6005th Meeting (AM & PM)
Hears 50 Speakers in Day-Long Debate on 'Women and Peace and Security',
Reaffirms Commitment to Implementation of Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008)
After a day-long debate on "Women, peace and security", in which more than 50 speakers participated, the Security Council today issued a strong condemnation of all violations of international law committed against women and girls during and after armed conflicts.
In a statement read by this month's Council President, Zhang Yesui (China), the Council urged complete and immediate cessation of such violations by all parties, and urged Member States to bring to justice those responsible for crimes of that nature.
Reaffirming its commitment to the full and effective implementation of its resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008), the Council urged Member States, international, regional and subregional organizations to take measures to increase the participation of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and to strengthen the role of women as decision-makers in those areas. The Council further called upon the Secretary-General to appoint more women to pursue good offices on his behalf, particularly as special representatives and special envoys.
In its presidential statement, the Council requested the Secretary-General to submit to it by October 2009 a report on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), including information on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls in situations of which the Council was seized, on the obstacles and challenges to strengthening women's participation in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, as well as recommendations to address those issues.
Introducing the Secretary-General's report (document S/2008/622) on progress and challenges in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, said much progress had been made in the past years in mainstreaming a gender perspective into the overall peace and security architecture and stepping up efforts to end gender violence.
She said that, despite successes, however, women continued to be marginalized and ignored. Their full force could be harnessed by increasing their representation at higher levels of decision-making and by ending gender-based violence against women. "To engage those resources requires a fundamental shift in our thinking", she said. "It must become unthinkable not to have women integrally involved in every stage of peace and post-conflict reconstruction processes."
Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said it was no exaggeration to say that in the eight years since its adoption, resolution 1325 (2000) "has changed the way we do business in peacekeeping". From planning processes to guidance development, training, staffing and operational priority-setting, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was ensuring that gender issues were accorded due priority.
He said that the United Nations' role as standard-setter required that, in all negotiations with national authorities, the importance of women's participation must be underlined. Exercising the standard-setting role also required that there must be more women in senior positions, both within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Services, and at the field level. Some modest progress had been made in that regard. Efforts to increase the number of uniformed peacekeeping personnel to better respond to operational priorities remained a challenge, however. To reverse that trend, there was a need for troop- and police-contributing countries to nominate greater numbers of women, particularly as military observers and as police officers. It was unfortunate that no woman had yet been appointed as Force Commander or Deputy Force Commander.
Inés Alberdi, Executive Director, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), said women's engagement in peacebuilding did not start when the fighting stopped. Gender issues must be addressed in conflict mediation, in peacekeepers' deployment, in integrated missions, in stabilization and in post-conflict recovery. That was particularly important in conflicts in which sexual violence was used as a tactic of war. "If abuses of women's rights are tolerated through de facto impunity for perpetrators, efforts to restore the rule of law lose their credibility", she said. If countries and the international community did not respond decisively to violence against women, they would raise the cost of peacebuilding.
Sarah Taylor, Coordinator, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, drew attention to the fact that women were "dramatically" underrepresented in the United Nations' 30 missions and should be appointed to more leadership positions. It was unacceptable that the exceptions to that situation were seen as novelties, she said, urging for a clear and transparent process for Member States to submit names of women to the Secretary-General for appointments to high-level posts. Aside from other benefits, women's participation at those levels and their presence at field level were crucial for ending sexual violence.
In the ensuing debate, speakers acknowledged progress made during the eight years since resolution 1325 was adopted, but noted the continuing gender gap in participation in peace negotiations and mediation, as well as in peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations. Speaking on behalf of the European Union, France's representative said that both resolution 1325 (2000) and resolution 1820 (2008), which had been adopted last June and recognized sexual violence as an undermining force to establishing peace and security, were far from being fully implemented, as shown by the alarming situation of women in armed conflicts.
Addressing sexual violence during conflicts, the representative of the United States said rape was a crime that not only ruined individual lives, but also tore apart communities. Women's issues must be spread across all development areas, and additional attention must be paid to sexual trafficking and slavery. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations should draw upon all available resources to combat sexual violence as a tactic of war and ensure women's participation at all decision-making levels and in peace processes.
The representative of the Russian Federation, however, said that the attention for the protection of women in conflicts had been reduced to a focus on sexual violence, while other crimes against women had been ignored. Cases in which women and children had been killed as a result of excessive use of force should also be of concern. Such crimes often went unpunished, and the Council should assess such cases in an unbiased way.
Many speakers underlined the contribution women could make to conflict prevention, peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction. Some asked for the establishment of a gender unit within the Department of Political Affairs.
Speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), South Africa's representative said that, while women might be the first casualties of war, they remained active agents of change and played a meaningful role in the recovery and reintegration of their families. Women were also instrumental in bringing about democracy and reconciliation in post-conflict society. Women had provided leadership and important contributions in recent peace processes and negotiations in the region. Lack of women's participation was largely due to lack of political will and of financial resources for the promotion of the gender perspective, he stressed.
Statements were also made by Council members Italy, Indonesia, Panama, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Viet Nam, Libya, Costa Rica, United Kingdom and China.
Natalya Petkevich, Deputy Head of the President's Administration of Belarus, also addressed the Council, as did the representatives of the Philippines, Liechtenstein, Australia, Ghana, Austria, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Ireland (on behalf of the Human Security Network), Bangladesh, Switzerland, Germany, Congo, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Swaziland, Israel, Iceland, Afghanistan, Kenya, Argentina, Portugal, Morocco, Sweden, Uganda, Chile, Norway, Colombia, Finland, Myanmar, Rwanda, Denmark, Tonga (on behalf of Pacific Small Island Developing States) and the Republic of Korea.
The Permanent Observer for the African Union also made a statement.
The meeting started at 10:12 a.m. and was suspended at 1:05 p.m. The meeting was resumed at 3:05 p.m. and adjourned at 6:45 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2008/39 reads, as follows:
"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the full and effective implementation of resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) on 'Women and peace and security' and recalls the relevant statements of its President.
"The Security Council takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on 'Women and peace and security' (S/2008/622).
"The Security Council remains concerned about the underrepresentation of women at all stages of a peace process and in peacebuilding, and recognizes the need to facilitate the full and effective participation of women in these areas, given the vital role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding.
"The Security Council urges Member States, international, regional and subregional organizations to take measures to increase the participation of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding and to strengthen the role of women as decision-makers in these areas. The Council calls upon the Secretary-General to appoint more women to pursue good offices on his behalf, particularly as Special Representatives and Special Envoys.
"The Security Council strongly condemns all violations of international law committed against women and girls during and after armed conflicts, urges the complete cessation by all parties of such acts with immediate effect, and also urges Member States to bring to justice those responsible for crimes of this nature.
"The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to provide a report on the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) over the coming year; including information on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls in situations of which the Council is seized, on the obstacles and challenges to strengthening women's participation in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and recommendations to address those issues; to be submitted to the Security Council by October 2009."
As the Security Council met today for its thematic debate on "Women and peace and security", members had before it a letter from the Permanent Represent of China, the current Council President, to the Secretary-General of 15 October, containing a concept paper entitled "Women's equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security" (document S/2008/655).
According to that concept paper, Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) signified a landmark in recognition of women's contribution to the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and their specific needs and concerns in armed conflict and its aftermath. Since its adoption eight years ago, the Council has stressed the importance of women's equal participation in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. Despite gains made, women's effective and systematic representation in formal peace processes still remains weak, due in part to insufficient political will and resources. Nations are increasingly engaged in supporting gender equality in peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction, but efforts often do not include gender perspectives.
