Photo: UN Photo/Kim Haughton
Increased gender equality between women and men is one of Sweden’s most important foreign policy priorities. Women, peace and security is also one of Sweden’s priorities as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council – and one of the themes of Sweden’s Presidency of the Security Council in July 2018.
Women’s active participation in peace processes is a strategic issue for international peace and security. Strong influence by women is needed in every peace process to create legitimacy, ownership and sustainability. This requires long-term and consistent work – and clear mandates from the Security Council, monitoring and accountability.
The UN Member States adopted resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in 2000. It has subsequently been followed by additional resolutions aimed at highlighting how women are affected by armed conflicts, strengthening protection for women in these contexts and increasing women’s participation and influence in conflict prevention, crisis management and peacebuilding.
Research shows a link between women’s participation in peace processes and more sustainable peace agreements, but international peace efforts are still not gender equal. Women are excluded far too often, which poses a threat to peace, security and sustainable development in several parts of the world. This is why Sweden is working actively to promote the agenda for women, peace and security on several levels – in bilateral relations, in regional organisations and in the UN – and has had a national action plan for implementation of the resolution since 2006. Sweden is also one of the largest donors to UN Women and to UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict.
While in the Security Council Sweden has:
- contributed to women being mentioned in every Security Council Presidential statement on emergency situations in 2017, which has never happened before;
- pushed through clearer wording of Security Council resolutions, including the mandates for MONUSCO (DR Congo), MINURSO (Western Sahara) and UNISFA (Sudan-South Sudan border);
- requested sex disaggregated statistics and gender-aware reporting;
- succeeded in getting the Security Council to take a clearer stance against sexual and gender-based violence, and sexual abuse, committed by deployed personnel;
- pushed through making sexual and gender-based violence a special listing criterion in the sanctions regime for the Central African Republic; and
- pushed for a pronounced increase in the number of representatives from women’s organisations that brief the Security Council.
Sweden will continue to mainstream and integrate issues around women, peace and security across the agenda and throughout our presidency, as we have done during our whole time as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. 10 July 2018, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström chaired a meeting on the Sahel, focusing on women, peace and security.