Statement delivered by Italy at the Security Council meeting in Arria Formula on ‘Call to Lead by Example: Ensuring the Full, Equal and Meaningful Participation of Women in UN-led Peace Processes’ on the occasion of International Women’s Day —
We congratulate Ireland, Mexico and the other cosponsors for convening this Arria meeting on the day we celebrate women’s rights and achievements and advocate for their further development.
We align ourselves with the statements delivered by the Representative of the European Union and by Canada on behalf the GoF of WPS, and would like to add a few remarks from our national perspective.
Indeed, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, we have to face the persistent underrepresentation of women in peace processes. The last updates from the UN Secretary-General do not leave any room for interpretation: more than twenty years from the adoption of landmark Resolution 1325, women continue to be left out, despite some notable exceptions, of the mediation and negotiating scenes. Furthermore, few peace agreements include gender-relevant provisions or protect women’s fundamental rights.
As the SG often points out, gender equality is first and foremost a question of power, and wherever we look, power structures are dominated by men. Decisions about international peace and security are still overwhelmingly made by men, which is at odds with women’s meaningful contribution to conflict resolution and with their positive influence on the outcome of peace talks.
We must not underestimate some encouraging signs, thanks to the impulse of the Secretary General to step up the pace on the WPS Agenda and to the DPPA’s new policy on WPS, which aims at mainstreaming the Agenda in all fields of action.
Building on the experience of the peace process in Colombia, we saw positive signs in Libya, with the participation of Libyan women in the Political Dialogue Forum, thanks to the tireless work of Stephanie Williams; in Somalia, where the UN Mission engaged women in the constitutional review process and encouraged their representation in federal elections.
The International Community must collectively support these efforts, and make sure that these positive signs translate into actual and lond-standing participation. The briefing of our valuable peacebuilder from Yemen was truly enlightening in this regard. Last Tuesday, we also heard the call by members of the Syrian civil society for women to be included in the constitutional process, and we support the UN’s efforts to that end.
As Member States, we have the responsibility, alongside the United Nations, to advance the full and effective participation of women in mediation and peace processes. Italy is doing its part: in October 2017, we promoted the launch of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network, which, last year, joined the Global Alliance of the Regional Women Mediator Networks. Women’s empowerment is a cross-cutting theme in the Agenda of our Presidency of the G20, and a priority of our current mandate in the Human Rights Council.
Building on the legacy of the twentieth anniversary of Resolution 1325 and fully implementing the WPS Agenda is going to be a long and winding road, but it is of the utmost importance that we proceed in this itinerary with conviction and determination.
I thank you.