On 19 November 2014, the Security Council held an open debate on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. The primary concern for speakers in the all-day debate was violent extremism in Syria and Iraq as well as the growing number of foreign fighters being recruited into these groups. A presidential statement (S/PRST/2014/23) was also issued, which emphasized addressing the root causes of violent extremism. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon gave opening remarks at the debate, and there were over 60 speakers in attendance.
Only 14 speakers used gendered language in their statements. Of these 14 speakers, only 5 speakers discussed sexual and gender-based violence, 4 included women in their suggestions for combating violent extremism and 5 speakers noted the importance of protecting women. In addition to these references, 2 speakers also mentioned that women were being recruited to join extremist groups. In briefing the debate, Chair of the Al‑Qaida Sanctions Committee, Gary Quinlan- noted in terms of long-term prevention: “We must also involve women and girls, and we have developed leadership training courses with them to help build community resilience.” Secretary General Ban Ki Moon did not include Women, Peace and Security language in his opening remarks, and similarly, the Presidential Statement was entirely gender-blind. Clearly, SCR 2122 implementation continues to remain limited. Implementation of the Women Peace and Security agenda needs to be prioritized at the forefront of all peace and security efforts.
All of the speakers addressed the concern of foreign recruits into terrorist groups and commented on the need to address the effects of terrorist groups in the region. The use of military force in combating terrorism was heavily debated in this meeting. With regards to this, the Council stated that: “terrorism will not be defeated by military force, law enforcement measures and intelligence operations alone...”, highlighting the importance of identifying and addressing the key drivers of radicalization. Along similar lines, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon noted: “Looking at these challenges solely through a military lens has shown its limits” and emphasized a rights-centered approached. However, no speakers made any mention of the effect of such increased militarization on women or girls. Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda requires speakers to have more political will to take concrete steps forward.