SRSG Carlos Ruiz Massieu Closing remarks From Words to Actions: The experience of the UN Special Political Missions in Colombia on women, peace and security

20 Oct 2020

SRSG Carlos Ruiz Massieu Closing remarks From Words to Actions: The experience of the UN Special Political Missions in Colombia on women, peace and security

SRSG Carlos Ruiz Massieu closing remarks
From Words to Actions: The experience of the UN Special Political Missions in Colombia on women, peace and security (2016-2020)
20 October 2020


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me also thank everyone for being here today, those who have joined us virtually from across the globe, Member States, Government entities, civil society, academia, the international cooperation and the general public.

Particularly I would like to thank the distinguished panelists joining us representing women from the Government of Colombia, FARC political party, and Colombian women’s organizations.  You represent the thousands of women in Colombia who are in the frontline of peacebuilding efforts, in several different places and roles.

Today, as we launch our study ¨From Words to Actions¨ on the experiences of the UN Political Missions in Colombia on Women, Peace and Security, we are encouraged that our presence and our work can be of contribution to all of your efforts to advance the Women, Peace and Security agenda in the country. At the same time, we are all reminded of the great responsibility we have to continue working jointly to ensure a gender-sensitive implementation of the Peace Agreement and to strengthen women’s active and meaningful participation in peacebuilding efforts in Colombia.

Since their establishment, the UN Special Political Missions in Colombia have made the gender, women, peace and security agenda one of its main priorities. As Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission, I maintain regular contact with women´s representatives of civil society, permanently exchange views with the Government and FARC, and articulate efforts with the Government and UN Country Team to support the implementation of the gender provisions of the Peace Agreement and the women, peace and security agenda to achieve a lasting and sustained peace in Colombia.

I am a strong believer that we in the UN have an important role to play by demonstrating through our own example our commitment to promote women´s rights and women´s inclusion in peace efforts by the United Nations. Our Mission, in line with the Secretary-General’s Gender Parity Strategy has reached parity across the Mission with 50% of female civilian staff and has made progress achieving 38% of female international observers. In addition, I have personally requested all Mission staff to include gender indicators as part of their performance work plans, and we have adopted a Gender Directive to guide our work under the leadership of our DSRSG. I assure you that we will continue to work to advance the WPS agenda and to support a gender sensitive implementation of the Agreement.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

The Final Peace Agreement between the Government of Colombia and the former FARC-EP has been considered a model in the inclusion of the gender and women's rights approach. It is encouraging that almost four years after the signing of the Agreement, the women of Colombia continue to be a driving force behind its implementation.

Throughout today's session, we have heard the valuable experiences that Colombia can bring to other peace processes around the world, including the role of women's organizations in peace negotiations and in promoting a gender-sensitive implementation process, the commitment of the parties, both government and FARC, to implementing the gender provisions of the Peace Agreement, and the importance of including the voices and experiences of women former combatants to ensure a gender-sensitive reintegration process. Indeed, through my visits to communities in Colombia, I have witnessed the tireless work of Colombian women to build peace and defend their rights and those of their communities.

This month, as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325, we celebrate that Colombian women continue to give us examples of their strength, courage and perseverance to promote greater and better participation in local development or to encourage dialogue and joint work with the authorities to improve their protection.

The restaurant "La Rancha de mi Pueblo" in Quibdo (Chocó), run by 29 women former combatants together with women from the community, is a true initiative that promotes their economic empowerment from a gender perspective and supports reconciliation. In the Putumayo region, women social leaders and human rights defenders continue their work, including through the joint implementation of the action plan of the Regional Roundtable for the Security of Women Leaders and Human Rights Defenders in Putumayo. This has been done despite the threats and insecurity they face every day. These achievements inspire us to do more for an inclusive peace, where women are at the forefront of these efforts.

However, we also recognize that challenges remain in improving the security of women social leaders and human rights defenders, ensuring stronger participation of women former combatants in reintegration efforts, and addressing the scourge of sexual and gender-based violence, which has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women's voices, resilience and leadership must be protected and strengthened to ensure that peacebuilding efforts can reach their full potential. As I did recently to the Security Council, I would like to pay tribute to the women leaders and members of women's organizations whom I have met in my visits around the country; to the women social leaders who are too often threatened in their communities; to the victims who actively participate in reconciliation efforts; to the women leaders of ethnic organizations who strive to protect their culture and guarantee the rights of their communities; and to the women former combatants who strive in their reintegration process to ensure that their rights and needs remain at the center of the process. We must all be motivated by them to do more.

For this reason, I encourage all actors, including the government and the FARC party, to take inspiration from the anniversary of Resolution 1325 to redouble their efforts to fully implement the gender provisions of the Agreement, hand in hand with the leadership of women's organizations at the national and local levels. It is critical that ongoing alliances be established between the government, women leaders, and the international community in support of their transformational work.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

We are convinced that societies that give women the space to fully participate are among the most resilient and most peaceful. So, today, we recommit to these women, to continue implementing resolution 1325, reducing the gap between their aspirations and the opportunities for them to be protagonists in peacebuilding in Colombia.


I thank you.


Download the Lessons Learned Study "From Word to Action: The experience of the UN Special Political Missions in Colombia on women, peace and security (2016-2020)" here

Download the Executive Summary of the report here

Watch the event here