Australia to focus on women during Security Council Presidential term

Foreign Affairs Minister confirms Australia will use its Presidency in September to highlight leadership role of women in peace and conflict situations

The Australian National Committee for UN Women welcomed today’s commitment by the Australian Government to use its Presidency of the Security Council to highlight the role of women in global peace, conflict and security issues.

In an address to the National Press Club today, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr, confirmed that a key priority for Australia on the Security Council — particularly during its Presidency in September 2013 — will be to highlight the important leadership role women can play in ensuring long-lasting peace in fragile post‑conflict societies.

Australia’s Presidency of the Security Council also coincides with its seat on the UN Women Executive Board, which it has held since 1 January 2013.

Australian National Committee for UN Women President, Donelle Wheeler, said the Australian Government’s commitment to the women, peace and security agenda was a significant step forward.

“The National Committee for UN Women has advocated for the Australian Government to use its seat on both the Security Council and the UN Women Executive Board to ensure progress is made in ensuring women are active in decision-making roles in post-conflict situations,” Ms Wheeler said.

“Earlier this year, the National Committee called on the Australian Government to make women the focus of its global security agenda and we are pleased that Minister Carr has confirmed this commitment.

“We know that when women are active participants in post-conflict planning and recovery processes, they contribute to decision-making and lasting peace.

“With Australia currently having a seat on both the Security Council and UN Women Executive Board we are in a unique position to provide leadership on women’s participation in peace and security issues and it is important we do so.”

UN Women is currently supporting implementation of women, peace and security commitments in at least 37 countries. This includes:
• support for strengthening women’s peace coalitions and to help prepare them for engagement in peace processes;
• work with peacekeepers to help detect and prevent conflict-related sexual violence;
• support to build justice and security institutions that protect women and girls from violence and discrimination; and
• initiatives to promote public services that respond to women’s needs, ensure women’s access to economic opportunities, and build women’s engagement in public decision-making at national and local levels.