Lawmakers discuss Women, Peace and Security agenda and impact of COVID-19 crisis on civil dimension of security

01 July 2020

NATO and its member states must continue to play a central role in the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic and intensify their efforts to address its tragic consequences, parliamentarians said on Wednesday.

At an online meeting of NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security, lawmakers discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on many aspects of the civil dimension of security. The debates focused, in particular, on the nexus between the pandemic and restrictions on fundamental freedoms and the worrying increase in disinformation and propaganda in the context of the sanitary crisis. Parliamentarians also addressed the gender implications of the pandemic, its impact on children and young people, and the link between the COVID-19 crisis and migration. 

Presenting a draft report on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the civil dimension of security, French lawmaker and Chair of the Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam pointed out that “The COVID-19 pandemic is an exceptional global sanitary crisis. It, therefore, calls for an extraordinary, coordinated, and worldwide response.” 

She added that “NATO and the Allies will have a central role to play in this response. Parliamentarians, and by extension the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, will have to be fully involved as well.”

Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam insisted on the need to draw lessons from the various national responses to the propagation of COVID-19 and its consequences. She said that these lessons would be essential for the Allies and NATO to be better prepared in the future to confront similar threats and to ensure that our societies become more resilient.

At the same meeting, 20 years after the unanimous adoption of Resolution 1325 by the United Nations Security Council, parliamentarians discussed the role of women in the peace and security sector and the importance of taking concrete measures to advance the Women, Peace and Security agenda. 

Presenting a draft report on the topic, German parliamentarian and General Rapporteur Ulla Schmidt emphasised that “the implementation of Resolution 1325 should not only be at the top of the international community’s agenda when the anniversary of its adoption is celebrated”. She added that, instead, “advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and more broadly gender equality and women’s rights, must be a constant preoccupation for policymakers in all aspects of their work.” 

Ulla Schmidt warned that, although far-reaching progress has been achieved in the past two decades with respect to women’s role in peace and security, it could be easily reversed, if it is not defended and promoted. Members of the commission agreed that NATO and the Allies should take the lead in translating existing policy frameworks, such as Resolution 1325, into further concrete actions.

She urged NATO and the Allies to take additional measures, in cooperation with other countries and international organisations, to bridge the remaining gap between the ambitions set out in the Resolution and the results achieved thus far.

Download the draft reports:
Advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda by Ulla SCHMIDT (Germany)
The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Civil Dimension of Security by Joëlle GARRIAUD-MAYLAM (France)


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