Women, Peace and Security
The head of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, will brief Council members on women’s participation in peace negotiations and peace agreements. Bachelet is expected to focus her briefing on two to three country-specific situations, rather than at a thematic level. This will be the first briefing by Bachelet since UN Women became operational in January.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallström will separately brief Council members. Wallström is likely to focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including issues in the west, as well as east of the country. Wallström is also expected to brief the DRC Sanctions Committee.
At press time no decision had been made on the format of the briefings.
Key Recent Developments
On 26 October 2010 the Council held an open debate on women, peace and security. The Council issued a presidential statement at this debate welcoming the establishment of UN Women and inviting UN Women to regularly contribute to the Council’s work. The debate was held on the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325.
On 16 December the Council adopted resolution 1960 that established a monitoring, analysis and reporting mechanism on conflict-related sexual violence in situations on the Council’s agenda. The resolution invited Wallström to brief the Council on sexual violence.
On 18 February Council members met in informal consultations to discuss the spectrum of protection issues including civilians in general, women and children. The goal was to promote a more coherent Council approach and mutually supportive Secretariat actions on all three protection issues.
Subsequently, several Council members, including Portugal, have been pushing for the Council to consider the issue of women, peace and security more than once a year and to increasingly focus on specific situations on the Council’s agenda, rather than only thematically. Council members anticipate that Bachelet’s April briefing will focus on the political rather than technical level.
Council members seem receptive to a briefing from Bachelet. They seem to be anticipating that she will offer a different perspective on situations from that which the Council receives in briefings from the departments of peacekeeping and political affairs. In particular, Council members seem interested in Bachelet’s views on women’s participation in peace processes in countries that she has recently visited, such as Liberia.
Some members had initially suggested that Bachelet’s briefing be combined with the next scheduled briefings from the departments of peacekeeping or political affairs. However, others felt it important that Bachelet brief alone and this view seems to have prevailed.
The US, which leads on sexual violence in conflict, seems to have agreed that if Bachelet were to brief, Wallström should as well, thus maintaining the parallel tracks that have emerged in the Council’s practice.
Selected Council Resolutions