“It has been 21 years since the UN Security Council resolution 1325 was passed yet, we still meet to discuss the limited progress made. The doors that the resolution 1325 was meant to burst open have let in only a glimmer of light.
“But as women, as peacebuilders, as development practitioners, we take that glimmer, and we fight on,” Ms Bahous, who is also UN Under-Secretary-General, stated at the UN Security Council open debate on Women, Peace and Security, a document made available to the Ghana News Agency quoted her as saying.
She noted that the world body needed to significantly increase funding for the women, peace and security agenda and curb military spending and also do more to support women’s meaningful participation in peace and security processes.
“On the need to curb military spending: if we want to see a paradigm shift in the way we confront peace and security issues, we need to take a hard look at the levels and trajectory of global military spending.
“Curbing military spending has been a chief strategic objective of the women’s movement for peace. It was a key objective of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995; it was reaffirmed recently during the Generation Equality Forum, and it is essential to achieving SDG16,” the UN Women Executive Director stated.
The UN Under-Secretary-General explained that the evidence clearly showed that high levels of military spending in post-conflict settings increase the risk of renewed conflict.
“It also shows that investing in gender equality has a high return in peace dividends. Yet, we continue to over-spend in the former and under-invest in the latter,” she revealed.
Ms Bahous noted that in 2020, global military expenditure increased by 2.6 per cent even in the face of the contraction in the global economy of 3.3 per cent and the competing demands of COVID-19.
“That is nearly USD 2 trillion spent in the same year that all economies, whether in peace or conflict, struggled to meet people’s basic needs.
“In stark contrast, in humanitarian appeals, sectors that address gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health services are only funded at 33 per cent and 43 per cent respectively, compared with an average funding of 61 per cent for the overall appeal,” she noted.
The UN Women Executive Director expressed concern that all the ceasefire agreements reached globally between 2018 and 2020 included the prohibition of sexual violence, and the percentage of peace agreements with gender provisions stands at 28.6 per cent.
“At this critical juncture, we have to review prioritization. Thriving nations are equal nations. And equal nations are more peaceful nations. But people cannot thrive without investment in their basic needs, like health and social protection,” the UN Under-Secretary-General stated.
The UN Women Executive Director stated: “We rely on you to support the work of women’s civil society organizations, to condemn, investigate, and punish attacks against them, and to review the national laws that may be constraining their civic space and curtailing their activities and funding.
“When we act together, we can accomplish transformative change.”