The General Debate of the 68th session of the General Assembly took place between 24 September and 2 October 2013. During the debate, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the President of the General Assembly, John W. Ashe, and representatives from 195 member states and observers put forth their concerns, positions and priorities to the Assembly under the theme “Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage”.
Out of a total of 196 analyzed statements, 95 contained general statements on women and gender issues. Out of these statements around 44 countries made specific reference to women in terms of participation, human rights, peace processes, and other specific thematic issues. During the debate most of the member states highlighted the importance of increasing women's participation in all areas of decision-making. This year there was a sharp increase in the number of delegates that referred to women in the context of conflict. As opposed to 5 countries in the previous year, 18 member states expressed concerns over the use of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict. However, with the exception of few countries (Japan, Liechtenstein, Sweden), most states treated women as victims of war rather than active agents of peace and security. Consistent with the Security Council Resolution 1325, Denmark, Croatia, and Sweden vowed to strengthen women's equal and full participation in conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and peace-building missions. Montenegro, Serbia, and Netherlands explicitly mentioned the Security Council Resolution 1325 and pledged to fully implement it. No member state spoke of women in connection to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), arms trade more generally, disarmament, or nonproliferation.