The concept paper suggests that Council members and other Member States might consider: how to establish an enabling environment for women's participation and what role the United Nations could play in supporting those efforts; how to enlarge political space for women in peace talks and implementation of peace agreements; how to promote gender balance and expertise in delegations; and what kind of training was needed to enhance women's conflict resolutions and peacebuilding skills.
The Council also had before it the Secretary-General's report on women, peace and security (document S/2008/622), which contains critical areas and concerns related to the impact of armed conflict on women, an overview of progress and challenges in implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) by Member States, United Nations entities and civil society, best practices to improve capacities of Member States, and conclusions and recommendations.
The report notes that millions of women and children continue to account for the majority of casualties in hostilities and that, in armed conflicts and post-conflict situation, women bear the brunt of shattered economies and social structures. The targeted use of sexual violence is increasingly becoming a potent weapon of war and a destabilizing factor in conflict and post-conflict societies. The impunity for perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence continues to loom over countries in conflict or emerging from conflicts.
Member States, the United Nations system and civil society have made some important progress towards developing and pursuing comprehensive approaches towards the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), according to the report. There is growing support for women's equal participation in peace processes, enhanced capacity-building efforts for women's empowerment in decision-making and peacekeeping and security forces. Strong attention is being paid to sexual violence. Enhanced commitment to implementation is increasingly translated into policy and planning frameworks, and internalized in the work of Member Sates and the Organization.
The gap that remains between policies and their effective implementation must be closed, however, the report goes on to say, and more needs to be done at the country level to mainstream a gender perspective at every stage of conflict prevention, resolution and management, as well as peacebuilding, including in security sector reform. More must also be done to prevent and end sexual and gender-based violence, increase women's representation in decision-making bodies and security institutions, increase resources and support for women's organizations, and ensure stronger United Nations capacity to support Member States in implementing resolution 1325 (2000).
In order to accelerate full implementation of the resolution, the Secretary-General proposes: to ensure that women's needs and concerns are included in conflict prevention strategies and early warning efforts; Security Council missions to assess situations where sexual violence is used as a tactic of war; to remind parties, through the Security Council, of their responsibility to protect women; targeted Council sanctions on individuals or parties to conflict carrying out widespread or systematic sexual violence; and to strengthen national commitment and capacity to implement the resolution, including through national and regional action plans and strategies.
The Secretary-General further proposes: support for strengthening the United Nations gender mainstreaming capacities in all areas of peace and security; to prioritize women's leadership and access to all decision-making levels and processes regarding peacemaking, peacebuilding, and recovery and development; to intensify efforts to prevent and halt sexual and gender-based violence, including through more systematic tactical and operational responses by United Nations peacekeeping missions; to integrate systematically gender perspectives in security sector reform and the rule of law; and to assess systematically women's needs in post-conflict societies, allocate specific funding and increase donor and government accountability to women.
RACHEL MAYANJA, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, introducing the report on progress and challenges in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), said that much progress had been made in the past years in mainstreaming a gender perspective into the overall peace and security architecture and stepping up efforts to end gender violence. That momentum must be built upon.
In addition, she said, a noticeable gap between policies and implementation of the resolution remained, in particular at the national level. Only 10 Member States had developed specific national action plans for implementing the resolution and five more were in the process of developing such plans. The capacity of the United Nations system to provide coherent, timely and demand-driven support to Member States must be significantly enhanced. The report contained a number of action-oriented recommendations to fill those gaps, calling for more gender-sensitive conflict prevention and early warning, and a stronger focus on means to prevent or deter sexual violence.
Turning to women's roles in making peace, she said that, despite their successes, women continued to be marginalized and ignored. Their full force could be harnessed by increasing their representation at higher levels of decision-making and by ending gender-based violence against women. Most importantly, the old peace paradigm had to be altered to make it more accountable and inclusive of women and their concerns, as more than half the world's population continued to be excluded in the strategies of peace and security. "To engage those resources requires a fundamental shift in our thinking", she said. "It must become unthinkable not to have women integrally involved in every stage of peace and post-conflict reconstruction processes."
ALAIN LE ROY, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said it was no exaggeration to say that in the eight years since its adoption, resolution 1325 (2000) "has changed the way we do business in peacekeeping". From planning processes to guidance development, training, staffing and operational priority-setting, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was ensuring that gender issues were accorded due priority. This year's theme for the debate -- women's full involvement in efforts to maintain and promote peace and security -- served as an important reminder of the resolution's core principle, namely, that women in post-conflict countries were not merely victims of war, but agents of change, with immense contributions to make. In the peacekeeping context, the clearest entry points to support women's participation in decision-making were through the political process, and through reform of security institutions.
He said that, in recent years, the United Nations had supported the participation of women in elections in such countries as Afghanistan, Burundi, Haiti, Liberia and Nepal, and had facilitated an unprecedented registration of female voters. There had also been significant progress in the election of women to political office, particularly where constitutional quota guarantees had been adopted. It was not enough to have women being elected to office, however. The bigger challenge was ensuring that women in elected offices would stay in those positions and that they would help implement gender-sensitive policies. There should also be support for networking platforms and cross-party caucuses for women in political office, and training must be provided.
The United Nations' role as standard-setters required that, in all negotiations with national authorities, the importance of women's participation must be underlined. In Darfur, African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)'s continued appeals for women's participation in the peace process had defined a space for women and had encouraged rebel groups and the Government to have women among their negotiating teams. Exercising the standard-setting role also required that there must be more women in senior positions, both within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Services, and at the field level. Some modest progress had been made in that regard.
He said targeted outreach to enhance recruitment of women to the security sector, and the use of special measures to offset women's qualification gaps -- as had been the case in Liberia -- had proven successful, as it could facilitate greater attention and response to sexual and gender-based violence in the post-conflict period. Retention of women within security institutions required investments in building support networks to enable them to combat discrimination, sexual harassment and marginalization within low-ranking jobs. The Peacekeeping Department had recently issued gender guidelines for United Nations Police in peacekeeping mission. It hade also recently joined forces with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Action to develop guidance to better assist military peacekeepers to protect women and girls from sexual violence.
Efforts to increase the number of uniformed peacekeeping personnel to better respond to operational priorities remained a challenge, however, he said. To reverse that trend, there was a need for troop- and police-contributing countries to nominate greater numbers of women, particularly as military observers and as police officers. That would ensure better outreach to women in the local population and better response to gender-related challenges, such as sexual violence. Women peacekeepers also served as role models and standard-setters for local women. It was unfortunate that no woman had yet been appointed as Force Commander or Deputy Force Commander. "I would like to challenge Member States to provide nominations of women to future senior military appointments in our missions."
He said another important lesson learned was to incorporate support to women's organizations in civil society, as women in civil society could critically support women who were elected to political office. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, the adoption of a law on sexual violence in 2006 had been greatly facilitated through strategic partnerships between women parliamentarians and women in civil society.
In conclusion, he said, "through investments in the development of policy, guidance and training in recent years, we have sought to better assist our peacekeeping missions to translate resolution 1325 (2000) into practice. Over the coming year, we will give priority to monitoring effective implementation of all guidance on gender and peacekeeping, whilst also continuing to inform and revise our policies based on the lessons we are generating from the field".
