Remarks by MFA Olta Xhaçka at the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security

I would like to thank all the briefers to this meeting for their very valuable information. 

We heard from them important, accurate and first-hand accounts from different perspectives and regions which feed in collective efforts to implement the WPS agenda. Yes, the right word is the implementation of a very robust normative framework. We have the resolutions, we need the action, we need more concrete and tangible results. 

We know that regional and sub-regional organizations have continued to play pivotal roles in their respective regions in the areas of Peace and Security, Human Rights, and Development, including in the implementation of the WPS agenda. 

The role of regional organizations in matters related to WPS agenda has become increasingly important given the magnitude and complexity of challenges facing the international community today. Recent events in different countries and regions, like in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Sudan, Myanmar, and Mali, to name only a few, have shown how fragile is and remains the progress we have made in the field on WPS.

In Ukraine, as this Council has heard many times including Monday last week, because of the war, substantive gains on women’s rights and gender equality made in recent years, have been put under immense pressure, if not undone. Ukrainian women and girls are facing today maybe the biggest challenge of their lives: unlawful attacks on civilian facilities, including schools and hospitals, are depriving them of access to education and essential health services, including sexual and reproductive health care services. Those women and girls who are forced to flee their homes find themselves in situations that exacerbate inequality and vulnerability, in the face of sexual and gender-based violence. We are appalled by reports of alleged sexual violence which need to be fully documented and properly investigated. 

In Afghanistan, since the violent take-over of the Taliban in August 2021, women have been systematically erased from public life, those who have protested violently repressed, abducted, killed, or subjected to other forms of reprisals. It is utterly worrying that, despite promises and commitments, girls continue to be denied their education. This is unacceptable. 

In Sudan, Myanmar and Mali the violence that has erupted has not just threatened the fragile gains of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, but the lives and work of women peacebuilders themselves, and they have also tested the ability of the international community to fulfill the mandate of the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security.

Colleagues,

As we heard today, a big number of regional organizations, including here EU, AU, OSCE and the LAS have adopted or are about to adopt dedicated plans or strategies to implement and prioritize WPS. This is a wonderful development! 

Regional Organizations are often the first to react in crisis response, to engage with concerned parties to ensure protection of civilians. They are uniquely placed to build trust and promote dialogue among concerned parties, as well as offer support in mediation and reconciliation; and can be influential in advocating for women’s full, equal, and meaningful, as well as safe, participation in all aspects of peace and security.

We must strengthen the partnerships and coordination with the regional organization, make their voices be heard in the Security Council and in the broader UN System. In many ways regional organizations have unique and complementary capacities that when properly coordinated with the UN System, can produce good, fast and effective results, in preserving and/or accelerating the implementation of the WPS agenda, especially in context of political turmoil and seizures of power by force.

While many regional organizations are cooperating closely with each-other, there is a need to intensify this cooperation and gradually build a net of regional organizations aiming to improve data disaggregation produce gender analyses, share best practices and coordinate gender-responsive and human rights-based approaches to ensure the meaningful inclusion of women, in particular those from traditionally marginalized groups, in political and peace and security processes.

It is crucial for the regional organizations to work closely with the civil society and especially with women led organizations at grassroot level. Regional organizations must be able to support safe and enabling environments for women peacebuilders, human rights defenders, and civil society activists. 

In coordination with the UN System, member states and each other, regional organizations can provide rapid, flexible funding to women human rights defenders and women-led organizations operating in conflict and post conflict settings.

To this end, we must ensure that all regional organizations prioritize WPS agenda and develop action plans or strategies for the implementation of this agenda in accordance with the SC Resolution 1325 and other relevant SC Resolutions.

Colleagues,

Albania, through its participation within several regional organizations like OSCE, NATO and OIC, is committed to fulfilling its duty regarding the acceleration and full implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. 

WPS agenda was integrated as one of the priorities of Albania’s OSCE Chairmanship in 2020 injecting a new momentum in the OSCE’s work in promoting the role of women in conflict resolution and in peace processes. We are happy to see that WPS continues to be prioritized by this Organization.

As a Member of NATO, Albania is working tirelessly to reduce barriers to the active and meaningful participation of women in the security institutions at national level and within the Alliance. Women today constitute 20% of the total Armed Forces personnel in Albania. 

At OIC Albania is fully engaged and very supportive of every initiative that aims to strengthen the meaningful participation of women at all levels, accelerate the WPS agenda and the normative framework adopted during the years from the Security Council.

Colleagues,

I am happy to report on some real, bold and significant achievements on the meaningful participation of women in important decision-making processes in my country. Albania currently ranks among the top 5 gender-balanced Government in the world, with 75% women Ministers. Some of the key highest public positions in Albania – including independent institutions, agencies, departments in key areas of the state – are successfully held by women. Albania has taken important steps towards officially embracing gender responsive budgeting at central and local level.

Colleagues,

It is about time to bring our cooperation with the regional organizations to a new level. Only by working together at different levels can we close the huge gap between what has been achieved on paper, and the implementation of the WPS agenda on the ground. Especially vital is this cooperation in context of recent military coups and seizure of power by force, where we have witnessed national commitments on Women, Peace and Security abruptly interrupted.

Thank you!

 

Previous Remarks by Ambassador Ferit Hoxha at the Security Council meeting on Yemen

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