Joint FSC-PC Statement on UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security
As delivered by Ambassador James S. Gilmore III
to the Permanent Council and Forum for Security Cooperation, Vienna
May 20, 2020
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The United States warmly welcomes Albania’s minister of defense, Ukraine’s deputy minister of interior, and the Chairmanship’s special representative on gender issues, to the OSCE’s joint Forum for Security Cooperation and Permanent Council, under the aegis of the Ukrainian and Albanian Chairmanships, respectively.
Today’s topic, “Women, Peace and Security,” is timely, not only because we are marking the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, but also because the empowerment, meaningful inclusion and participation of women as well as ensuring the safety and protection of women and girls are essential to comprehensive security. Your statements have given us ample material for reflection and further action to advance the empowerment and full participation of women.
Twenty years ago, the UN Security Council affirmed that peace and security are more sustainable when women are fully invested in all aspects of the conflict cycle, from early warning to prevention, crisis management, resolution, and post-conflict rehabilitation. In 2004 the OSCE’s Ministerial Council adopted an action plan, referencing Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, that tasked the participating States with promoting the role of women in conflict prevention and peace reconstruction processes. Since then, the Security Council has adopted nine additional resolutions to promote women’s inclusion and meaningful participation in decision-making throughout the conflict cycle, as well as ensuring the safety and protection of women and girls from gender-based violence.
Despite progress in implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the subsequent set of additional resolutions, as well as advances in upholding OSCE commitments, much work remains to be done. The recent OSCE study on implementing the women, peace and security agenda reports that 60 percent of participating States have national action plans. While that is certainly welcome progress, this also means that twenty years after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, 40 percent of the participating States still have important work to do.
We must redouble not only our resolve but also our efforts to ensure gender equality and women’s inclusion in all aspects of our peace and security agenda. The OSCE Secretariat and Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights have developed an impressive array of tools to help participating States uphold their commitments. ODIHR’s Gender and Security Sector Reform, the Secretariat’s Handbook on Gender in Military Operations, its newest toolkit on the Inclusion of Women in Effective Peace Processes, and OSCE mentoring networks are just a few such tools. Yet we still have more work to do.
The work of the OSCE is most effective when it is guided by the example and political will of the participating States. It is incumbent upon each of our countries to promote gender equality in peace and security fields at home and in our various bilateral and multilateral relationships. For our part, the United States Congress passed the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 establishing the United States as the first country in the world with comprehensive legislation on WPS and ensuring our nation’s efforts to promote women’s meaningful participation in security processes around the world have the full force of law. The Trump Administration published the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace and Security in June 2019. This whole of government approach is consistent with the core tenants of the National Security Strategy of the United States which recognizes women as agents of positive and durable change to prevent and resolve conflict, counter terrorism and violent extremism, and establish post-conflict peace and stability. The Strategy seeks to increase women’s meaningful participation in decision-making processes related to conflict and crises and to promote the protection of women and girls’ human rights.
Within the U.S. Department of Defense, since 1951 the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services has submitted annual reports with advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Defense on the recruitment, retention, employment, integration, well-being, and treatment of servicewomen in the Armed Forces. Of the over 1,000 recommendations, approximately 98 percent have been either fully or partially adopted.
The current Commander of U.S. Navy Sixth Fleet is Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti. Although she was unable to serve on combat ships when she first joined the U.S. Navy 35 years ago, with increased opportunities for women, she is now a fleet commander, responsible for all U.S. Naval forces in Europe. Vice Admiral Franchetti noted: “Every day I wake up and I think about all the opportunities that we have in America, and I want to make sure that we always have those opportunities. That’s the motivation to serve my country.”
Mr. Chair, informal arrangements at the OSCE such as Women in the First Dimension, Men Engage, and the Network of Female Ambassadors are laudable initiatives demonstrating the resolve to improve the participation of women in peace and security efforts. We welcome the efforts of Women in the First Dimension to ensure equal representation in the work of the Forum for Security Cooperation and launch a mentoring network for female professionals in the security dimension.
We look forward to commemorating the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and taking stock of our progress on this front. We also look forward to incorporating the outcomes of the Gender Equality Review Conference to advance the OSCE’s essential work on Women Peace and Security over the next 20 years.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I request that this statement be attached to the Journal of the Day.