Thank you, Mr. President,  

I would like to thank you for organizing this debate on how to prevent conflict-related sexual violence. At the same time, it's one of the most frequent and serious crimes, and one that – as we've just heard – almost always goes unpunished. We must change that. My thanks also go to the three speakers - in particular Ms. Ahmadi for her moving testimony and her courage, as well as the Sudanese women, and tell her that we won't forget you.   

The Women, Peace and Security Agenda is first and foremost a peace agenda: you have reminded us of this by placing disarmament and demilitarization at the heart of this debate. It has also been emphasized that the gender dimension of disarmament and arms control is anchored in a solid normative framework, which the international community must however now systematically implement. 

The pioneering nature of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda lies in the union of the three pillars comprising prevention, protection and participation. These pillars are not only mutually reinforcing, but they can all be strengthened through disarmament and arms control.  

So allow me to be very concrete. First and foremost, prevention. To prevent the illegal trade and misuse that fuel violence in general and gender-based violence in particular, the flow of arms must become more accountable and transparent. To this end, a number of concrete avenues exist:   

As discussed at an Arria meeting hosted by Switzerland last month, we need to make better use of the CEDAW recommendations. These recommendations have historically called for accountability of arms exports in contexts where gender-based violence is prevalent.   

We also need reliable information to build capacity for early warning, rapid action and accountability. Data on the use of weapons and ammunition, including diverted weapons and ammunition, needs to be more widely collected. Data collection and monitoring capacity must be a priority for UN missions, particularly in transitional contexts.  

At the national level, we must integrate disarmament and arms control into 1325 action plans, and integrate a gender-based approach into our disarmament strategies.   

Mr. President,  

The prevention of violence and the eradication of gender-based violence are also hampered by the persistence of discriminatory social norms, often associated with harmful models of masculinity that link the exercise of power to the carrying of weapons. 

Secondly, participation. These norms, just mentioned, widen the participation gap, preventing women from fully contributing to decisions concerning peace and security, without fear of being targeted or having their role and actions systemically questioned.   

In this sense, women's participation in decision-making processes must be increased in forums dealing with disarmament, arms control and the arms trade. This also applies to the management of new weapons and the use of artificial intelligence in the arms industry. Women's participation is essential to transform the gendered power dynamics that fuel violence.   

Finally, I'd like to turn to the protection pillar, recalling the need to make better use of the tools defined by the normative framework to protect the civilian population from violence and weapons.  

A large number of weapons and munitions are still being transferred and diverted to several of the countries mentioned in the Secretary-General's report - and this despite the very high rates of sexual and gender-based violence and the well-documented role of weapons in such violence. Arms embargoes are insufficiently respected and enforced.                                                                                       

There is an urgent need for all arms and munitions exporters to implement their duty of due diligence by integrating a gender perspective, as stipulated in particular by the Global Framework for Through-life Conventional Ammunition Management. This must include a risk assessment of the entire supply chain, and can be complemented by collaboration with civil society organizations.

Mr. President,   

It is our duty to do everything we can to reduce violence against women. The Women, Peace and Security Agenda provides us with a clear framework, based on three pillars: prevention, participation and protection. Arms control and disarmament are a powerful lever for strengthening these pillars, and we must use it, and we can do this to ensure that violence and impunity come to an end. 

I thank you.

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