WPS Agenda: Resolution 2493 (2019)
Resolution 2493 was adopted unanimously by the Security Council on October 29, 2019, marking the tenth resolution in the WPS Agenda. Through this resolution, aside from reaffirming the commitments undertaken under the preceding nine resolutions, states were urged to implement the agenda by guaranteeing and promoting the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in peace processes.
The Run up to Resolution 2493
Although much time has passed since the adoption of Resolution 1325, women continue to be excluded from peace and political processes – with peace agreements being adopted without any gender-sensitive provisions, and post-conflict justice mechanisms continuing to be inaccessible for several survivors of sexual violence in armed conflict.
Resolution 2493 was proposed and sponsored by Armenia, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Georgia, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Liberia, Morocco, North Macedonia, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay. In the run up to its adoption, there were several rounds of discussion that also led to several concessions being made for the text to see the light of day. At some point, civil society members and some states may have preferred no resolution at all than one that rolled back the agenda. In the nearly-two months between September 9, 2019 when South Africa circulated the first draft, and October 29, 2019 when the resolution was adopted, there were three face-to-face negotiations on September 17 and several rounds of negotiation via email.
South Africa’s aim with the resolution was to call for the full implementation of the WPS agenda, and to dedicate attention to the sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) of women. The US representative rejected the draft and demanded rolling back references to SRHR, and threatened that it would not support the implementation of the full agenda if the phrase were to be included – it called for the effective implementation, instead. Eventually, SRHR was dispensed with and “full implementation” remained in the text.
However, other member states offered full support. For example, the UK indicated its full support and noted that “an effective response to conflict-related sexual violence […] needs to include sexual and reproductive health services.” France issued a statement following the vote, noting that it was “regrettable that the Security Council continues to be silent on the crucial issue of sexual and reproductive health and rights” and welcomed “the fact that resolution 2493 calls for the full implementation of all resolutions on this agenda, which are mutually reinforcing and to which France is committed in all their aspects.”
Further, several of the member states also called for the deletion of the phrase “women human rights defenders,” but did not reject the indirect reference that eventually made it to the final formulation in Paragraph 6 (“encourages Member States to create safe and enabling environments for civil society, including formal and informal community women leaders, women peacebuilders, political actors, and those who protect and promote human rights, to carry out their work independently and without undue interference, including in situations of armed conflict, and to address threats, harassment, violence and hate speech against them”). Russia was among the nations that rejected the inclusion of “women human rights defenders,” saying that the resolution contained a number of provisions that “go beyond the Security Council’s mandate.” China reserved its position vis-à-vis paragraph 6 of the resolution.
While the original draft had called on the chairs of the Informal Expert Group on WPS to submit annual updates on progress toward implementing its recommendations, this provision was excluded. Instead, all that was left behind was a mere mention of the work of the expert group, with China saying that the group was not an official body and that any work done in the name of the Security Council should be consistent with the Security Council’s mandate and rules of procedure, and Russia claiming that the group had not successfully become a coordinating link in the chain of work in this area and was unable to avoid a “certain degree of politicization in its work.”
Eventually, however, the (watered down version of the) resolution was unanimously adopted.
What does Resolution 2493 say?
Broadly, Resolution 2493:
Urges members to fully implement the provisions of all previous resolutions under the WPS Agenda by ensuring and promoting the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all stages of peace processes, including through mainstreaming a gender perspective, and remain committed to increasing the number of civilian and uniformed women in peacekeeping at all levels and in key positions;
Urges members supporting peace processes to facilitate women’s full, equal and meaningful inclusion and participation in peace talks from the outset, both in negotiating parties’ delegations and in the mechanisms set up to implement and monitor agreements, encourages Member States to support efforts, including timely support to women to enhance their participation and capacity building in peace processes, in order to address the unequal representation and participation of women in the peace and security agenda;
Calls for its full implementation to further promote women’s participation in peacebuilding efforts, and in the prevention of conflict, and encourages the Peacebuilding Commission to continue to support the participation of women-led peacebuilding organizations, in planning and stabilization efforts in post-conflict reconstruction and recovery;
Calls on Member States to promote all the rights of women, including civil, political and economic rights, urges them to increase their funding on women, peace and security including through more aid in conflict and post-conflict situations for programmes that further gender equality and women’s economic empowerment and security, as well as through support to civil society
Requests that all Heads of UN Entities, lend all possible support to the Secretary-General in this matter to: (a) develop context-specific approaches for women’s participation in all UN-supported peace talks, including country specific situations, in order to contribute to full, equal and meaningful participation of women in peace and security, to ensure more inclusive participation; (b) to continue to make use of the UN’s annual consultations with regional organizations to encourage the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda as it relates to their specific contexts, further encourages cooperation and sharing of best practices as it relates to implementation of the agenda, as requested by regional and subregional organizations; (c) continue mainstreaming a gender perspective in the Secretariat and United Nations agencies, including through the system-wide gender parity strategy.
UN Security Council Adopts Resolution 2493 (Read)
Security Council Monthly Forecast (Read)
Violence against women’s health through the law of the UN Security Council: A critical international feminist law analysis of Resolutions 2467 (2019) and 2493 (2019) within the WPS agenda (Read)
Read Resolution 2493 (2019) here.
Documented by Kirthi Jayakumar