United Nations Security Council
Open Debate on “Women and peace and security:
Towards the 25th anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000)”
New York, 7 March 2023
As we approach the 25th anniversary of resolution 1325, it is both timely and appropriate that we reassess how best to address the unique needs of women in conflict and their important role in its prevention and resolution. Over the past few years, violence—including sexual violence—against women and girls has increased, while women’s representation in peace processes has declined, demonstrating that the current approach is falling short.
As Pope Francis noted in his January address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, “when human rights are fully recognized for all, women can offer their unique contribution to the life of society and to be the first allies of peace.”Despite this, he observed that, “in many countries, women are considered second-class citizens”, facing violence, abuse and limited access to education, employment, healthcare and other basic necessities. The Holy See condemns such treatment and deplores the situation faced by many women and girls, who are systematically denied the benefit of education.
During his recent Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, Pope Francis highlighted the potential of women to transform violent societies into peaceful ones, when they “are protected, respected, valued and honored.” To unlock this potential, this Council must ensure that women, especially “mothers who know how life is generated and safeguarded,” receive opportunities to participate more fully in peace processes and in all facets of “political life and decision-making processes.”
The Women and Peace and Security agenda cannot be successfully implemented unless the primary drivers that contribute to the worsening circumstances of women and girls are addressed. These include not only conflict—such as the abhorrent war in Ukraine and oft-forgotten conflicts in Africa and the Middle East—but also extremism and the diversion of ever more resources towards arms expenditures, including for nuclear weapons, whose effects disproportionately impact women and girls.
In closing, allow me to return to the words of Pope Francis, who recognizes that “the tender love of mothers, who give life to the world, and the presence of women are the true alternative to the baneful logic of power that leads to war.”
Thank you, Madam President.
 [For reference only: S/2022/740, Report of the Secretary-General on Women and peace and security, 5 October 2022.]
 Pope Francis, Address to Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See, 9 January 2023.
 Cf. Idem.
 Cf. Idem.
 Pope Francis, Address at Meeting with Internally Displaced Persons in South Sudan, 4 February 2023.
 Pope Francis, Address During Meeting with the Authorities, Civil Society and the Diplomatic Corps in South Sudan, 3 February 2023.
 Cf. Pope Francis, Address During Meeting with the Authorities, Civil Society and the Diplomatic Corps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 31 January 2023.
 Pope Francis, Address During Meeting with Authorities, Civil Society and the Diplomatic Corps in South Sudan, 3 February 2023.
 Pope Francis, Address During Meeting with the Authorities, Civil Society and the Diplomatic Corps in Malta, 2 April 2022.