Speech by Minister of State Michelle Müntefering at the Security Council’s Open Debate on Women Peace and Security

29.10.2020 - Speech

20 Years ago: Resolution 1325 was a small revolution.

For the first time, a united Security Council made it crystal-clear:

  • women’s full, equal and meaningful participation is required to maintain world peace and security;
  • gender equality is not only about fairness and human rights. It is also about security and conflict prevention;
  • And: sexual and gender-based violence is not an inevitable by-product of war. It is a crime that must be punished and abolished.

The adoption of resolution 1325 was the result of an exceptional wave of civil society engagement.

Hopes were high. And the pledge was clear: women’s voices were to be heard! And their seat at the peace table no longer rejected!

It is clear who is accountable to these expectations: us, the Member States of the United Nations.

20 years and 9 hard-won Security Council resolutions later, the implementation of the WPS agenda continues to be too weak.

Women are still excluded from peace processes.

Their rights and interests continue to be ignored when building post-conflict societies.

So let me be frank: as a global community, we have not lived up to our commitment.

Too often, conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence remains unpunished.

Even worse: in the past years we have seen a global push-back on women’s rights.

Principles and rights that we have agreed upon decades ago are once again questioned.

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Let’s pause for a second and think about this: 20 years ago all members of the Security Council agreed to the principles that are enshrined in the agenda.

I doubt that today we would still be able to achieve such a milestone.

Mr. President,

Germany is determined to advance the implementation of resolution 1325. Over the past two years as a Security Council member, we have made WPS a key priority of our work.

We have initiated resolution 2467 to strengthen the rights of all survivors of sexual violence and to hold perpetrators accountable.

Survivors’ human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, must be guaranteed.

We’re convinced that including civil society in our debates is vital. Many of them were quoted today like Ilwad Elman who just won the Africa Prize here in Berlin. Civil society plays an essential role in filling the WPS agenda with life.

We gave them a voice here during our Council Presidencies. In April 2019 and July 2020 alone, 26 civil society speakers addressed the Council. Now the Council must follow up on their recommendations.

And we pushed hard to include the WPS agenda in all Council products.

Our aim is: The WPS mainstreaming approach needs to become the norm.

That also means: Mandate renewals and sanction regimes need to be gender-responsive.

Let me be clear. We have a joint responsibility to implement what we have agreed upon.

And that is: without watering down any of the commitments we have signed up to.

We have all the necessary instruments at hand. What’s needed is the full implementation of resolution 1325 and all subsequent resolutions on WPS.

Last year, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for specific commitments to implement the agenda before the 20th anniversary. 75 Members States and UN entities came forward with concrete proposals, the majority of which has been implemented.

Dear colleagues,

let me emphasize our deep respect to all the activists outside, the women peacebuilders. They do a fantastic job on the ground.

We can and should support these women. Support, funding and protection are the three keywords here.

We will continue to support civil society and protect women peacebuilders and women human rights’ defenders inside and outside of the Security Council.

As board members of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, we are planning to further step up our support in addition to the 4 million euro we have already contributed in the past two years.

And we should always insist on including women mediators and women peacebuilders in peace processes. We have done so in our support for the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen. And we are currently supporting women’s initiatives in the Libyan peace process.

Ladies and gentlemen,

History has proved Resolution 1325 right. The peaceful revolution in Sudan would not have been possible without the many courageous women that took to the streets every day. And just as we speak, the women of Belarus stand up for their democratic rights.

Their courage is our obligation.

Germany is determined to live up to this obligation. We will create WPS focal points in our embassies. We will include WPS as a compulsory part of our training for young diplomats. And we will mainstream WPS in our entire foreign policy.

In short: we will make WPS part of our DNA.

Since the year 2000, much has been achieved. But even more remains to be done. We cannot wait for the next anniversary. The world needs women to take the centre stage. Now.


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