On 13 October 2015, Baroness Verma announced eight new UK commitments on Women, Peace and Security and pledged $1 million of new funding to support the creation of the UN Global Acceleration Instrument (GAI).
This new UN initiative has been launched to mark the 15th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, a landmark UN agreement on women, peace and security, and in recognition that more needs to be done to fully implement the commitments outlined in the resolution. It will support UN agencies and NGOs in their work to empower women in conflict prevention, crisis response, peacebuilding and recovery.
Made in her capacity as Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department for International Development, Baroness Verma’s announcements demonstrate the UK’s commitment to driving forward global progress on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.
The announcement supports the considerable work already underway by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and Department for International Development as part of the UK’s National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security. The NAP was launched at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence held in London in June 2014.
Speaking at the launch, Baroness Verma said:
The UK is a staunch advocate of the United Nations’ work on Women, Peace and Security. We are determined that the voices of women involved in conflict are heard and will support and promote their active participation. The $1 million of support and 8 new commitments we set out today reinforce the place of the UK at the forefront of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
We also welcome the resolution adopted today. It makes clear that leadership and accountability for implementation are required by all actors.
Baroness Anelay, Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and FCO Minister said:
I want to pay tribute to UN Women, and to those civil society activists both in the UK and worldwide, for their leadership on this crucial agenda. Our work on Women, Peace and Security has moved forward significantly over the last 15 years – but we know that there is still much more to do to ensure full participation by women in creating sustainable peace in conflicts around the world. Today the UK has set the pace, demonstrating our continued commitment to making sure this becomes the norm.
Penny Mourdant, Minister of State for the Armed Forces at the Ministry of Defence said:
The UK is doing tremendous work to further the rights and protection of women and girls across the globe, leading the international community towards achieving real and lasting change, as can be proven here today. Yet our commitments and support cannot be onetime events, just as sexual violence against women and girls is not a onetime issue. The Women, Peace and Security agenda must become an intrinsic part of how UN member states operate, both internally and externally. The UK looks forward to continuing to work with the UN and its entities to advance this agenda over the next 15 years and beyond.”