The Westin Beijing Chaoyang Hotel
10 December 2019
Dear Distinguished Experts,
Colleagues from the United Nations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the United Nations system in China, it is my pleasure to welcome you all in Beijing as part of the regional expert discussions on Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Northeast Asia. It is not a coincidence that the event is organized today, on 10 December, the International Human Rights Day, also a concluding day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. We, in the United Nations, remain committed to ideals of gender equality, and work towards fulfilling our common objective of leaving no one behind.
This important event brings together renowned experts from the Member States in Northeast Asia to discuss our coordinated steps towards a more robust implementation of the historic Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted here in 1995, almost 25 years ago. Today, the most visionary agenda for the empowerment of women and girls, in the form of Beijing+25, provides a reinvigorated framework to assess current challenges and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women in harmony with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
While all Sustainable Development Goals are interdependent, they also simultaneously depend on one thing – that we leverage the potential of women in our societies. Moreover, SDG 5 – gender equality – and SDG 16 – peace, justice and strong institutions – are at the core of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. This nexus provides us with the opportunity to enhance accountability for women’s rights and government’s gender equality commitments at large, strengthening the important links between Agenda 2030, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
Next year will also mark the 20thanniversary of the United Security Council Resolution 1325 – a landmark resolution on Women, Peace and Security, which paved the way for the whole WPS framework with more specific resolutions, and a mechanism involving the National Action Plans adopted by certain Member States.
Despite becoming the top priority for the entire UN system globally, we cannot say that we were able to achieve a groundbreaking progress. Recently, the Secretary General António Guterres said that the “change is coming at a pace that is too slow for the women and girls whose lives depend on it, and for the effectiveness of our efforts to maintain international peace and security”.
This makes our agenda even more urgent.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Northeast Asia is the fastest developing region in the world, with the lion’s share provided by China’s remarkable development in recent decades. China’s status as the world’s second biggest economy translates to its commitment as the second largest contributor to the UN regular budget.
China is a top provider of funds and troops to the global peacekeeping, which also recognizes the WPS agenda as a key priority. At a recent Security Council debate on WPS, China has renewed its commitment to the cause. China reinforced the need for gender equality and women's empowerment in conflict-affected countries with the need to establish special funds to support capacity building projects for women. It is in line with China’s ambitions to increase its contribution to South-South cooperation by providing support to initiatives in developing countries.
Rapid growth in the region does not ensure equality. Northeast Asian countries still rank in the lower half of the Global Gender Gap Index. The same applies for the Women in Parliaments ranking. At the same time, Northeast Asian countries are taking on an ever-growing leadership in various areas and becoming more proactive development aid providers.
This comes with an increasing responsibility to incorporate the WPS agenda in their development cooperation, in their humanitarian aid and emergency relief as well as to prioritize it into their peace efforts, both regionally and globally.
I would like to conclude thanking the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), and UN Women, for convening this important gathering at this important time. I hope that this dialogue platform will provide you with the opportunity to discuss next steps in promoting the WPS agenda regionally, as well as putting the Northeast Asian region on the global map of women, peace and security.