His Excellency Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed,
Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations
UNSC Open debate on ‘Promoting the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda and sustaining peace through women’s political and economic empowerment’
United Nations, New York, 25 October 2018
Thank you Madam President,
I wish to thank the Government of Bolivia, for convening this important Debate on the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.
No society can sustain peace, nor can it realise peace dividends, unless women are involved in making decisions on peace-making and post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation. There is sufficient empirical evidence, including the examples cited in the Concept Note for this debate, which confirms that when we invest in cultivating the values of respect for the rights of women, gender equality, and in the rejection of discriminations against women, the chances are always higher for sustaining peace, and achieving social, and economic progress.
The Security Council has adopted eight Resolutions in the last sixteen years on the women, peace and security agenda. We are pleased to note that significant progress have been achieved in a number of countries as highlighted in the Concept Note. Furthermore, we would like to acknowledge that Security Council Resolution 2242 places a strong emphasis on achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the implementation of Agenda 2030.
It is, therefore, perhaps time that the Council prioritises a gender perspective in diagnosing security-risk situations, and in formulating solutions for reducing such risks. The Council must consider meaningful participation and empowerment of women across all agenda items, including in all mandate renewals. The Council must provide necessary leadership and follow-up on the implementation of the Resolutions and produce analytical evidence-based progress reports. Most importantly, the women, peace, and security agenda must become part of the regular toolbox of the Council, in addition to debates, such as this.
The Maldives is fortunate to have a tradition, in which household decisions are taken jointly by women and men in most situations. The Maldives has always had universal suffrage; we have always had maternal and paternal leave, which is now guaranteed by law. No discrimination in school enrolment, no discrimination in employment, and now, girls outperform boys in secondary school graduation as well.
Despite these achievements, the Maldives is continuing its efforts to overcome existing challenges in guaranteeing the rights of women. It is taking steps to increase the number of women in executive positions and decision-making roles in both Government and private sector, while continuously challenging the traditional paradigm that women, occupying senior positions in companies and Government would have to make a binary choice between career and family.
Through the Employment Act, the Maldives has already taken steps to ensure that women are guaranteed equal access to employment and equal pay for equal work as men. It also makes it illegal to use gender or marital status as a basis for terminating employment. In 2016, the Maldives enacted the Gender Equality Act, which outlines the steps that the Government, business entities, non-governmental organizations and other employers should take to ensure equality and non-discrimination towards women and girls. It also requires the Government and political parties to ensure that equal opportunities exist for women and girls to participate at all levels of political life.
Women are the custodians of any community’s cultural and spiritual values. We must accept that women’s role has changed at a rapid pace and is making its greatest impact today in all aspects of society. And we must ensure its progress is sustained and accelerated if we are to realise the promises that the Resolutions of this Council have made.
I thank you, Madam President