Women, Peace and Security
Expected Council Action
In October, the Security Council will hold its annual debate on women, peace and security and the Secretary-General’s annual report, due on 1 October.
France, as president of the Council in October, is expected to circulate a concept note ahead of the debate. At press time, a resolution was a possible outcome.
Key Recent Developments
The Council has continued to work towards implementation, to varying degrees, of the recommendations of the three UN peace and security reviews conducted in 2014-2015 on peace operations, peacebuilding, and implementation of resolution 1325. All three reviews underlined the need to increase and enhance the participation of women in peace and security decision-making. Resolution 2242, adopted on 13 October 2015, included practical actions to improve the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda in several areas.
Thus far in 2017, the 2242 Informal Expert Group (IEG) on Women, Peace and Security, established after the adoption of resolution 2242, has held meetings on the Lake Chad Basin (27 February), Yemen (23 March), Mali (4 May), and Iraq (14 June), with the next meeting expected to be on the Central African Republic. The meetings on the Lake Chad Basin and Yemen were the first 2242 Group meetings on those situations, with the others constituting the 2242 Group’s third meeting on the respective situations since its establishment. The UK is the P5 co-chair of the 2242 Group, along with elected members Sweden and Uruguay. A summary of every 2242 Group meeting is sent from the co-chairs to the Secretary-General as a document of the Security Council.
In line with resolution 2242—which expressed the Council’s intention to invite civil society, including women’s organisations, to brief the Council on country-specific situations—civil society representatives from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, and the Lake Chad Basin have briefed the Council during country-specific briefings thus far in 2017. This is in stark contrast to only one such briefing in 2016.
Relevant developments this year regarding mandates of peace operations include the renewal of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan through resolution 2344 where most of the language on women’s rights and participation was removed. By contrast, in resolutions renewing mandates of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (resolution 2351), the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (resolution 2352) and the AU Mission in Somalia (resolution 2372), new language was added on the importance of women’s participation.
Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed briefed the Council on 10 August, following her 19-27 July joint visit to the DRC and Nigeria with the AU Commission Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security Bineta Diop, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten. Mohammed described the trip as the first of its kind—a high-level mission focused entirely on women, peace, security and development—with the goal of promoting peace by advancing the equality, empowerment and well-being of women.
The ownership of the “pen” on the women, peace and security agenda within the Council has not been shared with an elected member and remains with the UK, and with the US in relation to conflict-related sexual violence. However, the inclusion of Sweden and Uruguay as co-chairs of the 2242 Group has helped to expand elected members’ voices in the shaping of the women, peace and security agenda in the Council.
Key Issue and Options
The key issue for the Council is how it will continue to take forward actionable recommendations from the 2015 peace and security reviews to achieve fuller implementation of the women, peace and security agenda in its own work—in particular, how gender is incorporated into the mandates of peace operations and how gender issues are reported to the Council.
During the open debate, some Council members could focus on different aspects of implementation of previous decisions and how to achieve:
- regularly inviting the head of UN Women to brief, in particular when considering a mandate to support post-conflict structures that should ensure broad participation and decision-making by women;
- inviting women’s civil society representatives to brief at country-specific meetings;
- ensuring that the women, peace and security agenda is integrated into the Council’s thematic work on counter-terrorism;
- improving the quality of gender analysis by calling for gender expertise in all UN-led commissions of inquiry, transitional justice mechanisms, mediation processes and peace operations; and
- expanding the designation criteria in relevant sanctions regimes where sexual and gender-based crimes and specific attacks against women are persistently perpetrated.
Familiar divisions in the Council emerged during the negotiations on resolution 2242 in October 2015, and in subsequent negotiations in 2016 on Council outcomes on human trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse, and on women’s role in conflict prevention in Africa. China and Russia have typically resisted many elements that they interpreted as an expansion of the women, peace and security agenda, or perceived as infringing on state sovereignty or the competencies of other parts of the UN system. In this context, some Council members may be wary of whether a new resolution is necessary, given the adoption of resolution 2242, and whether it could potentially lead to another acrimonious round of negotiations.
Most Council members view this October’s open debate as an opportunity to reflect on the advances and challenges that have emerged since the adoption of resolution 2242 and to advocate ways to consolidate gains.
UN Documents on Women, Peace and Security
|Security Council Resolution|
|13 October 2015 S/RES/2242||The was a resolution that addressed women’s roles in countering violent extremism and terrorism, improving the Council’s own working methods in relation to women, peace and security and taking up gender recommendations made by the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and the Global Study.|
|29 September 2016 S/2016/822||This was the report of the Secretary-General on women and peace and security.|
|Security Council Letters|
|18 July 2017 S/2017/624||This was a summary of the 2242 Informal Expert Group on Women and Peace and Security meetings.|
|18 July 2017 S/2017/625||This was a summary of the 2242 Informal Expert Group on Women and Peace and Security meetings.|
|18 July 2017 S/2017/626||This was a summary of the 2242 Informal Expert Group on Women and Peace and Security meetings.|
|18 July 2017 S/2017/627||This was a summary of the 2242 Informal Expert Group on Women and Peace and Security meetings.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|10 August 2017 S/PV.8022||This was a briefing by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed following her 19-27 July joint visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Nigeria with Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security Bineta Diop, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten. Ambassador Téte António, Permanent Observer for the African Union, also briefed.|
|25 October 2016 S/PV.7793||The Secretary-General and the head of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, briefed the Council at the annual open debate on women, peace and security where member states considered the Secretary-General’s latest report on the issue.|