The United Nations Security Council Unanimously Adopts New Resolution On Women, Peace and Security


30 October 2019

The United Nations Security Council Unanimously Adopts New Resolution On Women, Peace and Security
The Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 2493 at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Oct. 29, 2019. Photo: Eskinder Debebe/ UN Photo

​On Tuesday 29 October, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2493 (2019). It is the 10th resolution to be adopted under the normative framework of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) by the Security Council since the landmark resolution 1325 in 2000. Resolution 2493 urges member states to commit to implementing the nine previously adopted resolutions. The resolution was initiated by South Africa. 

​Rarely has the drafting process or adoption of new Security Council resolution on WPS sparked as much attention and debate as UNSCR 2467 passed on 23 April 2019. A core point of contention arose when the United States threatened to use the veto if language on 'sexual and reproductive health' and 'health services' was not removed from the resolution. Furthermore, Russia and China abstained from the vote, constituting the first time in the history of the Women, Peace and Security agenda that not all 15 Security Council members voted in favour of a new resolution.

Due to the conflicts leading up to the adoption of Resolution 2467 in April, many feared a new polarising drafting process leading to voting abstentions or even vetoes, which would further weaken the WPS agenda. The PRIO GPS Centre has followed the drafting process and adoption of Resolution 2493. While the text purports to focus on the full implementation of all previous WPS resolutions, its greater significance is arguably in re-establishing Council consensus on the WPS agenda.

However, the Council members have different understandings of the new resolution. The United States noted that any reference to 'full implementation' did not pertain to sexual and reproductive heath and rights, previously mentioned in UNSCR 2122 The UK, Belgium, Germany and France countered by underlining that "full implementation" means just that. Furthermore, the resolution refers to 'those who protect and promote human rights', rather than the term 'human rights defenders'.

Norway co-sponsored and supported the adoption of Resolution 2493.