Statement by Mr. Sugeeshwara Gunaratna, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka
at the United Nations Security Council open debate on the theme,
“Women, Peace and Security: Towards the 25th Anniversary of resolution 1325”, 7 March 2023
Permit me to extend my best wishes to the Peoples Republic of Mozambique on its succession to the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of March and my appreciation for convening this open debate on the theme , “Women, Peace and Security: towards the 25th Anniversary of resolution 1325” and coinciding with the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women session is in .
Although significant strides have been made in executing the WPS agenda in its 23 years, there exists a missing link with regard to the core commitments of the resolution 1325. Today we witness that women’s direct participation and representation in formal peace processes continues to be the one area that lags behind in the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. Between 1992 and 2019, women served as only 6 per cent of mediators, 6 per cent of signatories and 13 per cent of negotiators globally. The COVID-19 outbreak has shed even greater light on the full extent of gender inequality., The concern is therefore raised as to how far the “full, equal and meaningful participation of women in peace processes and decision-making” progressed and what actions the states should have done and should do in the future towards achieving gender parity in this important activity.
As the Secretary General's annual report on women, peace, and security from the previous year says, the World is currently “experiencing a reversal of the generational gains in women’s rights while violent conflicts, military expenditures, military coups, displacements and hunger continue to increase.” Therefore, empowering women leaders to participate in peace processes and in peacebuilding becomes increasingly crucial to accelerate the commitments of the resolution 1325.
The Sri Lankan government has achieved substantial progress toward gender equality and security by adopting and developing critical policies, such as the National Policy for Women (2016)- a general policy framework, and a National Plan of Action to Address Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Sri Lanka (2016–2020), as well as making available legal protections to protect women from all sorts of discrimination. The Constitutional guarantees assure the principles of gender equality and non-discrimination as a fundamental right. There has been a conscious effort to strengthen and reform legislation that directly enhances women's empowerment and rights as a recognition of the constitutional guarantees.
As Sri Lanka continues to engage in post-conflict nation building, with a view to empowering women leaders and enhance women’s participation in decision-making processes, Sri Lanka introduced a 25% quota for female candidates at the parliamentary, provincial and local government level. Women were given this opportunity at the local government elections held after 2017 and currently the necessary measures are being taken to increase the representation of women in the provisional councils and parliament.
Sri Lanka also has been an active participant in UN peacekeeping operations for many decades and is a member of the UN Special Committee on peacekeeping operations. To promote the role of women in conflict prevention, Sri Lanka has increased the proportion of female contingents to UN peacekeeping deployments.
In conclusion, Madame President, as we meet at the mid-point between the 20th and 25th anniversary of the Resolution 1325 today, it is incumbent upon all the stakeholders to take stock of the commitments made at its 20th Anniversary by identifying the gaps and addressing those issues in a meaningful way so as to achieve its envisioned outcomes. Sri Lanka encourages all parties concerned to actively engage and synergize efforts at all levels for mobilizing resources and leveraging partnerships towards the realization of this objective as a priority.