INÉS ALBERDI, Executive Director, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), said women's engagement in peacebuilding did not start when the fighting stopped. Gender issues must be addressed in conflict mediation, in peacekeepers' deployment, in integrated missions, in stabilization and in post-conflict recovery. That was particularly important in conflicts in which sexual violence was used as a tactic of war. Unless women's security was a primary objective of peacekeepers, and the systematic abuse of women's rights was a primary focus of judicial response, the seeds were sown for an incomplete and possibly unsustainable peace. "If abuses of women's rights are tolerated through de facto impunity for perpetrators, efforts to restore the rule of law lose their credibility."
She said the impact of a public physical presence of women in peace processes should not be underestimated. "It is a sign that women are valued", a peace activist from Liberia had said. The UNIFEM had found that, on average, women represented 7 per cent of negotiators and 24 per cent of official observers in instances where data were available. Peace talks must accommodate a structured representation of women's concerns and interests. International institutions supporting conflict mediation must have gender experts. As today's political leaders were often the peace mediators of the future, the recruitment of women mediators relied upon the number of women in public office. UNIFEM's experience had demonstrated the effectiveness of special quotas to promote women in leadership roles.
Women's needs for protection during and after conflict were different from those of men and required a specific response, she said. If measures were not taken to prevent widespread and systematic targeting of women, that violence could spill over into the post-conflict environment. If countries and the international community did not respond decisively to violence against women, they would raise the cost of peacebuilding. Such costs and the delay of real peace could be avoided through decisive and early action to signal an end to impunity.
She stressed that recovery and peacebuilding required gender-responsive institutional reforms to ensure that women benefited from the peace dividend as much as men. Justice and security institutions were the first on the list, but efforts were also needed to ensure that economic recovery institutions built women's productive capacities, and that social service institutions responded to their needs. Women's experiences with early recovery and peacebuilding had demonstrated that there must be structured representation of women at all post-conflict donor conferences, and that a mechanism to track funds dedicated to women's empowerment and recovery should be in place in all humanitarian and post-conflict development funds.
SARAH TAYLOR, Coordinator, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, said that her group advocated for full implementation of the resolutions on the topic, commenting that, in many areas, action and implementation had been inconsistent. It was now necessary to move from words to concrete action -- from ad hoc approaches towards systematic incorporation of the concerns of those resolutions into the regular work of the Council, the United Nations system and all Member States.
In regard to the underrepresentation of women in peace processes, she said that UNIFEM's statistics were staggering. For example, fewer than 3 per cent of the signatories in 14 peace talks were women. It was not enough to acknowledge the right of women to participate. Mediators, negotiators and donor Governments must address the very real obstacles to women's physical presence at the negotiation table and at any behind-the-scenes or after-hours negotiations. Within the United Nations system, the Department of Political Affairs was a key player, and she looked forward to the establishment of the long-delayed gender unit in that Department.
Women were also dramatically underrepresented in the United Nations' 30 missions and should be appointed to more leadership positions, she said. It was unacceptable that the exceptions to that situation were seen as novelties. There should be a clear and transparent process for Member States to submit names of women to the Secretary-General for appointments to high-level posts. Aside from other benefits, women's participation at those levels and their presence at field level were crucial for ending sexual violence.
In addition, she said, when post-conflict issues were raised during negotiations, they should be used as an opportunity to recognize the impact of the rule of law and justice reform on women. Those laws could break the continuing cycle of violence against women, and ensure their meaningful participation in the transformation of their society. That was what the commitments of resolutions 1325 and 1820 were about: the transformation of society. In conclusion, she urged Council members to constantly ask themselves, in their daily work -- "Where are the women? Why are they not part of these processes? What can I do to change this?"
JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT ( France), speaking on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the progress noted in the Secretary-General's annual report on the implementation of resolution 1325. It illustrated that it had been possible to adopt a more comprehensive approach to implementing the resolution as demonstrated through the fact that a growing number of troop-contributing countries increased the percentage of women in the peacekeeping contingents, the local non-governmental organizations had promoted women's participation in elections in post-conflict situations, and there was a greater focus placed on sexual violence in armed conflict.
He commended the progress made in the eight years since 1325. However, he said that both resolution 1325 and resolution 1820, which was adopted last June and recognized sexual violence as an undermining force to establishing peace and security, were far from being fully implemented, as shown by the alarming situation of women in armed conflicts in North Kivu, Darfur and other regions affected by the Lord's Resistance Army. Furthermore, despite repeated requests from the Council, the lack of women in the peace negotiations was of great concern to the European Union, as was the dearth of details about the impact of conflicts on women, and the broader inclusion of women's issues in the Secretary-General's annual report.
Promoting women's rights was at the core of the European Union human rights policy and one of the main priorities of the French Presidency, he said. France had organized a conference, in collaboration with UNIFEM and the European Commission, on implementation of 1325 and 1820 in the European Union's peacekeeping missions. As a result, concrete actions had been identified. It planned to implement an expansion of the definition of protecting civilians and a stronger response to protecting women and girls in armed conflict in the mandates of such missions. It also planned to include gender advisers in the planning phase of missions and incorporate gender-awareness issues in mission training, and engage and include local women networks as consultants and advisers, so that their input reached the highest level of command. He concluded by saying that the European Union was committed to fully participating and working in partnership with all relevant countries and organizations, to ensure that the European Union action points and resolutions 1325 and 1820 became successful challenges to the violence against women in armed conflict.
ZALMAY KHALILZAD ( United States) said that it was essential to keep violence against women during conflicts in the spotlight. Rape was a crime that not only ruined individual lives, but also tore apart communities. Awareness-raising was important; there had been effective programmes in that regard, but much more must be done. Women's issues must be spread across all development areas, and additional attention must be paid to sexual trafficking and slavery. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations should draw upon all available resources to combat sexual violence as a tactic of war, and women's participation must be ensured at all decision-making levels and in peace processes.
Last May, the United States launched a programme on the protection of women and the rule of law, supported by significant partnership with the private sector. He applauded both national and United Nations efforts to boost women's participation in peacekeeping and peacemaking. He hoped that those efforts were continued and that, in addition, more women would be included in peace negotiations, where the figures were now woefully low. His country looked forward to working with the international community on greatly improving those numbers.
GIULIO TERZI (Italy), aligning himself by the statement of the European Union, said that women could not participate effectively in the decision-making process unless their security was guaranteed, abuses were prosecuted, and blanket amnesties were off the table. Tragically, sexual violence continued to be used as a weapon of war to destroy the very fabric of society. The Secretary-General's report next June should include detailed information on sexual violence in conflict situations that were on the Council's agenda, particularly on perpetrators.
He said that, far too often, women were excluded from negotiations in peace processes because of lack of political will and of adequate resources. The participation of women in all phases of conflict resolution and peacebuilding had a clear, vast potential. It was not just a question of how many women were included, but it was also about enabling them to champion issues that were also vital to their empowerment. The United Nations could contribute to further progress by: appointing more women as special representatives and special envoys; including a gender component in all United Nations peacekeeping and political missions; and establishing a structured gender expertise in the Department of Political Affairs' mediation capacities.
The Peacebuilding Commission had proved it could make a difference in redressing inequalities and creating the conditions for sustainable development on solid, non-discriminatory foundations through the inclusion of gender perspectives in its Integrated Peace Building Strategies, he said. The Commission must continue to engage women's organizations in every phase of its work, ensuring their full involvement in the planning, elaboration and monitoring of its integrated strategies.
