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UN calls for boosting women's participation

United Nations, Oct 28 (IANS) A senior UN official has called on Member States, regional organisations and civil society for greater partnership to boost women’s participation at all levels.

“We will strengthen the collection and analysis of gender statistics and encourage Member States to monitor gender equality indicators as part of their work to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Xinhua quoted Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the Chef de Cabinet, as saying.

Viotti was speaking on Friday on behalf of the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. She spoke at the day-long debate in the Security Council, underlining the need for more action on the “women, peace and security agenda”.

In her briefing, the Chef de Cabinet spoke of the need to ensure adequate representation of women in the security sector both to reduce their exposure to harm as well as to realise their potential in conflict prevention.

Noting that only three per cent of peacekeepers are women, she informed the Security Council of the Secretary-General’s efforts with troop- and police-contributing countries to increase the number of female uniformed personnel.

Viotti also noted that 17 years after its adoption, Security Council resolution 1325 on women and peace and security was too often being implemented “in an ad hoc fashion”.

She called on UN Member States to share evidence and examples in order to examine gaps and successes.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), also briefing the meeting, said that while atrocities against women and girls in armed conflict are now the focus of attention and documentation, it is critical that perpetrators are brought to justice, and that survivors are accorded dignity and support.

“This impunity cannot be allowed to continue,” she noted.

Further, informing the Security Council of an overall decline in women’s participation in UN-led peace processes, inclusion of gender-sensitive provisions in peace agreements and consultation with women’s civil society organisations, in comparison with one year ago, Mlambo-Ngcuka said that the political marginalisation was not only limited to peace talks.

Only 17 countries have an elected woman Head of State or Government and the proportion of women parliamentarians in conflict and post-conflict countries has stagnated at 16 per cent in the last two years.

“The use of quotas and temporary special measures would help,” she said, noting examples from Somalia and Mali, and called on donors to continue supporting efforts targeted at women’s empowerment and highlighted the importance of ensuring gender-conscious funding for policies and programmes.

Other speakers at the meeting also underscored the need to effectively combat sexual and gender-based violence and end impunity.

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