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Statement by H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia on behalf of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at the UN Security Council open debate on Women and peace and security New York, 25 October 2018

25.10.2018

Mr. President,

I have the honour to address the Security Council on behalf of Latvia, Lithuania and my own country Estonia. Allow me to start by commending the Bolivian Presidency of the Security Council for the month of October for convening this open debate. We thank the briefers for their remarks and steadfast commitment to this important issue.
Our delegations align themselves with the statement made on behalf of the European Union.

Mr. President,

Empowerment of women and their inclusive engagement, as well as gender equality are a necessary foundation for a peaceful and sustainable society. We commend the Secretary-General for his dedication to further advance the women, peace and security agenda.

Having in mind a broad scope and cross-cutting nature of this agenda, allow me to focus on priority aspects for the Baltic countries.

Mr. President,

The Baltic countries emphasize the need for a full and effective participation of women at all stages and all levels of conflict prevention and resolution as well as peacebuilding. It is of utmost importance to have strong focus on prevention. We stand fully behind the recommendation stressed by the Secretary General that the early warning signs of human rights violations, unfortunately very often towards women and girls, must be given due consideration, when monitoring conflict situations. If we fail to act early, the human, political and economic costs can be devastating. Therefore, more alert, coordinated and comprehensive approach by Member States and the UN System, is essential.

Sexual and gender-based violence is a principal obstacle to inclusive and durable peace.  Moreover, considering the link between  the international arms trade and gender-based violence, it is crucial to take meaningful steps, including effective investigation and prosecution, in order to terminate impunity.

We would like to emphasize the importance of ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making and in political, economic and public life as universally recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - which as such is welcomed also by the Security Council resolution 2242.

Sustainable peace is not possible without meaningful participation of women in all aspects of peace and security, not only as beneficiaries of the processes but as leaders, partners and agents of change.  Women`s participation in peace processes leads to a 35% increase in an agreement likely to last 15 years. Thereby it is even more important to address the root causes of women`s low participation in the prevention and resolving of conflicts.

We also need to pay particular attention to the needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations, including physical security, health services including reproductive and mental health, as well as to ensure their livelihoods and their participation in decision-making and post-conflict planning.

Mr. President,

Peacekeeping operations and uniformed personnel remain the most visible representatives of the United Nations, directly working with communities each day. Our countries - Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia - support Secretary General’s efforts in the reform process and continuation of the work of gender advisers and experts both in the headquarters and more importantly in the field. We commend also the work of the Security Council in mainstreaming the gender aspects in the mandates of the UN peacekeeping missions. We continue to contribute to the UN peace operations, striving to ensure gender parity in peacekeeping troops by encouraging female military and police personnel to apply. Training is crucial to raise awareness and improve implementation of gender aspects in peace operations. Before their deployment, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian peacekeepers undertake high quality training on human rights and gender related issues, including eradication of sexual exploitation and abuse, prevention of and response to conflict-related sexual violence.

Mr. President,

While recognizing that States bear the primary responsibility to respect and ensure the enjoyment of all human rights by all persons within their territory as provided for by international law, the scale and complexity of the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda requires coherent and comprehensive efforts. In this respect, the pivotal role of civil society, including women’s organizations, should be fully recognized. We are pleased that women civil society representatives now regularly brief the Security Council during country-specific meetings. This useful practice should be continued, more briefings we have on the potential conflict zones, more effective we can be in our actions in order  to prevent the outbreak of the conflict.

In conclusion, Mr. President, we are convinced that time is ripe to fasten the advancement of women, peace and security agenda in the remaining months leading up to the 20th anniversary of the resolution 1325 and to the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. 

I thank you.

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