficacy of Women, Peace and Security is not based on numbers alone. To advance gender equality, we have learned that we must be vigilant in promoting the integration of gender perspectives into all our functions. The Alliance now integrates gender perspectives across its core tasks, including not only missions and operations but in the development of defence capabilities, early warning indicators, countering terrorism and addressing emerging security challenges like the security implications of climate change and those in the cyber domain. 

We know that our vision of security must be anchored to the inclusion of women, the adoption of a gender perspective in all activities, and in upholding the highest standards of behavior.  NATO’s policy on preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse was agreed last year by our North Atlantic Council, making clear our zero-tolerance approach.

Mr. President,

Much has been done to advance the Women, Peace and Security agenda. But much more is left to do. As we face new security challenges, applying a gender lens and unpacking data related to who is affected and how will support more successful outcomes.

We must do this together. We must ensure that Women, Peace and Security continues to play a part in all areas of security and that women are positioned to speak to their collective empowerment.

As we forge a path beyond the 20th anniversary, NATO will do its part to embolden the Women, Peace and Security agenda and continue to build on and strengthen its application well into the future.

Thank you.