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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council VTC on Women, Peace and Security

2020-10-29 22:16

Mr. President,

I thank Secretary-General Guterres, Executive Director Mlambo-Ngcuka for their briefings. I also thank all other briefers for their statements.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, the 20th anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. And also, the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These anniversaries are meaningful reminders of the inter-connectedness of promoting gender equality, maintaining international peace and security and achieving sustainable development.

The international community should capitalize on these anniversaries to reaffirm its commitment, increase input and inject new impetus into the Women, Peace and Security agenda and women's development.

First, continue to support women in playing an important role in peace and security. 20 years ago, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1325, which re-examined and defined the relationship between women and peace. As Secretary-General Guterres put it, this was the first time women were recognized not only as victims of war but as people with their own agency and expertise to find peaceful solutions to conflict.

Progress has been made in the implementation of Resolution 1325 in recent years, and women are playing an increasingly important role in the field of peace and security. As we speak, female special representatives and special envoys are working tirelessly for the political settlement of hotspot issues, breathing risks and difficulties, and countless women peacekeepers and volunteers are promoting reconciliation and reconstruction, helping the needy in conflict zones. We should continue to uphold the spirit of Resolution 1325, and to support women in participating on an equal footing in the peace process in a comprehensive and effective manner, and in making greater contributions.

When it comes to maintaining international peace and security, Chinese women have never been absent. Over the past 30 years, more than 1000 Chinese women have participated in UN peacekeeping operations. They are found patrolling in UNMISS’s infantry battalion, clearing minefields in the UNIFIL’s engineering company, and treating patients in peacekeeping hospitals of MINUSMA and MONUSCO. In May this year, Ms. Xin Yuan, senior demining staff officer of UNIFIL and an outstanding representative of Chinese female peacekeepers was awarded the UN Certificate of Recognition for her work to advocate military gender equality.

Second, advance the WPS agenda in a holistic and balanced manner. Prevention, protection, participation, relief and recovery are the four pillars of the WPS agenda. Only by promoting the work in these four areas in a balanced manner, can we continue to achieve steady progress. We should make every effort to prevent conflicts, give special attention to eliminate the root causes of conflicts and create a peaceful environment for the development of women. The Security council should fulfill its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security, promote the political settlement of hotspot issues and encourage all parties to respond to the Secretary-General’s appeal for global ceasefire by committing themselves to resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation.

We should also strengthen the protection of women, resolutely oppose any violence against women and girls, reject the sexual violence as a tactic of war, vigorously combat terrorism, and protect women from terrorist and extremist forces. We should respect women's right to speak and to decision-making, ensure their representation in peace negotiations, and to support more women to participate in mediation and national governance. We need to protect the legitimate rights and interests of women during and after conflict, provide timely humanitarian assistance to women affected by conflict and give full consideration to their actual difficulties and needs. China will participate in the work of the Council’s Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security, and together with other members of the Council, contribute to the implementation of Resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions.

Third, promote gender equality and women's empowerment. The issue of women and armed conflict is one of the 12 priorities in the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action. The WPS agenda should be advanced within the overall framework of women's empowerment and development, in concert with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We should reaffirm our commitment to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and capitalize on the Decade of Action and delivery for Sustainable Development Goals, so that women's empowerment becomes the early harvest in our efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda. And in so doing, we can promote development through women's empowerment, and promote peace through development.

We should elevate the protection of women's rights and interests, respond to such challenges as gender-based violence and discrimination, increase women's voice in political, economic, cultural and social affairs, promote social stability and eliminate the root causes of conflict. We should also increase investment in women's education, medical care, employment and so forth, improve women's livelihood, eradicate poverty among women, promote women's development in tandem with social and economic progress, so as to remove obstacles and create favorable conditions for women's effective participation in the peace process.

As the COVID-19 rages across the world, it has had a severe impact on economy, employment and people’s life, and has brought greater challenges to women. In fighting the pandemic and promoting economic and social recovery, special attention should be paid to vulnerable groups as women and children, so that they can grow out of the negative impact of the pandemic faster.

Forth, strengthen global cooperation for women’s development. The WPS agenda is an integral part of the global cause of women’s development, and requires the joint efforts of all countries, international organizations such as the United Nations, regional and sub-regional organizations, and all sectors of the society. We should promote multilateralism and uphold the authority of the United Nations. The Security Council, the General Assembly, the ECOSOC, the Peace Building Commission and UN Women should work in accordance with their respective mandates and make due contributions. We should take seriously and give full play to the unique strength of regional and sub-regional organizations such as the African Union and the Arab League, and encourage regional initiatives and practices based on the actual conditions of the regions. We should fully respect the sovereignty and ownership of the countries concerned, support them in advancing the WPS agenda in line with their national conditions, and guide women's groups and the civil society to play a constructive role.

China has been actively promoting global cooperation in women's development, implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, relevant UN and Security Council resolutions through concrete actions. Five years ago, President Xi Jinping announced a series of initiatives at the Global Leaders' Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, including building 100 “health projects for women and children” and 100 “happy campus projects”, and providing vocational training for 130,000 women in developing countries. As of now these projects have been fully implemented.

At the High-level Meeting on the 25th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women held earlier this month, President Xi put forward the important initiative of convening another Global Leader's Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in 2025, announced another 10 million US dollar donation to UN Women in the next five years, and the pledge to continue funding the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education.

China stands ready to continue to work with the international community in advancing the WPS agenda, promoting the greater role of women in peace and security, accelerating the realization of gender equality and women's empowerment, and contributing to women's development around the world.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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