Media Statement

31 October 2020

South Africa’s Vote on Women Peace and Security Resolution at the United Nations Security Council

An article in The Guardian newspaper of 30 October 2020, incorrectly suggested that the Russian sponsored UN Security Council resolution reversed years of progress in the women peace and security UN agenda. The writer totally misunderstood the resolution and the posture adopted by South Africa.

Despite progress that has been made in advancing gender equality and women empowerment, particularly following the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, South Africa is concerned that women continue to face discrimination and inequalities, hampering their full involvement in building sustainable societies.

Women and girls continue to bear the brunt of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment. In conflict situations in particular, their personal, economic, civil and political security is persistently undermined. Regrettably, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the disproportionate impact that women face in situations of crisis.

The international community’s efforts must continue to be geared towards finding sustainable solutions to the challenges that women continue to face. South Africa reiterates its unequivocal and firm support for the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and all resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council over the last twenty years in furthering the agenda. We have prioritised the WPS agenda during our term on the Security Council and we will continue to advance its implementation.

South Africa voted in favour of the resolution tabled for adoption at the United Nations Security Council on 30 October 2020, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325, in order to reaffirm the Security Council’s commitment to the WPS agenda and call on all member states to implement all previous resolutions adopted on the matter.

The resolution reaffirmed the entire normative framework of the Women, Peace and Security agenda by urging the implementation of all previous WPS resolutions adopted by Council to date. It thus preserved the gains made not only through Resolution 2493, which was unanimously adopted by the Security Council in 2019, but all UN Security Council resolutions on WPS. In addition, South Africa voted in favour of the resolution reassured by the fact that every UN Security Council resolutions on WPS maintains their relevance and none would have been superseded or negated by the resolution that was tabled for adoption.

Fundamentally, as a developing country, South Africa is pleased that the draft resolution emphasised the link between achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls to development and achievement of the Sustainable Development Agenda.

It is unfortunate that many Council members were not willing to constructively engage and seek compromise on the resolution. These differences undermine the spirit of collective multilateral action that is required for us to address the challenges facing women. Our experience on the Security Council as an elected member has shown us that these geopolitical differences threaten the effectiveness and credibility of the Security Council to carry out its mandate effectively.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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