Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on women, peace and security and youth.

Thank you, President, and let me thank Mozambique for convening this meeting. I’m also grateful to all our briefers for their remarks today. 

As they have set out, it is critical that we move from commitments to concrete actions on women, peace and security and youth, peace and security.

I will set out three broad priorities. 

First: participation. We know that women’s full, equal, meaningful and safe participation – as leaders, negotiators and peacebuilders – greatly enhances the chances of long-lasting peace. 

We are working to make this a reality. Through the Peacebuilding Fund, the UK is supporting women and youth initiatives, including in Liberia, Somalia, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. We recently launched a programme of over $900,000 supporting women peacebuilders including in South Sudan and elsewhere.

We fund Women Mediators Across the Commonwealth, a group of 50 conflict mediators engaged in conflict prevention. For example, Commonwealth members from West Africa are working with women and communities in Niger, leading innovative solutions to stop conflict before it starts. 

We want to see this expertise being used at scale, with networks of women mediators and grassroots women’s organisations engaged across all issues on this Council’s agenda.

Second: empowerment. By amplifying the voices of those most affected by conflict, we can better address and mitigate its impacts. During the UK presidency last year, we supported the first child civil society representative to address this Council in person. Last week, my minister convened a roundtable in London of girls from South Sudan, DRC, Ukraine and the West Bank to hear their thoughts on the most pressing needs of children in conflict settings.

Our Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative prioritises the voices of survivors and puts them at the heart of decision-making, including through a Survivor Advisory Group.  

Third: protection. Women and young people disproportionately bear the brunt of conflict. For children who grow up in war, the scars of conflict, including conflict-related sexual violence, remain into their youth and well beyond.  

The UK’s Platform for Action Promoting the Rights and Wellbeing of Children Born of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence is dedicated to addressing the urgent challenges faced by this vulnerable group. It includes commitments to action from the UK, Canada and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

President, the Summit of the Future and the New Agenda for Peace provide opportunities to advance our collective efforts to prevent conflict. Let us commit to moving from words to action, to empower women and youth, and take decisive steps to a more just and equitable future. I thank you.

Published 28 May 2024