VITALY I. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said resolution 1325 (2000) was the most important guideline for enhancing the role of women in post-conflict situations. There was a need to use the provisions of the resolution to create equal opportunities for women in all peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. The work in the field in that regard should not be undertaken only by the Council, but also by the General Assembly, the Peacebuilding Commission and the Commission on the Status of Women. In the context of post-conflict rehabilitation, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women should be used more broadly as an underlying document. Greater attention should be paid to gender mainstreaming in poverty reduction and post-conflict situations.
He welcomed the concrete steps taken to protect women's rights, but noted that the report had not provided an answer to the question of the impact the steps had on women and girls in areas of conflicts on the Council's agenda. The attention given to the protection of women in conflicts had been reduced to a focus on sexual violence, while other crimes against women had been ignored. Cases in which women and children had been killed as a result of excessive use of force should also be of concern. Such crimes often went unpunished. The Council should also assess such cases in an unbiased way. Gender mainstreaming in the United Nations should yield concrete results for women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations. Women themselves must, therefore, participate in such processes.
MARTY M. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) noted that international cooperation and humanitarian international law were intrinsically linked and stated that the widespread violence against women in armed conflicts was unacceptable. He called on the Council to fulfil its obligation to protect and assist those women through an immediate and effective response. At a time when women and men shared international political responsibilities, he observed that the participation of women in the peace process had not been adequately harnessed, but, in fact, was deeply underutilized. Women were major stakeholders in a sustainable peace and their inclusion would ensure, on all levels and stages, the success of conflict resolution.
However, in order to include them in leadership and participating positions of leadership, and to bring a fundamental difference to a peace process, space and haven needed to be established first, so that women could feel safe and secure enough from violence and reprisals to make their own decisions. "In other words, our approach should not only be to view women as a group, but also as an individual with her own aspirations", he said.
He offered three points for strengthening the participation of women in peacebuilding. The first was to both promote gender equity when assembling negotiating teams, as well as include women's issues on the agenda. The second was to ensure that women's contribution and involvement came not just from the upper echelons of leadership, but from grass-roots sources, so that sustainable peace and development could be built with community support. The third and last point was to foster women's involvement through the model of a democratic political "campaign". Canvassing and campaigning would increase interest and participation of interested parties and broaden visibility.
Now was the time to put the many plans and resolutions into action, he concluded, and Indonesia was fully committed, both nationally and internationally, to contribute to women's participation in peace and security.
DUMISANI S. KUMALO (South Africa), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said that, while women might be the first casualties of war, they remained active agents of change and played a meaningful role in the recovery and reintegration of their families. Women were also instrumental in bringing about democracy and reconciliation in post-conflict society. Gender equality and empowerment of women were enshrined in the 1992 SADC Treaty. Women had provided leadership and important contributions in recent peace processes and negotiations in the region. It was a matter of pride that, throughout history, the women of southern Africa had played a pivotal role in the liberation movements.
He said, on 17 August, Heads of State had signed the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. Among other things, it stipulated that States parties should endeavour to ensure that women had equal representation and participation in key decision-making positions in conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes by 2015. During times of armed conflict, States parties must take the necessary steps to prevent and eliminate incidences of human rights abuses, especially of women and children. Sexual violence in conflict was inextricably linked to gender inequality. There was, therefore, a need to advocate more powerfully for the equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.
There was a need for increased representation and participation of women at all levels, particularly in peacekeeping and peacebuilding and within United Nations field-based operations, he said. Recommendations by the Council, such as the provision of gender-sensitive training and establishment of gender components in peacekeeping operations, must be implemented. He urged the Secretary-General to strengthen his efforts to identify suitable female candidates for senior position in the military and police services. Member States must nominate women candidates for inclusion in a regularly updated centralized roster. It would be important that local women be allowed to participate in finding solutions for the reconstruction and rebuilding of their countries. Women should be at the forefront of development and implementing post-conflict strategies and programmes.
ALFREDO SUESCUM ( Panama) said that there was a significant gap between policies on women, peace and security and their implementation. The Security Council must guide efforts to increase women's participation in peace processes, using models that had already proved successful. It was critical to include women in negotiations and the formulation of strategies for peacekeeping and peacebuilding, including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. A gender perspective must be incorporated in all those areas. For that purpose, disaggregated data was needed, and all stakeholders should cooperate in its collection and analysis. It was crucial that women stop becoming victims of conflicts and start playing a greater role in their resolution.
OLIVIER BELLE (Belgium), aligning himself with the statement made by France on behalf of the European Union, said that, despite the efforts of the international community, the goals of resolution 1325 had not been achieved and the situation of women in conflict zones remained dramatic. Belgium would submit its plan of action, which had been drawn up with the participation of many sectors and included consideration of many areas, such as the banning of anti-personnel weapons. Legislative texts must be combined with know-how in matters of gender. In order to achieve greater equality in high-access posts, women must apply for such posts and must be promoted. For its part, Belgium encouraged women to apply.
Women must be involved in specific issues in post-conflict situations, he said. From the very beginning of a peacekeeping mission, for example, local women should be encouraged to play a significant role. The scourge of sexual violence must be ended without delay. It was a priority for Belgium.
ROBERT TIENDREBEOGO ( Burkina Faso) said that, since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), there had been significant progress in its implementation, and there had been a growing awareness of the contribution women made to conflict resolution and to peacebuilding. The awareness of women's needs was now part and parcel of strategies and plans in peacekeeping. The leadership of the United Nations in that regard, and of regional and subregional organizations and civil society entities, should be acknowledged. However, the progress made could not mask the reality that participation of women in peacekeeping and peacebuilding was far from what had been expected.
He said the systematic involvement of women in negotiations and mediation efforts, as well as in reconstruction strategies, was absolutely essential. That fact had been underlined in the Council meeting of 23 September on mediation. He said that individuals bore the responsibility to rid themselves of preconceptions about the place of women in society. States and parties to conflict bore the responsibility of protecting and involving women. He called for, among others, strengthening women's capacities in the fields of mediation and negotiation, and increasing the number of women in peacekeeping. He informed the Council that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had elaborated a plan of action on implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
RANKO VILOVIC ( Croatia) said that it must be remembered that women were often excluded from participation in peace processes and other important activities because of male-dominated institutions. In addition, there had not been enough research on the cross-border dimensions of armed conflict. Since no formal cross-border networks existed for women's peacebuilding groups, greater women's participation could be encouraged through, for example, the establishment of a task force to examine women-specific cross-border concerns. Consideration should also be given to men and women's marginalized situation in displaced-person camps, and Governments should ensure that traditional practices were not misused by men to control women and violate their rights. National Governments and international organizations should also listen clearly to women's organizations and incorporate them in the fight against violence and into national reconstruction plans.
The Croatian national strategy for the promotion of gender equality 2006-2010 contained measures related to the implementation of resolution 1325 and commitments arising from the Beijing Platform, he said. It also promoted the collection of data on the role of women during war. The results would be integrated into social and development policies. Female experts on gender issues would also be included in political activities related to peacebuilding, among other measures. Many women were victims in the wars of south-east Europe, but they also had an active role in opposing armed conflict and building understanding among the national groups of the region. For example, in the early 1990s, when Croatia played host to over 300,000 internally displaced persons and as many refugees, women's non-governmental organizations played an important role in providing psychological help and organizing humanitarian activities without regard to ethnic backgrounds. In addition, as a troop-contributing country, Croatia would continue to actively contribute to the goals of resolution 1325 and beyond.
LE LUONG MINH ( Viet Nam) said he was encouraged to see United Nations agencies and peacekeeping missions playing a more active role in promoting, through technical and financial assistance, women's participation in all stages of the peace process in many countries. A culture of gender equality and women's empowerment in peace and security areas had emerged. He was, however, concerned that full and equal participation of women in conflict prevention, peace negotiations and post-conflict peacebuilding could still not be ensured. Women's representation in security institutions, law enforcement bodies and peace negotiation delegations had not increased.
