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Where are the words?

The Disappearance of the Women, Peace and Security in the Language of the Country-Specific UN Security Council Resolutions

The Where are the Words? report explores whether the UN Security Council is fulfilling its obligations vis-à-vis the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda as outlined in the 10 WPS resolutions and through its country-specific resolutions – and, if not, what we can do about it.

The report specifically examines the 10 WPS resolutions, the resolutions adopted between 2018-2019 and the country-specific resolutions on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Libya, Syria and Yemen. Additionally, the report examines the relationships of the WPS and country-specific resolutions with international law to better understand what insights these relationships can provide and how these insights can inform our advocacy.

Key findings

  1. There are nearly 2,500 WPS commitments reflective of international legal obligations contained in the ten WPS resolutions.

    The WPS resolutions are a collection of commitments that are reflective of legal obligations. There are nearly 2,500 specific commitments housed within 210 numbered (or “operative”) paragraphs of the ten WPS resolutions. 20+ specific actors are responsible for implementing them. This finding demonstrates the magnitude, scope and potential of the WPS resolutions

  2. Where are the words? Not in country-specific resolutions

    The UN Security Council should, by its own resolutions, incorporate WPS into country-specific resolutions.  An analysis of the country-specific resolutions adopted between 2018-2019 as well as sets of resolutions adopted on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Libya, Syria and Yemen shows that this is largely not happening.

  3. The UN Security Council does not receive the information it should receive on the status and implementation of the WPS Agenda in the UN Secretary-General’s reporting on country-specific situations.

    The UN Secretary-General is obligated to report on the implementation of country-specific resolutions. If information is not included in the UN Secretary-General’s reports on a given situation, it is unlikely to be reflected in the drafting of the next resolution on that situation.

    The UN Secretary-General’s reporting on the few WPS commitments that were incorporated into country-specific resolutions on DRC, Libya, Syria and Yemen was limited, insufficient and/or non-existent.

  4. However, the UN Security Council does receive, or has the opportunity to receive, enough information to act on the WPS Agenda; it just doesn’t.

    Women take risks to provide the UN Security Council with accurate information on the agenda items of which they brief. This information should be reflected in the UN Security Council’s resolutions and actions.

    The report outlines a number of recommendations to inform civil society activism around the agenda, as well as a number of key recommendations for diplomats to offer a path forward for continued engagement with the UN Security Council and to operationalise and reinforce the international legal standing of the WPS agenda.