Statement on the 21st Anniversary of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security
As prepared for delivery by Chargé d’Affaires Courtney Austrian
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
October 21, 2021
Thank you, Madam Chair.
The United States welcomes the Chair’s strong focus on advancing gender equality and women, peace, and security at and through the OSCE, and we thank the Chair for her insightful remarks.
As we look to the 21st anniversary of the milestone UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace, and Security,” we are reminded that the OSCE, as a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, is well-placed to advance the WPS agenda based on our comprehensive approach to security. The participating States of the OSCE, starting with the 2004 Gender Equality Action Plan, have developed a broad framework of commitments on gender equality and on “women, peace, and security.”
Through the 2004 Gender Action plan, related commitments, and WPS-focused Extra Budgetary projects such as WIN for Women and Men, the OSCE is helping participating States deliver on WPS goals. The United States is a proud contributor to WPS activities in the “WIN for Women and Men” ExB project. Capacity building workshops such as the recent workshop for women peacebuilders in Ukraine demonstrate the concrete assistance and impact the OSCE can have with WPS. We welcome the focus on inclusive security and the role of women and civil society in conflict prevention and conflict resolution, which was the focus of the Chair’s recent workshop on the “conflict cycle.”
We welcome Uzbekistan’s request for OSCE support to develop its first WPS national action plan. Separately, the United States welcomes the September release of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine’s second thematic report on the gender dimensions of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, instigated and perpetuated by Russia. This report shows that conflict can and does affect genders differently and highlights the increased risk of conflict-related sexual violence experienced by women and girls.
As we look to the Stockholm Ministerial Council, we hope it will be possible to adopt decisions that build our commitments on gender equality and WPS. The United States was proud to be among the 52 participating States aligning with the joint statement at the Tirana Ministerial on implementing UNSCR 1325. We welcome Sweden’s focus on further strengthening our WPS commitments. We encourage participating States to stand strong in support of our existing commitments and to find common ground in addressing gaps.
Madam Chair, the United States is a global leader in advancing the WPS agenda both at home and abroad. Pursuant to the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, the U.S. government delivered a public report to Congress that evaluated the State Department’s progress in advancing the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security 2019 and 2020. The report was a data-driven monitoring, evaluation, and learning exercise on the State Department’s WPS efforts and demonstrated the State Department’s support for large numbers of women across the globe to build capacity for peace and reconciliation, including USOSCE support for OSCE capacity building workshops on national action plans. The State Department provided training for more than 43,000 women worldwide in security and criminal justice sectors.
Delegations at the OSCE have taken a range of efforts to improve gender equality. Informal arrangements among representatives of some participating States such as Women in the First Dimension, Men Engage, and the Network of Female Ambassadors are laudable initiatives demonstrating our resolve to improve the participation of women in peace and security efforts. We welcome the efforts of Women in the First Dimension to promote and increase women’s representation in the work of the Forum for Security Cooperation and its launch of a mentoring network for female professionals in the security dimension. We encourage all participating States to prioritize secondments of highly qualified female candidates for OSCE seconded positions, including at the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.
Finally, we appreciate the women and men working to advance comprehensive security in the OSCE area in an inclusive manner. We welcome the Secretary General’s commitment to ensuring a safe working environment through a zero-tolerance approach to sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace and encourage the Secretariat to hasten progress on updating Staff Rules and Regulations to put this into practice.
Thank you, Madam Chair.