To enhance the participation of women in peace processes, women should be empowered, both politically and economically, he said. It was, therefore, important to ensure their equal access to education and information. Gender mainstreaming must be strengthened in peace and security areas, with gender also incorporated into all legislation, strategies and policies on conflict prevention and resolution and in reconstruction. That would back women's equal representation and leadership in peace and security institutions and enlarge their space for participation in peace talks. He noted that, in his country, women had served in wartime as generals and peace negotiators. It had always had a female vice-president and several female ministers, and ranked third in the Asia Pacific region in terms of the female ratio in Parliament.
ATTIA OMAR MUBARAK (Libya) expressed satisfaction, in general, with the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), stressing that Member States had the greatest responsibility for its implementation, as they must ensure that there was a sufficient number of women candidates for peacekeeping posts within the United Nations. There was no single mechanism agreeable to all to deal with the issue of the gender gap, and the specificities of each State must be taken into account. It was the responsibility of Member States to promote the rights of women, to eliminate impunity and to encourage greater participation of women in decision-making.
He said African States had shown great progress in the resolution's implementation. The African Union had elaborated a draft that would declare the period 2010-2020 the African Decade for Women. He was concerned at sexual violence in conflict areas. Effective prevention required long-term comprehensive and coordinated efforts that involved all stakeholders. As the Secretary-General's report had not paid any attention to the situation of the Palestinian women, he described the violence and "psychological terror" brought on Palestinian women by Israel, which was in brazen violation of international law. One could imagine the fear of women who had to give birth at checkpoints as they were prevented from reaching a hospital, or of the thousands of women who had been deprived of drugs and food, or saw their children killed before their very eyes; or had children being arrested. A real solution to the problem of women in conflict was to resolve conflict, to accelerate development in post-conflict areas, and to strengthen the role of women in all fields.
JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) said that the women had long been catalysts of reconciliation and multipliers of development, but resolution 1325 had been the first official recognition of those roles. However, the contribution of women had usually occurred in an unofficial capacity and must be made more prominent. A lasting peace could not be based on the unequal status quo. Peace processes must recognize the specific needs of women and help transform societies to empower them. Explicit support must be given to women's decision-making for that purpose, along with effective participation at all levels. Women's participation in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in all peacekeeping roles must also be increased. The incorporation of a gender perspective was an indispensable tool for peace, because peace must not only be lasting, but also inclusive. Women's participation was crucial for ensuring that peace processes led to that result.
KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom), aligning herself with the statement of France on behalf of the European Union, noted that, despite the Council's recognition of the vital role women could play in conflict prevention and resolution, the actual record of women's participation in peace processes since the adoption of resolution 1325 had been poor. She welcomed the news today that some women were being appointed, but said, remarkedly, there were currently no women being engaged as the Secretary-General's special envoys. Yet, the full engagement of women on the ground, with the direct contribution they made to the stability of a society, underpinned the peacebuilding efforts.
In May, the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary stressed several points to address the urgent challenge of incorporating women into essential positions of peacebuilding and conflict resolution. The first was the need for the international community to more effectively coordinate support to national authorities, so that a common strategy of integrated political, security and development activities could be advanced. His second point was for an increased national and international civilian capacity to plan and implement stabilization and recovery efforts. In filling the leadership and staffing positions required to implement those two points, women were an untapped resource.
She observed that in 60 years of United Nations peacekeeping, only seven women had held the post of Special Representative of the Secretary-General and, in the percentage of "boots on the ground", only 1.9 per cent women were employed as United Nations military personnel, as compared to the larger presence of women in important leadership roles in the United Kingdom forces and other troop-and police-contributing countries. "There is a rich seam of evidence to show that the presence of deployed women peacekeepers helps to make peacekeeping forces more approachable to a local population and, in turn, facilitates their work", she said. She concluded by stating that qualified women were out there and would be an asset to the success of conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes.
Speaking in his national capacity, Council President ZHANG YESUI (China) said eight years ago the Council had adopted resolution 1325 (2000), and that was the foundation for the international community's cooperation in the area of women, peace and security. Thanks to the joint efforts of intergovernmental organizations, regional organizations, States and civil society organizations, the role of women in the prevention of conflict, post-conflict reconstruction and peacekeeping had been strengthened. The empowerment of women had taken hold. However, as the characteristics of conflicts changed and became more complex, resolution 1325 (2000) had yet to be fully implemented.
He stressed that the Council had a unique role to play in the question of women, peace and security, and that it should strengthen cooperation with other organs of the United Nations. It should step up its efforts for prevention and resolution of conflicts, so that the root causes of the suffering of women in conflict could be addressed. The Council should strengthen cooperation with the Economic and Social Council and UNIFEM. Efforts must be made to facilitate women's participation in every stage of the peace progress. As in recent years, the Secretariat had taken measures to increase the number of women in senior posts, and he hoped that trend would continue. Civil society should also be encouraged to take part in the protection of women.
NATALYA PETKEVICH, Deputy Head of the President's Administration of Belarus, said that progress would be made on the topic of women, peace and security only by engaging in a comprehensive, collective effort to understand women's vulnerability to violence and their strength in managing conflict. In addition, absolute uniformity in rights and opportunities was needed, as well as a universal perception of that situation as a natural phenomenon. Strong traditions of women's participation at all levels, therefore, had to be established, so that degradation of women did not shift from one area to another.
Belarus, she said, had been promoting the elaboration of a comprehensive plan of action for the United Nations to fight human trafficking. It had supported the Secretary-General's proposal to institute a monitoring and reporting mechanism on violence against women and girls during armed conflicts, similar to that created by the Security Council by resolution 1612 (2005), on children and armed conflict. Crimes against women, whether in the course of military conflict or not, should be prosecuted in the strictest manner. That meant that, at the national level, the eligibility of criminals for amnesty or other leniency instruments must be reviewed. The root causes of violence against women must be addressed and practical steps for broader women's participation in governmental and international efforts must be taken. "Women are peace and security", she concluded.
HILARIO DAVIDE, JR. ( Philippines) said that the tragic conditions of women in conflict situations continued to "hit our minds, rend our hearts and prick our consciences". He appreciated the contribution of the Security Council in securing peace and security for women, at a time where sexual violence was being used as a weapon of war. It was extremely important the Council remained seized of the issue. Despite the efforts by Member States and the international community, gender-based violence persisted. Efforts to address the problem needed to be improved and effectively coordinated. The United Nations should lead in giving more emphasis to the effective transfer of skills and capacity to national and local authorities and civil society actors on the ground, to encourage national ownership of women's empowerment.
Gender training, he said, should include the sensitization of men and boys on their role in creating a culture of gender equality. In order to increase women's participation in peace processes, women should be provided the political space, along with the requisite technical knowledge. In all relevant areas, the United Nations must improve its monitoring and reporting.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER ( Liechtenstein) agreed with the assessment that progress towards achieving the major goals of resolution 1325 had been slow and uneven. Appointing more women to leading positions, a goal long supported by his delegation, would have a catalytic effect and truly empower women affected by armed conflict. Currently, only one woman served as Special Representative to the Secretary-General, and women accounted for only 28 per cent of higher category civilian staff in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. He reiterated the call for mechanisms to redress that state of affairs, along with a gender unit within the Department of Political Affairs. The Council should also institutionalize women's equal and substantive participation at all levels of peace processes, and create mechanisms to monitor their equal participation in a systematic way.
