Inside the UN Security Council: Year In Review

By  Colleen Bromberger, Security Council Monitor Fellow

Randa Siniora Atallah, General Director of the Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counselling in Jerusalem, addresses the Security Council meeting on Women, Peace and Security. (Visual: UN Photo/Manuel Elias)

In 2018, the advocacy of the feminist peace movement has contributed to the progress in advancing the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda in the work of the Security Council. 

A notable accomplishment includes the record number of civil society speakers that briefed the Council. From January to December 2018, 17 civil society briefers were local women activists, including WILPF’s long-standing partners from the DRCLibyaPalestine and Yemen. The Informal Expert Group on WPS also continued to translate WPS commitments in country-specific work in the DRCIraqLake Chad BasinLibya and Mali, with increased attention to local civil society priorities. 

WILPF’s comprehensive monitoring of the Council’s work, including through our DebateReport and Resolution Watches also demonstrated the change in the discourse towards the recognition of the patriarchy as a structural barrier to women’s meaningful participation and the need to address the root causes of violence and women’s access to resources to prevent sexual violence and prevent conflicts. As the data suggest, the WPS Agenda also gained increased recognition in both Council’s discussionsArria Formula Meetings and outcome documents, including a resolution on the Central African Republic that calls for the development of a comprehensive strategy on sexual and gender-based violence. 

WILPF launched updated Security Council WPS Scorecardand launched a “Towards a Feminist Security Council” Guidance Note to support solutions-oriented action that builds on existing good practice in overcoming chronic obstacles to action by the Security Council. 

It is time for the Council to take action.  As Razia Sultana, the first Rohingya to ever brief the UNSC, pointed out earlier this year in the Council, “It is hypocritical to express horror at the violence, while then also selling arms to Myanmar and seeking explorative licenses to mine its natural resources.” There are yet important steps to be undertaken by the Council to ensure security that works for women, including around disarmamentand accountability.

In 2019, we will continue to push for concrete action that shifts from crisis response towards upstream conflict prevention and sustaining peace based on women’s participation, protection and rights.

Find WILPF’s Security Council Scorecard on Women, Peace and Security here>>
Find WILPF’s Feminist Security Council Guidance Note here>>
Find more information about the United Nations Security Council open debate on Women, Peace and Security here>>
Find more information about the United Nations Security Council open debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict here>>
Find the record of the Informal Expert Group meetings here>>
Find more information about WILPF’s Security Council Monitoring Work here>>