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Statement by H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia at the UN Security Council Arria Formula meeting: What’s next for Women, Peace and Security in Middle East and North Africa: The Potential of National Action Plans

24.01.2019

Statement by H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia at the UN Security Council Arria Formula meeting: What’s next for Women, Peace and Security in Middle East and North Africa: The Potential of National Action Plans, New York, 24 January 2019

Mr. President,

Allow me to start by commending Germany, the United Kingdom and Peru for convening this meeting on a topic of such great importance. We thank the briefers for their remarks and steadfast commitment to this important issue. Estonia aligns itself with the statement (to be) delivered by the European Union.

Mr. President,
Empowerment of women and their inclusive engagement, as well as gender equality are necessary and indispensable building blocks for a peaceful society, being at the same time amongst the most crucial prerequisites for sustainable development. Sustainable peace is not possible without meaningful participation of women in all aspects of peace and security, not only as beneficiaries,  but also as leaders, partners and agents of change.

In some areas of the MENA region, the security situation still remains dire and inconsistent, especially for women. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 has evolved as one approach to address these security concerns. It acknowledges the disproportionate impacts of conflict on women and girls and calls explicitly for the inclusion of women in conflict management, conflict resolution, and sustainable peace processes. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to find more ways to accelerate the women, peace and security agenda, the changes in this regard have been far too slow so far.

The adoption of the National Action Plans is one way to accelerate the WPS agenda. Experience shows that the process of developing the NAP can be as important as the final product itself. Inclusive consultations should be the way: relevant state authorities, armed forces, civil society and religious organisations should have a say on this topic. Needless to say the dialogue cannot be amongst women alone, men and communities as a whole should step up for women’s inclusion and gender equality. Inclusive approch is by far the best way to build ownership and raise awareness on this topic.

Furthermore, studies have shown that genuine consultations on the NAP can contribute also to the maturation of civil society in the countries. In this regard Estonia commends the National Commission for Lebanese Women and their partners for their work on the first Lebanese NAP on UNSCR resolution 1325. When considering the important role women can play in the security agenda and protection of communities there probably is no better example than the brave women of Kurdistan region in Iraq.

Mr President,
The debate on women, peace and security issues in the MENA region is incomplete without mentioning the issue of refugee crisis. There are countries in the region hosting significant number of refugee communities, most of them women and children. Investment in the peace and security of the refugees is an investment in the stability, peace and security of the host country.

To conclude, let me underline that rather than elevating security and economic crises above  a Women, Peace and Security agenda, the case should be made that a WPS agenda enhances and complements current and future security and economic objectives. It is crucial that both men and women see the strong connection between implementation of the objectives of the resolution 1325 and long-term national security and economic development.


Thank you, Mr President

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