An increase in women's participation in peacekeeping missions had the potential of lowering the level of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations, he said. It was also crucial to prevent sexual abuse on the part of peacekeepers. The ultimate goal must be that the attitude and behaviour of peacekeepers towards women serve as a model for local communities. In addition, clear guidance must be given to peacekeepers on how to protect civilians, particularly girls and women.
ROBERT HILL (Australia) said the Secretary-General's report made for "sobering reading", as millions of women and children continued to account for the majority of casualties in hostilities, and sexual violence was increasingly used as a potent weapon of war. Women played an important role in the prevention, management and resolution of conflict, and their full participation in decision-making processes relating to peace and security, including their economic and social empowerment, was vital to achieving sustainable solutions to complex security situations. It was important that local women's initiatives and experiences in preventing hostilities were incorporated in national and United Nations conflict-prevention frameworks.
He said his country was working with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre to strengthen crisis prevention and recovery; conflict analysis; mainstreaming gender considerations; and implementing violence reduction policies and interventions. Australia also supported efforts by regional organizations, such as femLINKPACIFIC. As for the ongoing incidences of sexual and gender-based violence, he said gender training for security forces and judicial officials, developing meaningful measures to protect and rehabilitate survivors, increasing public awareness, and removing the stigma were key elements in tackling that scourge. Most crucial, however, was the need to end impunity for perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence. He called on the United Nations system to enhance efforts at mainstreaming gender perspectives at all levels of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
LESLIE K. CHRISTIAN ( Ghana) said that one of the crucial objectives of resolution 1325 (2000) was gender mainstreaming in all aspects of peace and security. Member States and the United Nations should adopt targeted gender-related activities in that regard, for instance, by increasing the number of women considered for United Nations peacekeeping operations. It was beyond doubt that deployment of female military and police facilitated outreach to women in local communities. Ghana, which had participated in nine United Nations peacekeeping operations, was currently the highest contributor of women to military peacekeeping operations, contributing 12 per cent of the total number of female personnel. His country's strategy also underlined the importance of predeployment training on gender for peacekeepers.
He said linkages should be established between the activities carried out by the United Nations system and efforts by Member States to implement resolution 1325 (2000). There was also a need to establish institutional arrangements that would not only guarantee the protection of women and girls, but also enhance their full and equal participation in peace processes, including negotiations and decision-making. Civil society should be actively involved in the implementation of the resolution. Efficient monitoring and accountability mechanisms should be engaged to ensure the sustainability of positive changes. The critical role of Member States in the resolution's full and effective implementation could not be overstated, as national ownership was a prerequisite for the success of gender-mainstreaming activities over the longer term.
GERHARD PFANZELTER (Austria), associating himself with the statements made on behalf of the European Union and the Human Security Network, said he was encouraged to see an increase in the appointment of women in leading positions in the Secretariat. He hoped to see more in the near future. He also urged special representatives and envoys to make full use of the potential of women in peace processes and conflict resolution. He drew attention to the final report of the Austrian initiative on "The UN Security Council and the Rule of Law", which he said contained 17 concrete recommendations on how the Security Council could strengthen the rule of law in its various fields of activity. Many elements of the European Union Gender Checklist could also serve as a model for peacekeeping missions.
Austria's actions to implement resolution 1325, he said, were firmly based on a national action plan, with an ongoing process of monitoring and evaluation that strengthened cross-department cooperation. Training was an essential aspect. As gender-sensitive transitional justice was another important element, Austria supported UNIFEM efforts in Nepal and other similar projects. The tenth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325, he said, should be used to define further priorities, as his country had already proposed. Austria would continue to work to empower and protect women in situations of armed conflict.
YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said all too common gender-based violence and discrimination in the course of conflict hindered women's formal representation in peace talks and reconstruction. Resolution 1820 (2008) called on the international community to take concrete action to tackle sexual violence against women in situations of armed conflict. Ending impunity and providing survivors with the necessary legal protection and remedies would promote the resolutions' implementation. He welcomed the fact that women were now more represented in peacekeeping operations. That would facilitate integration of a gender perspective, participation of local women and girls in national decision-making processes, improve reporting of violence against women, and improve access to medical and psychological care by victims.
He said more effective actions must be taken to protect women and girls in conflict, but it was also necessary to empower them. Security and judicial sector reform should be accompanied by basic social and economic services, such as education, vocational training, microcredit and access to land. In short, what was needed was the human security approach that Japan had been promoting over the years. Women could take on the principal role in fostering reconciliation and peacebuilding processes. Japan had provided support to a number of countries, including Somalia and Afghanistan, through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security.
CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said that gender equality and the prevention of violence against women and girls is State policy in Mexico, and its promotion in international peace and security was an essential element of the country's foreign policy. For that reason, he welcomed the package of measures that the Secretary-General proposed in his report, particularly the proposal to send assessment missions to situations in which sexual violence was systematic or part of the tactics of war. The Council should consider even more systematic operational and tactical responses from peacekeeping operations to those situations. He reiterated the need to sensitize and train the military of parties and United Nations staff in the importance of human rights with a gender perspective.
Zero tolerance for sexual abuse by peacekeepers was also necessary, he said. To translate all the provisions of resolution 1325 into concrete action, Mexico supported the increased use of the Arria formula or similar arrangements to allow informal consultations with women's groups and other non-governmental organizations on individual conflict situations.
HENRI-PAUL NORMANDIN (Canada) said that eight years after the Security Council had called, in its landmark resolution 1325 (2000), for women's full participation and involvement in promoting and maintaining peace, the international community had only just begun to answer that call. The United Nations and its Member States had undertaken important work towards increasing women's representation and participation, building on a significant body of research findings and clear best practices.
It sent a powerful signal to local communities when women were visible in peacekeeping operations. Early prosecutions of sexual violence cases diminished obstacles that often prevented women from engaging in peacebuilding efforts. A more inclusive and sustainable peace was negotiated when women sat at the peacemaking table. He said that women's representation should be vastly increased at all levels of decision-making. Yet today, there was only one woman among the Secretary-General's special representatives and none among his special envoys.
For its part, he said Canada had provided technical assistance to integrate women's rights and equality concerns into the peace process in the Sudan. It was also assisting the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to roll out mobile mine-risk education teams there. In Nepal, support had been given for the formation of more than 40 women-led community peace groups. In Peru, Guatemala and Colombia, grass-roots women's organization were being supported in their efforts to address impunity for gender-based violence. Canada was making an effort to recruit more women police officers in peacekeeping missions and had taken India's all-female Formed Police Unit in Liberia as a model. It had also deployed a gender adviser to Afghanistan to help develop programme to increase women's representation in the Afghan National Police.
He said that, by adopting resolution 1820 (2008) in June, the Council had recognized the critical relationship between sexual violence as a weapon of war and the maintenance of peace and security. It had further underlined the fundamental importance of women's participation in all efforts to end sexual violence in conflict. He called on the Council to identify, report and respond systematically and comprehensively to all sexual violence in the countries on its agenda. Every United Nations mission should also have a full-time gender adviser whose work was systematically integrated throughout the operation and who had institutionalized access to the mission's leadership and stable resources to carry out their functions.
