Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Open debate on Women, Peace and Security

Speech by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Mrs. Renee Jones-Bos at the Security Council Open Debate, New York, 13 October 2015

Mr. President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all I congratulate the Security Council on adopting resolution 1325 fifteen years ago and on adopting resolution 2242 today – we are very proud to be a co-sponsor.

I would also like to thank Prime Minister Rajoy and the Spanish Presidency of the Security Council for this chance to reaffirm the commitments we made fifteen years ago to women and peace and security.

Let me also express appreciation for the work of Radhika Coomaraswamy and her colleagues. They have produced an outstanding report which shows how right the Security Council was to adopt Resolution 1325. Wherever resolution 1325 has been implemented, the thinking behind it proved correct.

The great value of this report lies in the evidence gathered on the ground.

Evidence gathered from men and women who face the bitter reality of conflict on a daily basis. I salute the women who are here today and who we heard this morning from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, the DRC, Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Colombia and other conflict-affected countries. You are the true experts, and we look to you to shape our agenda. Like the partners who came to the Netherlands for our February conference to share their stories, their best practices and their contributions, often made at the risk of their own lives.

There is clear evidence that increasing political participation by women results in

- better negotiations,

- better and more sustainable agreements,

- better governance

- more wealth distributed more equitably,

- more and better conflict prevention,

- and ultimately therefore: more peace and security.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands works with women’s organisations on peace, justice and development. Empowering women and girls is crucial in all three dimensions. But huge challenges remain.

Conflict is still rife and we are confronted with ever more extreme violence. In situations like these, women do badly. And when women do badly, the world suffers. Men with guns take over, and the result is violence, impunity and the whole spiral of more poverty and more conflict. One appalling example is the assassination of one of our partners, the Libyan lawyer Salwa Bugaighis, on 25 June 2014.

We urgently need to break this spiral. Resolution 1325, we believe contains the key to do so. The thinking behind this resolution is at the very heart of current Dutch policies of aid and trade, security and human rights. It is paramount for our partnership for peace, justice and development. Before the end of this year, we will issue our third National Action Plan, the product of a unique platform where government has worked with more than fifty civil society organisations. We are providing four million euros a year to carry out this plan, supporting organisations on the ground working to protect and politically empower women in conflict situations.

We provide both diplomatic and financial support to Syrian women’s efforts to present their views on their country’s future in international fora. Women take centre stage in our vision of the future

Over the next fifteen years, the world’s fate will be largely determined by whether or not women succeed in taking their rightful place in history. Do we want to attain our global goals? Fight inequality? Create lasting peace? We need the women of the world to do this. So let’s all step up our support to organisations like Karama, a regional NGO based in Cairo and working throughout the Middle East in coalition with hundreds of partners to end violence against women.

Mr. President, your Excellencies,

Fifteen years ago the Netherlands, as a member of the Security Council at that time, was one of the main advocates of Resolution 1325. I was personally involved at the time and I feel very strong about this.

Now, we aspire to become a member again, also to support the pace of 1325’s implementation. We think we have something to offer: the desire and the capacity to stand up and invest in the women who are the drivers of change. It is time as Elvis Presley put it in one of his many classic songs for: ‘A little less conversation, a little more action’.

Thank you, Mr. President.