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UAE Mission to UN launches expert-led Panel Series on emerging trends in women, peace and security

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The United Arab Emirates announced that it will be launching an expert-led Panel Series on emerging trends in women, peace and security at a lunchtime panel discussion that began the Global Study to review 15 years of UN Security Council resolution 1325. The series will substantively contribute to the Global Study to review the progress and challenges of the resolution on women, peace, and security adopted in 2000. The panel discussion, hosted by the Permanent Mission of the UAE in collaboration with UN Women and the Permanent Mission of Ireland, was attended by the Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and senior level representatives from the Missions of the US, UK, Namibia, Azerbaijan and Vietnam, among others. The UAE has also contributed financially to the study as have several other countries.


Resolution 1325 acknowledges the importance of women’s participation and the inclusion of gender perspectives in peace negotiations, humanitarian planning, peacekeeping operations, post-conflict peacebuilding and governance.  The Global Study, which is expected to be completed by mid-2015, will feed into the High-Level Global Review that is planned for October 2015. It will highlight best practices as well as existing challenges.


While women make up almost half of UN staff – 60.2% at the P1, entry level –they only comprise a minority of senior-level positions, holding just 27.4% of UN positions at the D2, director-level.  In peacekeeping operations and special political missions, women comprise a minority of staff – just 29% of international staff and 17% of local staff. Of all peacekeeping operations, there are three all-female police units deployed in Haiti, Liberia, and Congo.  Out of 16 current peacekeeping operations, five are led by women Special Representatives of the Secretary General.  


The UAE’s Panel Series will explore new areas of study – including the role of women in countering violent extremism and the use of new technologies to inform and protect, as well as more traditional areas that require attention, such as security sector reform and economic empowerment.  In her remarks, Nusseibeh said, “We hope the process will support the Global Study and contribute to the pool of knowledge on this important issue,” and noted that each panel will result in a discussion summary, written in partnership with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, reflecting the exchange of views of member states.


Highlighting this initiative as a reflection of the UAE’s longstanding support of women as agents of agent, Nusseibeh said, “The UAE strives toward the full participation of women at all levels of society. Our National Strategy for the Advancement of Women prioritizes and supports the participation of women in both the public and private sector, and has worked towards gender equality in the development of its policies, programs, and legislation across the board.”  

First Lady H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and the Family Development Foundation, as well as president of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, falls first in this line of women as agents of change in her work ensuring that national strategies to empower women in the cultural, social and economic fields are implemented.

As a result of these domestic policies, the UAE has the highest number of women cabinet ministers in the region and the number of women judges, prosecutors, and lawyers is steadily increasing.  

Nusseibeh also highlighted the role of the UAE as a model of tolerance and moderation in a region that has witnessed increased extremism. Nusseibeh said, “ We will not allow extremism to threaten universal humanitarian values, tolerance, and religious diversity,” she said. “These are principles that the UAE strongly upholds and values such that we view the role of women in the mitigation, prevention, and resolution of conflict as central to our national priorities and to those of our region.  The role of women in combatting violent extremism and the practical means to integrate them at an early stage is essential,” she continued.

The Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN, Ambassador David Donaghue, in his comments regarding the Global Study, emphasized that “The Global Study offers us an excellent opportunity to assess just how much we have achieved in the last 15 years; take stock of where we have been impactful, review trends, fill knowledge gaps, critically examine persistent and emerging challenges and capture lessons learned and good practices across regions. These efforts will be crucial to articulate a global policy agenda that will better inform future women, peace and security efforts.” Ambassador Donoghue also said that Ireland was delighted to be able to make a financial contribution towards the Study.


Also speaking in the panel discussion was UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who said, “Too often, policy gains, rather than real impact, has been our indicator of success. This must change.”  She added, “We must take stock, and ensure that plans are action-oriented and adequately funded. Simply put, we need more results for women and girls.”


The study’s lead author, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, and former Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Radhika Coomaraswamy, said that the study will focus on the impact on women and girls during times of conflict and peace. She will consult directly with women affected by conflict to make their experiences and ideas part of the study’s policy recommendations.


The UAE’s panel series and subsequent final report comes at an opportune time, aligning with other major policy reviews and debates next year, such as the post-2015 development agenda discussions and the 20-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

The Global Study on UNSCR  1325 will focus on best practices and challenges in the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda at local, regional, and international levels.  It will offer practical recommendations that can be implemented to effect change on the ground, in conflict and post-conflict areas, impacting the lives of women and girls around the world.