JOHN PAUL KAVANAGH ( Ireland), on behalf of the Human Security Network, said that the horror of gender-based violence had persuaded his country to focus on it during its term as Chair of the Network. The Secretary-General's report was encouraging, because it described significant progress towards implementation of resolution 1325. But, efforts needed to be redoubled. Action was also required to ensure delivery of the United Nations system-wide action plan that had been highlighted by Slovenia on behalf of the Network in October 2006. All Member States must work on the issue, as well.
Ireland, he said, was currently developing its own Action Plan and intended the process to be guided by the experiences of women and men in countries emerging from conflict. To that end, it hoped to work in partnership with Liberia and Timor-Leste. The international community must eliminate gender-based violence and ensure that victims had full access to justice. Impunity for perpetrators must be ended. He urged the Council to work together with relevant stakeholders to ensure the prosecution of their crimes and stressed the need for the exclusion of sexual crimes from amnesty provisions in conflict-resolution processes. He also supported meaningful steps to promote and enhance the role of women in peace processes, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, without detracting from the shared responsibility for results that rested on everyone, irrespective of gender.
MUHAMMAD ALI SORCAR ( Bangladesh) said realignment of gender roles and positions should be an integral part of rebuilding war-torn societies. Concrete guidelines should be prepared by the international community for enabling women's representation in negotiating delegations and in expert/observer roles. States must ensure that women in conflict resolution can operate in their own right and should invest in their capacity. A monitoring system based on non-discriminatory standards must be established to reflect real progress made and identify gaps in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). A working group on women, peace and security might be useful, in that regard. The Council must pursue a stronger working relationship with civil society and women's organizations through the increased use of the Arria formula, and there should be gender auditing of national efforts in gender mainstreaming for peace.
He said multidimensional peacekeeping operations had great potential for addressing the security and well-being of women. Contributing countries must continue to increase the numbers of uniformed and civilian female personnel and should provide mission-specific training, community orientation and familiarization with local gender dynamics. Deployments should routinely include personnel with expertise in gender issues and addressing sexual violence. The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations should be transformed into a body that actively contributed to implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). As one of the largest troop-contributing countries, Bangladesh was incorporating the gender dimension, in particular in the predeployment training. The number of women in peacekeeping was set to increase to ensure a gender balance.
He added that the Peacebuilding Commission should implement resolution 1325 (2000) fully in conflict resolution, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. He remained, however, wary of integrating gender perspectives in the formulation of integrated peacebuilding strategies.
PETER MAURER (Switzerland), associating himself with the statement by the Permanent Representative of Ireland on behalf of the Human Security Network, said his country would continue to support various initiatives and projects designed to raise the participation of women in the formal structures of peace processes. He also supported the enhancement of gender capacities in the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and supported the mainstreaming of gender equality in humanitarian efforts, along the lines of the related project of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee.
His country's National Action Plan was useable as a reference document for mobilizing resources, having helped finance the "Stop Rape Now" initiative, he said. It would also be used to help increase women's assumption of peacekeeping posts. In addition, he suggested that the Security Council could integrate gender issues in its mandates more systematically by listening more frequently to experts in the framework of Arria formula meetings. Finally, he said that perpetrators of crimes such as rape during conflicts must be brought to justice.
THOMAS MATUSSEK (Germany), aligning himself with the statement of the European Union, said particular emphasis during the debate was being placed on the issue of women's equal participation in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. He, therefore, called upon the United Nations system and the Member States to step up efforts that would lead to concrete advancements in the equal inclusion of women in peace talks, justice processes and peacekeeping. Creation of a strong and effective United Nations gender entity had to be part of those efforts. He hoped, therefore, that the Secretariat would soon provide the requested modalities paper, so that the current General Assembly session could take substantive action.
He said Germany actively contributed to the effective implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), in the field of training through the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) and through funding of a pilot project called "Mobile Peace Academy OMNIBUS 1325". The "bus line" had toured several countries in the Caucasus region and had conducted "train the trainer" sessions. Germany would provide the necessary funds -- some €250,000 -- for the recruitment of an additional police specialist in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations' Best Practices Section, whose task it would be to oversee coordination of the comprehensive and operational report on the implementation of resolution 1820 by June 2009, and for designing a global strategy for the resolution's implementation.
JUSTIN BIABAROH-IBORO ( Congo) said that there were weaknesses in the compilation of statistics that might enable an assessment of women's participation in peace processes and the results that had been achieved. It could not be denied, however, that sexual violence against women and girls had become commonplace in conflict situations, usually by armed groups and sometimes by peacekeepers. He advocated for a more rigorous application of zero tolerance towards the latter, and much more action against gender-based violence, in general.
He congratulated Member States who had drawn up action plans for the implementation of resolution 1325, and said that more resources should be allocated for capacity-building that could help Member States meet their commitments in that area. His country, which had been involved in a long conflict, was taking measures to make sure that gender was considered when drawing up policies, and had sponsored conferences in which women's empowerment had been promoted.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA (Kazakhstan), noting that eight years had passed since resolution 1325 laid the cornerstone for stronger decision-making roles for women in peace processes, said the Secretary-General's periodic reports demonstrated that obvious progress had been made. But, despite the undeniable importance of women's active participation in those processes, expectations for their full participation had not yet been met. As a result, concrete strategies that ensured gender equality even in situations of armed conflict should be developed. United Nations efforts should focus on promoting women in fields where they enjoyed comparative advantages, such as some humanitarian efforts, the operation of camps for displaced persons and refugees, and reintegration and rehabilitation programmes for civilians and child combatants. Women's participation in peacekeeping operations as civilian humanitarian staff and in official peacemaking negotiations was also needed and should include more world-renowned female leaders. The practice of convening temporary councils of the most respected women from conflict-affected communities could also be used to help prevent disputes and to trigger new ideas for their peaceful resolution.
She noted the achievements of the United Nations in ensuring women's participation in resolving conflicts at the political level. Women already held key positions in the Secretariat and the specialized agencies, and the development of a roster of female candidates to fill vacancies throughout the Organization was also welcome. Further work to engage politically active women and female leaders of non-governmental organizations could be beneficial. Women should be afforded more professional training to educate them in peacekeeping processes. Overall, it was a positive sign that women were increasingly seen not as victims of conflict, but as driving forces in peacebuilding efforts.
AHMED AL-JARMAN ( United Arab Emirates) said that women's involvement in peacekeeping operations continued to be weak and ineffective, due to the absence of political will and the lack of necessary resources. There was a need to re-evaluate the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) and develop an implementation plan that addressed areas of weakness, including those related to insufficient funding for gender-mainstreaming projects. The role of women should be enhanced in the areas of prevention, protection, participation, relief and recovery. Among other things, there was also a need to strengthen cooperation between United Nations entities, Governments, civil organizations and non-governmental organizations in the areas of information exchange and good practices. The important role of the United Nations and donor countries in funding and implementing projects aimed at strengthening national legislation and training in areas of human rights and gender mainstreaming must be further developed.
He said there was also a need for further training and empowering of women in order to facilitate their involvement in the legal reform process and democratization. National, regional and international legislation relating to putting an end to impunity must be reinforced. The United Arab Emirates had implemented a number of training programmes to integrate women into humanitarian work and civil defence, including eternal military missions linked to relief and peacekeeping. The country had also encouraged women's increased representation in the executive, legislative and judicial authorities. He also drew attention to the continuing dire humanitarian situation of the Palestinian women and children, as a result of the continued Israeli aggression, siege and occupation of the Palestinian territories. The Council must demand that Israel ensure the full implementation of its obligations under the relevant United Nations resolutions.
