Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Debate on Women in Peacekeeping

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
Acting Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
April 11, 2019


Thank you, Madam President, and thank you for convening today’s open debate and for being with us in the Council this morning. Thanks, also, to our briefers today.

Madam President, I reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the full, effective, and meaningful participation of women in United Nations peacekeeping operations. With the U.S. Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, the United States became the first country to translate Resolution 1325 into national law. This historic milestone demonstrates the United States’ commitment to and leadership on the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.

We’re also advocates for improving peacekeeping performance in general; and increasing meaningful participation of women in peacekeeping is at the heart of performance. Security Council Resolutions 2242 and 2436, as well as the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative, charge us to expand opportunities for women in peacekeeping.

Madam President, as many previous speakers have affirmed, women improve the operational effectiveness of peacekeeping missions and can be important role models both in the communities where they deploy and within their own national systems. But we still have much work to do in overcoming sparse participation in military contingents, police units, and civilian support forces, let alone in addressing the paucity of uniformed women in higher ranks of peacekeeping operations.

The United States continues to work with Troop and Police-Contributing Countries through our U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative, GPOI, and the International Police Peacekeeping Operations Support, IPPOS, programs, which strengthen international capacity and capabilities to execute UN and regional peace operations. More than 11,000 female military and police personnel have already participated in U.S. peacekeeping training events.

In GPOI partner countries, we are also investing in infrastructure, such as building women’s barracks and latrines and removing barriers to women’s effective participation in peacekeeper training. GPOI partner countries have increased the number of women military peacekeepers deployed to UN peace operations by 89 percent since 2010 – compared to a seven-percent increase for non-GPOI partners.

The IPPOS program has funded UN-led workshops for women peacekeeping police candidates that focus on improving communications, investigating and report writing, driving, and firearms skills. Since 2014, we’ve increased the number of francophone women police eligible to deploy to UN missions, almost doubling the number recommended to deploy from 36 percent to over 50 percent.

Madam President, we encourage the adoption and revision where appropriate of National Action Plans and strategies on Women, Peace, and Security from all Member States. These important tools serve to catalyze commitments to increase women in peacekeeping and enhance women’s recruitment, retention, and deployment.

We welcome DPO’s Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy to increase the number of women in military and police contingents in United Nations peacekeeping operations. We urge Troop and Police Contributing Countries and all other stakeholders in peacekeeping to support the Strategy’s objectives.

Individually, Madam President, we should all be taking steps to address the persistent barriers facing women peacekeepers, and to overcome these impediments in our systems. Collectively, we should remove these barriers and advance the meaningful participation of women in peacekeeping through our resolutions and our programs. Success depends on our determined, coordinated efforts to improve peacekeeper performance by championing women’s participation in all aspects of our peacekeeping efforts.

I thank you.