On Friday November 30th 2012, the Security Council held its annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). On account of the Hurricane Sandy affects in greater New York area, the debate was rescheduled from its original date on October 29th 2012. The civil society speaker, Bineta Diop, speaking on behalf our coalition, the NGO Working Group, highlighted the contribution of women's organizations to international peace and security; the importance of conflict prevention; and the security threats women and women's human rights defenders face in conflict settings. On recently returning from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she echoed the voices of women she had met calling urgently for peace, security, protection and humanitarian assistance.
The debate addressed Secretary-General's annual report (S/2012/732) and the presidential statement (S/PRST/2012/23) adopted by the Council on 31st October 2012. The theme of the debate was “The Role of Women's Civil Society Organizations in Contributing to the Prevention and Resolution of Armed Conflict and Peacebuilding.” Given the tireless efforts civil society organizations in creating and implementing this broad agenda, the theme was welcomed and timely. Statements discussed a broad range of issues, ranging from National Action Plans (NAPs) to current conflict and crisis situations. Overall, few concrete or new commitments were raised on women's civil society organizations, the theme of the debate.
Speakers included: Michelle Bachelet, head of UN Women, Hervé Ladsous, head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and Ms Bineta Diop, Founder and President of Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) – speaking on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, and over 60 member states.