May 23, 2024

Statement by Ms. Rona-Marie Panteli – Women’s Participation in International Peace and Security: From Theory to Practice

United Nations Security Council Open Debate “Women’s Participation in International Peace and Security: From Theory to Practice”rona-women

 25 October 2023


Madame/Mr. President.

First, allow me to thank you for organizing this very important debate today, and express our appreciation to all the briefers for their insightful presentations and recommendations. My statement will be complementing that of the European Union, to which Cyprus fully subscribes.

23 years have elapsed since the unanimous adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325. This was a historic moment, taking into consideration that this breakthrough Resolution affirmed the importance of gender perspectives in peace negotiations, peacekeeping operations, peacebuilding and post conflict governance.

Two years before the milestone 25th anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 1325, it is crucial to assess what we have achieved, but mostly where we need to be by 2025.  Women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation in peace processes and decision-making structures should not be just an aspiration but a pre-requisite for sustainable peace.

Since 2000, important progress has been achieved in the Women, Peace and Security agenda. However, the sad reality is that we are now witnessing major pushbacks against women’s and girls’ rights across the world.  The more women and girls are coming in the spotlight because of the WPS agenda, the number of attacks and reprisals against them is in the rise.

We must ensure that participation of women in Women, Peace and Security agenda is, not only full, equal, and meaningful, but also safe. It is our common responsibility to ensure zero tolerance to any form of attack, intimidation or reprisal against women and girls for their participation in political life, their work on human rights and humanitarian affairs, their peacebuilding activities, as well as their cooperation with the UN Mechanisms.

In this regard, Cyprus notes with concerns that as recorded in the latest Report of the United Nations Secretary General on Women, Peace and Security, widespread attacks against women human rights defenders in conflict-affected settings still continues.

It is Cyprus’ firm belief that civil society organisations serve the cause of peace, security and prosperity at local, national and international level. In the face of unprecedented challenges around the world, it is our common responsibility to ensure that women and women-led grass root organisations have the funding and operational capacities to participate in the full spectrum of the Women Peace and Security agenda.

For this reason, Cyprus has responded to the call of the United Nation’s Secretary General and will voluntarily contribute to the United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund-Invest in Women Campaign, for the period 2023-2025, with the aim to support women’s organizations and human rights defenders in crisis situations.

Undeniably, women and girls pay the highest price in conflict situations. Global repercussions, including the gendered- dimensions of the impact of climate related risks on peace and security and the gender gap in food security are not an exception. These challenges are gravely impacting the most vulnerable.

Cyprus believes that women and girl’s role in building peace, stability in post conflict situations and peace processes goes beyond the issue of gender equality.  Their participation is catalytic to the efforts to achieve lasting peace and prosperous societies. Ensuring inclusive implementation of peace agreements is a since qua non to overcome the fragility of these situations.

Mr. President,

Women, peace and security agenda is, most probably, the most recognisable agenda of the Security Council. Not just because it acknowledges the role of women, but because it proved that there is no peace without women. It is, therefore, our collective responsibility to enhance our efforts in achieving the full implementation of Resolution 1325 and to adopt gender sensitive approaches to create a more peaceful and prosperous world for all.

Now is the moment to translate our commitment to action.

I thank you.