Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to open our discussion on how to make practical progress on a topic that is crucial for peaceful and stable societies. Numerous studies have shown: Conflicts are more successfully prevented when women are involved. Prospects of peace processes are better. In fact, women’s participation is not just a matter of gender equality; it is a pre-requisite of peace. There is no peace without women!
And while this message seems simple, it is still being put into question all too often. It re-quires resolve and, most importantly, strong alliances to firmly anchor the WPS agenda in the work of the Security Council.
That is why I am delighted to co-host this event together with my Namibian colleague, as future chair of this network, and my colleague from Spain.
Since its inception, Germany has been an active supporter of the "Women, Peace and Se-curity" agenda. As member of the Security Council in the coming two years, Germany will continue to work towards the full implementation of the "Women, Peace and Security" Agenda.
We will build on the remarkable achievements of previous elected members, notably our Swedish friends. I warmly welcome the Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, as well as the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women and Ms. Wa-zhma Frogh, Member of the Afghanistan High Peace Council, who will be our distin-guished panellists today.
During our term on the Security Council, we will continue to raise the matter of the protec-tion of women and the participation of women in political processes in Security Council discussions.
Secondly, we will strive to make optimal use of the Security Council’s informal body on Women, Peace and Security, the so-called informal expert group. It has a crucial role in looking at specific country situations and providing recommendations. I am very pleased that Germany will join Peru as co-chair in 2019.
Thirdly, we will continue to focus on sexual violence – an atrocity that women face in every conflict, anywhere in the world! The use of sexual violence against the Rohingya is a re-cent and particularly outrageous example. Progress is badly needed. We must redouble our efforts to end a culture of impunity on conflict-related sexual violence.
We welcome and encourage efforts by international tribunals to take up investigations and bring charges related to sexual violence in conflict. Germany believes that the Security Council should impose sanctions more frequently on those responsible for gross human rights violations in conflicts. This can be a powerful deterrent against human trafficking and sexual and gender-based violence.
Lastly, Germany will chair the Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict. We are com-mitted to using this opportunity to further reinforce the UN’s work to eliminate and prevent conflict-related violence. We want to discuss how we can better support the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. And we want to discuss ways to improve the Security Council’s track-record on ensuring compliance with the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
We are ready to address these and other questions head-on, and we count on your support.
Women’s contributions are crucial to resolving conflicts. We will do all we can to make women’s voices heard.
I wish all of us a fruitful discussion. Thank you.