Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security: “Promoting the implementation of the women, Peace and Security Agenda and Sustaining Peace through Women’s Political and Economic Empowerment”

New York, 25 October 2018

Mr. President,

I would like to thank you for conveying today’s open debate.

This statement is fully aligned with the one already delivered by the European Union.

As we approach the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 1325, the gap between commitment and implementation remains particularly significant in matters related to the economic, political and social empowerment of women. Despite the accountability tool created by the aforementioned Resolution, the latest Secretary General’s Report on Women and Peace and Security leaves no room for doubt: (and I quote) “we continue to witness devastating failures to respect international human rights and humanitarian law across conflicts, particularly with regard to grave violations of women’s human rights” (end of quote).

Portugal therefore calls upon all Member States to implement the Security Council Resolution 1325, in a more effective and efficient way. Like many others, we believe there is a connection between gender equality and prevention of conflict. Empowering women should be regarded as a fundamental part of any peacebuilding process.

In that sense, Portugal seeks to consolidate its policies in the promotion of women’s rights and combating all forms of violence against women.

In this regard, allow me to briefly mention a couple of examples:
- exchanges and dissemination of experiences of officers deployed in peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions;
- training on gender equality and violence against women and girls – including sexual and gender violence and human trafficking – for officials in the justice sector, the armed forces and the security forces;
- a total of 81 Portuguese women in UN and EU and bilateral and regional cooperation mission.

Mr. President, the 2030 Agenda, namely SDGs 4, 5 and 16, is extremely relevant to consolidate the role of women in peacekeeping and peacebuilding processes. A better articulation between the 2030 Agenda and the Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security would allow for a more considerable investment in education in conflict situations.

Portugal has continuously promoted the respect for the right to education, including higher education, in situation of humanitarian emergencies. A global and coordinated approach for the promotion of higher education in emergencies can allow a timely preparation of a new generation of leaders, able to rebuild the countries and societies shattered by war and breaking the cycle of violence.

In this context, let me mention the Global Platform for Syrian Students, a non-profit organization founded in November.

Mr. President,

Allow me to call on all Member States to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration. 81 States, including Portugal, have joined this Declaration, promoted by Norway and Argentina in 2015, highlighting the importance of protecting access to safe education for women and girls living in conflict.

As I conclude my intervention I wish to make a special reference to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege, as symbols in the denunciation of sexual violence against women and its use as warfare. The 2018 Nobel Prize acknowledges the unequal consequences that armed conflicts infringe upon women, particularly vulnerable to sexual crimes, trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Countering such violence is a priority for Portugal, in our internal policies as well as in our internal action.

I thank you.

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