United Nations Security Council

Open Debate on Women Peace and Security

Towards the 25th Anniversary of Resolution 1325

Statement by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Latvia Mr. Ivars Liepnieks

New York, 7 March 2023

Mr. President,

I would like to start by thanking all the distinguished briefers and Mozambique for giving us all this opportunity to reflect upon the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda in the past decades as we are preparing for the agenda’s 25th anniversary in October 2025. We welcome the continued practice of inviting women civil society representatives to brief the Council. Latvia aligns itself with the statements by the European Union and the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security.

Mr. President,

WPS agenda is an important contributor to tackling today’s global peace and security challenges. Resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, recognizes importance of women’s leadership to achieve international peace and security, and their contribution to conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, humanitarian response and to post-conflict reconstruction. Over the past decades, we have seen lots of progress in this direction. Women's participation in peace negotiations, mediation and conflict resolution has increased, so have the inclusion of gender perspectives in peacekeeping operations. More countries, including Latvia, have developed National Action Plans on WPS which serve as a roadmap for ensuring that women's needs and priorities are integrated into all aspects of peacebuilding.

However, despite these achievements, so much more remains to be done. Women continue to be underrepresented in peace negotiations and in security decision-making roles. In the last 25 years, women constituted just 13 per cent of negotiators, 6 per cent of mediators and 6 per cent of signatories in major peace processes. At this rate, it may take close to 300 years to achieve full gender equality - all of this while women and girls are disproportionately affected by conflict. Sexual and gender-based violence remains pervasive in conflict situations, and women and girls are often the primary victims, however, their voices often are silenced or ignored.

Mr. President,

In the years to come, one of the main indicators of the success of the WPS agenda will be the international response to the crimes committed by the Russian Federation in Ukraine. In the resolution 1325 and countless resolutions adopted in the following two decades, the UN Security Council recognized the impacts of armed conflicts on women and girls, and declared sexual violence a war crime. The Council has called upon parties to respect international law and take measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence. Yet, a member of this very same Council, namely the Russian Federation, has increasingly targeted women and girls by using sexual violence as a tactic of war, as we see in its war of aggression against Ukraine.

It is critical to ensure effective prevention and protection systems, practical and immediate assistance to the victims, as well as ending the impunity and ensuring accountability for those crimes. For the crimes committed, the Russian Federation must and will be held accountable, including through a special tribunal for the crime of aggression.

We regret the ongoing crackdown on women's rights in Afghanistan and Iran. We cannot stand by and watch as their fundamental rights are taken away. Almost-total erasure of half the population – women and girls – from public life in Afghanistan is not just a staggering human rights violation but a setback for the full implementation of the WPS agenda to be felt for years to come. We cannot stress enough the central role of women in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan. Latvia supports international efforts aimed at ensuring that women and girls reclaim their space and can fully contribute to the future of Afghanistan.

Women and girls should not be seen only as victims of conflict and instability. We must take concrete steps to ensure that women have a seat at the table and their voices are heard and considered in decision-making processes related to peace and security.