[2024-05-24] Ban Ki-moon: “The essential role of women in peacebuilding must be placed at the center of our efforts”

 In 이사장 활동

Ban Ki-moon speaking at ‘The Korea Peacekeeping Forum for Women’s Empowerment’ on 23 September 2023. Photo: UN Women/Park Chan Young

Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and the first man to sign up to the HeForShe campaign, attended UN Women-hosted “Korea Peacekeeping Forum for Women’s Empowerment” in Seoul last year, where he underscored the critical role women play in peace and security as well as the urgent need to increase women’s leadership in military and peace operations. On the occasion of International Day of UN Peacekeepers, we reproduce excerpts from his keynote speech at the Forum.

“The essential role of women in peacebuilding must be placed at the center of our efforts. Indeed, women suffer under the full impacts of war, yet their vital contributions are all too often overlooked and under-appreciated.Empowering women and girls and promoting gender equality are essential for solving the world’s biggest challenges. This is particularly relevant in our current era, marked by interconnected crises and heightened global uncertainty.

During my tenure as the UN Secretary-General, I devoted much of my time and energy to advancing the rights of women and fighting for gender equality.  When I commenced my work, I saw that most of the senior positions at the UN were taken by men. I saw it as injustice and began to appoint capable and devoted women in senior positions. When I sought to appoint women in leadership posts, however, some expressed their concerns on the basis of gender that a woman might not be able to handle tough situations, especially in UN’s peacekeeping operations. I disagreed. So I appointed Major-General Kristin Lund as first woman Force Commander of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in 2014. I firmly believed in her and was proud to see her leading our operation so well.

The landmark Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, recognizes this crucial role of women in crafting peace negotiations and agreements. It also urges all actors to incorporate gender perspectives in all UN peace and security efforts. However, in almost every country, women remain under-represented in decision-making positions, particularly in the military service and the peacebuilding sector. Currently, women represent 19 per cent of delegations in UN-led peace processes—down from 23 per cent in 2020. Against this backdrop, I believe there is a need to empower women military officers, by equipping them with UN practice and leadership skills to actively participate in the UN Peacekeeping forces, advance their positions in senior leadership, and benefit local communities.

I humbly recognize the valiant UN peacekeeping officers who have devoted their lives and made the greatest sacrifice for the guiding values of the United Nations. Their courage has greatly contributed to keeping the peace in nearly every corner of the world. They have donned the blue helmet to help uphold the UN vision, pledging to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. To all the women and men peacekeepers, past, present, and future, I salute you all. Thank you for your contribution.”


Source: UN Women

Ban Ki-moon: “The essential role of women in peacebuilding must be placed at the center of our efforts” | UN Women – Asia-Pacific