Speech by Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas at the United Nations Security Council - “Pledge of Commitment on Women, Peace and Security”

23.04.2019 - Speech


Ladies and gentlemen,

We are talking about commitment today, commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

But what does “commitment” actually mean?

Many will say it means a commitment to something. To the measures that were agreed upon almost 20 years ago in Resolution 1325.

And of course, that is right.

But the actual question is: to whom did we commit?

Our commitment is not an abstract one. It has a direct impact on the lives of people.

  • People like the three women I met in an IDP camp in Iraq last December. They were survivors of sexual violence.
  • People like the members of the African Women Leaders Network in Sierra Leone who I spoke with in February. They told me that they want to shape their country’s future.

These women stand for countless other people all over the world. Resolution 1325 commits us to all of them. In the interest of achieving long-lasting peace and security.

Resolution 1325 is a milestone. Because it reconfirms a fundamental truth: There can be no lasting peace and no security without equality. And because it says “no” to a history of conflicts full of sexual violence against women.

However, almost 20 years after its adoption, there are still huge shortcomings. We have not achieved enough.

A study by the World Economic Forum recently concluded that we are still 108 years away from actual gender equality.

And the bitter truth is: Little has changed for many of the people we pledged to support:

  • Women continue to be excluded from the peace negotiations in major conflicts.
  • The lack of gender equality hampers conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction.
  • And sexual violence is still a harsh reality. In almost all conflicts in the world. Day after day.

Resolution 1325 will turn 20 next year - in 557 days’ time.

557 days in which women and girls will suffer in conflicts. But also a lot of time to bring about change.

That is why it is so important that we focus on the implementation of the Resolution today.

I would like to thank the United Kingdom and UN Women for this joint initiative.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I want to highlight three areas that we should work on and where Germany stands ready to provide Support.

First of all, legal justice. We owe it to the victims.

Nadia Murad gave a moving account this morning on the fate of many Yazidi women and girls in Iraq.

Of the almost incredible suffering they endured.

Lasting peace will only be possible in Iraq when such terrible crimes have been addressed. And if we do not allow impunity.

Today, we pledge to continue supporting the documentation of the crimes against Iraqi women and girls for a further three years.

Secondly, women must be equal participants in all peace processes. Only then will the wounds of war heal.

Germany supports UN Women in including women in peace processes and national dialogues, for example in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya.

And we will continue to push for this as a member of the Security Council.

We fund research and training in these fields – to ensure women are more involved.

Thirdly, we need more female peacekeepers. They are role models.

We have a lot of ground to make up here.

We will continue to invest in training female military observers. We have designed special training courses, the first of which was held in Germany in 2018.

Germany will also provide up to two million euros for the ELSIE Initiative launched by Canada. Its goal is to increase the number of women in peacekeeping missions.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There are 557 days left until Resolution 1325 turns 20. In order to be able to celebrate this date, we need to redouble our efforts.

We owe it to the people we pledged to support almost 20 years ago.

We remain committed to them.

Every single day.

Thank you very much!


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