New York, 11 April 2019
I would like to thank you for conveying today’s open debate.
This statement is fully aligned with the one already delivered by the European Union.
Portugal is strongly committed to promote gender equality, human rights, peace and security within and beyond its borders. As observed by Security Council resolution 1325, a lack of gender equality adversely affects the maintenance of international peace and security.
We have recently adopted the third National Plan for the Implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security with clearer targets, timetables and indicators.
The new Action Plan fosters the participation of civil society and includes measures: (i) to integrate the Women, Peace and Security agenda and a gender equality perspective in Portugal’s intervention at national, regional and international levels; (ii) to protect women’s and girls’ rights and punish all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual violence; (iii) and to promote women’s and young girls’ participation in conflict prevention and in peacebuilding processes.
The participation of women in peacekeeping operations must be a priority in our collective efforts in the areas of international peace and security.
As the recent “Peacekeeping Ministerial on Uniformed Capabilities, Performance and Protection”, held on 29th of March, made clear, there is broad recognition of the important role women play in peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
Despite the progress achieved, almost two decades since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325, evidence shows that we are far from achieving the full, effective and meaningful participation of female peacekeepers in UN peace operations and a sufficient level of integration of a gender perspective in such operations.
Hence our full support to the UN Secretary-General’s “Action for Peacekeeping” Initiative and our endorsement of the “Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations”, which emphasizes our recommitment to increase the number of civilian and uniformed women in peacekeeping at all levels and in key positions.
We also welcome the new Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy launched by the Department of Peace Operations, which identified clear goals to advance female participation in peace operations. Achieving those goals requires a strong synergy between the UN and Member-States to ensure its timely implementation.
As stated during the Peacekeeping Ministerial, Portugal has shown an interest in working with the Department of Peace Operations on the possibility of organizing mixed training courses with 50% men and 50% women on capacity and leadership. We hope this will enable meaningful cooperation in key areas of peace operations where women have traditionally been underrepresented.
Regarding our presence in UN peace operations, I would like to highlight the fact that Portugal is, for the first time, deploying two female soldiers to combat missions in our contingent in MINUSCA. This deployment is particularly important as we strive to fulfil the tasks entrusted to our Quick Reaction Force in a very demanding security environment.
We hope that this deployment will also set the scene for more Portuguese female participation in peace operations, particularly in Africa, where women bring unique added-value to a broad range of mandated tasks.
In this context, we would like to reiterate the availability expressed during the Peacekeeping Ministerial to share lessons learned with interested partners.
I thank you.