Statement by the Group of Friends of the African Women Leaders Network to the UN, delivered by Ambassador Antje Leendertse as AWLN Co-Chair, in the UNSC Open Debate on the Role of Regional Organizations in Implementing Women, Peace, and Security on 15 June 2022
I am pleased to speak on behalf of the Group of Friends of the African Women Leaders Network to the United Nations co-chaired by South Africa and Germany. We wish to congratulate Albania on assuming the Presidency of the UN Security Council for the Month of June and thank the President of the Council for convening this Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security with a focus on “the Role of Regional Organizations in Implementing Women, Peace, and Security.” The theme of the Open Debate is timely, given the focus by all of us on implementing the WPS Agenda following its ten resolutions, which represent a robust normative framework on which we can base our actions.
We also thank the briefers for their insightful remarks. In the context of this morning’s discussion, the Group wishes to highlight the following five Points:
First, we strongly urge that the Council, in its work, deepen its efforts towards the full implementation of all global commitments on Women, Peace, and Security, including the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in all aspects, at all levels and the outset of peace and security processes.
Secondly, to ensure strong implementation, the WPS agenda requires strong partnerships between the UN Security Council, the Peacebuilding Commission through its advisory and convening role, and regional and sub-regional organizations, including their regional financial institutions, to support women’s organizations and peacebuilding initiatives. We urge all these actors and partners of the UN System to continue to support local ownership of peacebuilding efforts, as well as national and regional action plans, frameworks, and mechanisms already in place.
Third, the Group is pleased to inform this Council that so far, the AWLN has established 29 National Chapters across all five regions in Africa. While there is much work to be done, we are pleased that through the African Union’s regional and sub-regional organisations, such as ECOWAS, IGAD, Mano River Region, SADC, and ECCAS, which have their regional mechanisms and regional action plans, have been able to support the acceleration of WPS commitments in Africa.
The second Africa Forum on Women, Peace, and Security, which took place in December 2021, underscored the need to enhance the monitoring and evaluation of continental frameworks and mechanisms.
We take this opportunity to echo calls made by the UN Peacebuilding Commission that Member States should ensure adequate, predictable, sustainable, and flexible funding for peacebuilding which often supports the implementation of the WPS agenda by regional organisations.
Fourth, the Group reaffirms its full support to the United Nations and the African Union. They have innovatively operationalized Resolution 1325 and its follow-up resolutions by working locally and regionally, focusing on local-level initiatives through the AWLN National Chapters and conducting high-level fact-finding missions, and amplifying the voices of women and girls silenced by the consequences of conflicts.
For example, in 2020 and 2021, the Network held virtual solidarity missions to Mali and Mozambique, highlighting and responding to challenges presented to women and girls in political transitions and by violent extremism, respectively.
Finally, the Group commends all regional and sub-regional organisations around the world for working to close the remaining gaps posing a challenge to fully implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and all its subsequent resolutions. We also urge enhanced coordination between them, including deepened cooperation with the UN.
In doing this, it would be remiss of the Group not to underscore the importance of continuously shining a light not only on the plight of women, including civil society and peacebuilders around the world but on their constructive and essential contributions to gender equality in political governance, decision-making, and security sector reform as well as in their private life. We have also learned from their experiences and share best practices on the most pressing challenges disproportionally affecting women, including responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.