Women, peace, and security


Women with the Afghan National Army Air Force & International Force during an International Women’s Day celebration in Kabul. Photo: Sgt. Dustin Payne.

The meeting began with acknowledging the fact the first woman president had won the election in Ethiopia. This gave way into the discussion of the political and economic empowerment of women. Women need to be apart of peace and security agendas. Many already are, but they need to be further supported in reducing any challenges. There has been progression, especially within women’s groups who focus on this large issue. Although there has been progress, there is still a long way to go.

Women peace workers help. Women can be quickly drawn into the conflict and be severely affected by it, so more women need to be able to speak on their behalf. Women are better aware of their community needs. Gender equality programming is needed to address the devastating effects by building sustainable peace. There has been a systematic failure to bring women in peacekeeping. Women are constantly excluded. It was brought up that there is a significant gap with what it is said in UN chamber and what is actually going on in the world. Superficial efforts need to come to an end and they need to become concrete.

Women are active and resilient. They have negotiated ceasefires, safe zones, drawn up protection plans. This includes women from various countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, among others. They need to be enabled to do even more. One main way to give women this chance is education. During the conflict, girls are more likely to be out of primary schools. Child marriage is high in these conflict areas. Not only is a girl likely to not be attending school, but she is likely to get pregnant. Maternal mortality is almost twice the global ratio in conflict and post-conflict areas. Education is a catalyst for equal participation.

The way the world views the role of women needs to be changed. Women are perceived to not have the skills or knowledge to handle these important roles. Greater participation of women in political life causes a stronger path for peace. Global peace and security are enhanced when helping women. It was said that no woman needs to be given a voice, there just needs to be more listening.

Meeting:  Women and peace and security

Location/time/date: Security Council Chamber, UN HQ-NYC; 10:00 PM – 12:45 PM, October 25, 2018


  • Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
  • Ms. Randa Siniora Atallah, General Director of the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling
  • Her Excellency Mara Marinaki, Principal Adviser for Gender and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women
  • Ms. Narjess Saidane, Permanent Observer of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie
  • Ms. Amarsanaa Darisuren, Senior Advisor on Gender Issues of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
  • Ms. Clare Hutchinson, Special Representative of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General for Women, Peace and Security
  • Secretary-General, His Excellency António Guterres
  • Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden
  • Yoka Brandt, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
  • Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office of Germany
  • Simona Leskovar, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia
  • Iryna Herashchenko, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Written by: WIT Representative Yasmeen Razack

Guaranteeing children’s right to participate: the big step needed

download (1)Mr. Taalas introduced the event, discussing the need to guarantee children’s rights to participate in decisions affecting their lives. Ms. Samardzic-Markovic stressed the need to guarantee that children are heard and understood. Evidence has proven that adults “acting in best interest of the child” have often failed. Critics argue that: children lack competence/experience to participate, children must learn responsibility before giving them rights, listening to children will cause lack of respect for authority; but, Ms. Samardzic-Markovic stated that these arguments are incorrect. Adults in powerful positions over children exploit that power. Children’s interests are disregarded and excluded in public policy. This exclusion is caused by adult prejudices, poor listening, minimal information being provided to the child, and intimidating formal settings that hamper a child’s involvement. To maintain democratic status, public policy should inform and acknowledge children participation.

An assessment tool needs to be designed to evaluate the progress of ensuring child participation within governmental policy. Ms. Koskelo addresses the CRC’s legal binds to regard and protect children as individuals. She also states children “cannot bear being left alone” and highlights the need to support children without shifting adult responsibilities onto them. Ms. Koskelo also addressed the difficulties of child-abuse court proceedings and mentions that many child-victims are often left unnoticed. Ms. Pais states that children have two goals: education that empowers them and a world with security, safety, and peace. She emphasized the need for child-friendly versions of important documents to properly inform children. Ms. Sandberg mentions that adults should be more open to the medias children choose to express themselves with. She believes in educating children about the power and influence of their rights. The conference concluded with a presentation on youth outreach through technology by youth representatives of RedNATIC, a Latin American NGO.

Meeting: Event on “Guaranteeing children’s right to participate: the big step needed” (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Finland, the Council of Europe and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children)
Location/Date: Wednesday, November 19th; Conference Room 7, United Nations Headquarters.
Speakers: Mr. Janne Taalas, Moderator and Director of Policy Planning and Research at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland; Ms. Snezana Samardzic-Markovic, Director General of Democracy at the Council of Europe; Ms. Pauliine Koskelo, President of the Supreme Court of Finland; Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG); Ms. Kirsten Sandberg, Chair of the Government of Norway to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Pro-Dean for Education of the Faculty of Law; Jorge Joaquin Laslop Yanez, Gal Rozic, and Marcela Rut Czarny, Latin America Network of Children and Adolescents on ICTs (RedNATIC)
Written By WIT Representatives: Ellie Guner and Brian Lee

Edited By WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

Early Childhood Development – Essential in the Post 2015 Development Agenda

Today at the United Nations, the twelfth session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development commenced. It marks a weeklong platform for debate on the methods of work of the Rio+20 outcome document, including developing modalities to ensure the full involvement of relevant stakeholders and expertise from civil society, the scientific community and the United Nations system.
A special event co-hosted primarily by Colombia, Ecuador and Italy aimed to strongly move forward in the approach to ensuring early child development as an important indicator to drive human development. H.E María Mejía stated that 6.6 million children die around the world each year due to preventable diseases and highlighted that “early age, thus, becomes the only time one can shape success for a society”. Ms. Cecilia Vaca further emphasized the political importance of early child development. Using the 2008 Ecuadorian constitution (that prioritizes the state, society and family) as the prime example, she urged member states to establish a developmental path within their judicial frameworks that recognizes the rights of the child to education and healthcare above all.

ImageH.E Sebastiano Cardi emphasized the significance of maternal healthcare. He posited that children’s health is closely linked to and dependent upon the healthcare instruments prevalent in countries for expecting mothers. Mr. James Wolfensohn strongly upheld the notion that unless governments of developing countries deal with young people, their health and education, there can be no future for the society.

All panelists were in tandem that child development and maternal healthcare are quintessential prerequisites to sustainable human development. The event concluded by giving a sense of possibility that this challenge, with the continued effort of member states, civil society and other stakeholders, can become every child’s reality.



The Foundation for Sustainable Human Development for 2015 and Beyond was a special event that coincided with the 12th session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development (OWG). The event aimed to push forward the importance of child development in achieving sustainable human development.


Meeting Title: “Foundation for Sustainable Human Development for 2015 and Beyond”
Moderator: Ms. Pia Britto, Global Head of Early Childhood Development, UNICEF
Speakers: H.E María Emma Mejía, Permanent Representative of Colombia; H.E Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy; Ms. Cecilia Vaca, Minister of Social Development, Ecuador; Mr. James Wolfensohn, former World Bank President; Mr. Lu Mai, Secretary-General, China Development Research Foundation; Ms. Tessa Jowell, MP, Member of United Kingdom Parliament; Ms. Louise Zimanyi, Executive Director, Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development; and
Date: 16 June 2014
Conference Room 2United Nations Headquarters, New York
Written by WIT Representative:
Apurv Gupta
Edited by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan