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Women, Peace and Security

Expected Council Action

In August, the Council expects a briefing by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed following her 19-28 July joint visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Nigeria with the AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, Bineta Diop. Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, who were also on the mission, will participate in the briefing. 

The UN-AU Visit

The joint UN-AU July visit focused on the importance of women’s participation in peace and security processes. Other objectives of the visit included fostering stronger women’s mobilisation and bringing greater visibility to the consequences of conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls.

In Abuja, members of the delegation met with acting Nigerian President Yemi Osinbajo and called on the government to intensify its investment in women in the promotion of peace. They also met with the heads of key ministries and with conflict-affected girls, including some of the Chibok girls rescued from Boko Haram. During the visit, the Deputy Secretary-General stressed that urgent action was needed on the meaningful participation of women in peace processes. She also highlighted the importance of advancing gender equality as a precondition for sustainable development for all. Mlambo-Ngcuka and Diop also visited an internally-displaced persons (IDP) camp in Maiduguri, northern Nigeria. 

In the DRC the UN-AU delegation focused on strengthening the meaningful participation of women in peace and security and elections. The delegation met with Vice-Prime Minister Léonard She Okitundu and with women leaders from civil society where they stressed the importance of women’s participation in peace making and conflict prevention for sustainable peace. They also visited an IDP camp in North Kivu province. and met with the National Elections Institute authorities.

Recent UN Activity

Deputy Special Representative Lisa Grande and representatives of UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Iraq country team briefed the 2242 Informal Experts Group (IEG) on 14 June. Among the issues covered were the abuses committed against women, including being used as human shields, being executed in public, and being abducted and sold. The overall regression of women’s rights in cities occupied by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was also covered, together with the low participation by women in national reconciliation efforts.

The IEG met on the Lake Chad Basin crisis on 27 February ahead of the Council’s visiting mission to Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The members were briefed by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, and representatives of the UN country team, UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), and the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). There was particular interest in the demobilisation and reintegration of women and girls who had been associated with Boko Haram, and in early warning and national and regional counter-terrorism efforts to prevent violent extremism. Other issues that were covered included solutions for forcibly displaced persons and how their return is being managed, and the training of security forces to respond to sexual violence.

In line with resolution 2242—which expressed the Council’s intention to invite civil society, including women’s organisations, to brief the Council in country-specific situations—civil society representatives from the DRC, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen have briefed the Council during country-specific briefings so far in 2017.

On 2 June, UN Women, the AU Commission, and Germany launched the African Women Leaders Network. This initiative seeks to enhance the leadership of women in the transformation of Africa with a focus on governance, peace and stability.

Council Dynamics

This briefing will be held under the agenda item “Peace and Security in Africa”. Women, peace and security issues, particularly around women’s participation and sexual violence, are regularly raised during the Council’s country-specific discussions on the DRC and Lake Chad Basin, partly due to the work of the IEG. The briefing by the Deputy Secretary-General would be an opportunity for Council members to deepen their understanding of these issues in the DRC and Nigeria.

The Council visiting mission to the Lake Chad Basin is still fresh in members’ minds, and the Secretary-General’s report on the Lake Chad Basin is expected to be published at the end of August, followed by a presentation to the Council this fall. Members may want Mohammed’s assessment of how the role of women and gender inequality have shaped the conflict in northern Nigeria, and the measures being taken to address Boko Haram’s use of sexual violence to further its strategic and military objectives. This information could be useful in shaping the Council’s discussions, expected in September, of the Lake Chad Basin report.  

This briefing could also help shape the Council’s thinking on gender issues in the next few months as it focuses on the possibility of elections in the DRC at the end of the year and the review of UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) requested by resolution 2348 on 31 March 2017, which is expected to be provided to the Council by 30 September. The issues around sexual violence in the DRC have long been a topic in Council discussions on the DRC, and the information from this women, peace and security-focused visit could help members gain an insight into how the Council might be able to better address this issue in the DRC.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions
31 March 2017 S/RES/2349 This was on the Lake Chad Basin.
31 March 2017 S/RES/2348 The Council renewed MONUSCO’s mandate until 31 March 2018.
13 October 2015 S/RES/2242 The was a resolution that addressed women’s roles in countering violent extremism and terrorism, improving the Council’s own working methods in relation to women, peace and security and taking up gender recommendations made by the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and the Global Study.
Security Council Meeting Records
9 March 2017 S/PV.7895 This was a briefing on the situation in Burundi.

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