JOEL M. NHLEKO ( Swaziland), aligning his statement with the one made on behalf of the SADC, underlined the key role resolution 1325 had played in changing approaches and attitudes towards women. The critical role of Member States in its full and effective implementation could not be overemphasized. For its part, Swaziland embraced a vision of harmonizing the transition between development, peace and security. It recognized the importance of ensuring the respect for women's equal rights in its security sector and that of its subregion. Also important was the participation of women in peace processes and decision-making. To that end, Swaziland was also a signatory to the 2008 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, which was a first step in ensuring that its States parties enacted measures to guarantee by 2015 women's equal representation and participation in key decision-making position in conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes. It had also launched a Police Gender Network, which was geared towards eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against women.
Despite notable progress in implementing resolution 1325, violence against women persisted in the world's conflict zones. Women and girls remained targets of rape and other sexual violence, which begot severe consequences, such as unwanted pregnancies, contraction of HIV, psychological trauma and an increase in displaced persons. Thus, no effort should be spared to prevent conflict, and more resources should be devoted to educating and integrating women into all levels of society. When conflict could not be prevented, international actors should be armed with information to address cases of sexual violence, in order to end the impunity of their perpetrators. It was on that note that Swaziland looked forward to the implementation of resolution 1820 (2008).
GABRIELA SHALEV ( Israel) said the last 60 years had witnessed substantial progress for women around the world. Israel featured women in significant and meaningful positions of influence and authority. Israel continued to witness an increasing number of women in all walks of public life, including in peace negotiations and diplomacy. The primary responsibility lay with national Governments and institutions to protect women, promote their equality, and ensure their participation in all spheres of society. Women must play an equal role in all aspects of State and civil society. At the national level, Israel had amended its Women's Equal Rights Law mandating that the Government include women in any group appointed to peacebuilding negotiations. Israel was proud that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was leading peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Israel's first contribution to peacekeeping was a female police officer to a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Georgia.
She said violence against women remained a critical component of the debate on women's peace and security. Israel had co-sponsored resolution 1820 which stipulated that violence against women, in particular rape and sexual violence as an instrument of warfare, should be classified as a war crime. However, across certain parts of the world, violence and discrimination continued. In some countries, women and girls were subject to stoning, rape and violent repression. The international community should always and consistently confront and condemn such violations of basic human rights.
HJALMAR HANNESSON ( Iceland) said he fully supported the conclusions and recommendations contained in the Secretary-General's report. He encouraged the Council to follow up on them, saying that Council resolution 1325 (2000) continued to require full and effective implementation. Impunity in the area of sexual violence continued to be a major problem, and he called on the international community to end it. He endorsed the strengthening of the monitoring capacity of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) within peacekeeping operations and country missions.
More success was also needed in ensuring women's access to peace negotiations and political participation in post-conflict situations. In that context, he paid tribute to the work of the International Women's Commission towards a just and sustainable Palestinian-Israeli peace. In addition, he announced that his country's Foreign Ministry would host an international conference in Reykjavik in June 2009, focused on ensuring that women were included in formal and informal peace processes.
Iceland, he said, had introduced a national plan of action for the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in March of this year, and several projects had already been funded in relation to it. Increased participation in UNIFEM's work, support in the Balkans, funding in Afghanistan and secondment in Liberia had resulted. Training peacekeeping personnel and providing experts were also priorities for Iceland in all international bodies in which it participated. Women's empowerment was a driving force in Icelandic society, and the country was setting up an International Research Centre for Gender Equality with an associated training programme.
ZAHIR TANIN ( Afghanistan) said that, despite the growing threat of insecurity, his country, with the support of the international community, had made several improvements towards the participation of women in peace and security. Women's rights were enshrined in the Constitution. Women had participated in the transitional process and had been appointed to high positions in national and local governments. Some 40 per cent of children attending schools were girls. The security situation and ongoing terrorist activity, however, continued to affect women's security and their access to health, education and social protection. Poverty, lack of education and unbalanced allocation of resources must be addressed, he added.
He said to advance women's participation in peace and security, international involvement was crucial, among other ways, through gender-sensitivity training of army and police. However, international partners must recognize that improvement should be internally driven and that international troops should assist national efforts to protect women. Their assistance was also important in facilitating women's mobility to access water, health care and markets. Regional collaboration was also important. The involvement of women in reconciliation processes was also important and talks to consolidate peace in post-conflict settings should involve women at every stage. The Gender Adviser to the Afghan Ministry of the Interior had found that "organizational inertia" was the main cause of gender inequity in Government ministries. There was, therefore, a need for action, not words.
ZACHARY MUBURI-MUITA ( Kenya) said that, as progress was made in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), each step required the rethinking of strategies. The international community should work together by taking concrete measures. It was particularly important to collectively address the structural and institutional impediments to women's equal participation. It was also important that more women be appointed to senior positions at United Nations Headquarters and field missions. Unfortunately, there was no single centre of leadership to promote and coordinate coherence in gender matters within the United Nations system. When such a structure was in place, it would remove the systemic impediments that had hampered women's participation in high-level decision-making and other involvement in peace initiatives.
Kenya's national gender policy incorporated women into the mainstream of decision-making through regulatory and institutional reform. It was complemented by a 2006 presidential decree, which reserved 30 per cent of all appointments, recruitment and promotion in the public sector for women. Those efforts had started to bear fruit. During the difficult month of January 2008 in Kenya, women and girls had been particularly at risk, but due to quick action by the Government, with the help of the international community, further violence had been averted and, in the mediation process, women had participated as principal negotiators on both sides of the table. Two of those women were now serving as Cabinet Ministers in the Coalition Government.
JORGE ARGUELLO ( Argentina) said that, over the past 15 years, his country had incorporated some 340 women in peacekeeping missions. Some 26 Argentine women participated in peace missions in Haiti and in Cyprus. He welcomed the work that was being done by United Nations agencies to protect and promote Haitian women's rights, as well as their participation in the political, economic and social sphere. His country also endorsed the multi-year campaign launched by the Secretary-General against violence against women. The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) had launched an awareness-raising campaign. Regional institutions were indispensable agents in the promotion of peace. Further, Argentina had worked arduously within the framework of MERCOSUR to promote implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). It had also urged inclusion of the gender perspective in security sector reform. Argentina's Ministry of Defence had established an "Observatory of Women in the Armed Forces".
He said that, in order to secure the active participation of women, it was fundamental to offer special training in conflict prevention, mediation, negotiation, peacekeeping, post-conflict reconstruction and humanitarian support. To that end, Argentina had established the Argentine Centre for Joint Training for Peacekeeping Operations. In the framework of humanitarian assistance, the "White Helmets Commission" had been holding a series of training sessions for volunteers. The first Regional Workshop on the Gender Perspective in Peacekeeping Operations had been held in Buenos Aires in May 2008. As it was necessary to mainstream the gender perspective at the national level, he said it was essential to strengthen the National Mechanism on Women. Argentina had gender departments in all its ministries.
JOÃO MANUEL GUERRA SALGUEIRO ( Portugal) said that it must be ensured that women's voices were heard at all stages of peacemaking. It was fundamental to develop policies that led to the strengthening of women's political, economic and social roles in post-conflict situations. He reaffirmed Portugal's commitment to the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) and said that it was currently drafting its national plan of action for that purpose.
It was crucial for women's voices to be heard during peace talks, in order to develop adequate policies to deal with perpetrators of sexual violence and to provide victims with the support they required, he continued, adding that all must strive to end the scourge of gender-based violence. Portugal was continuously striving to combat that affliction, particularly in the domestic sphere. In regard to the Council, he said it was important that a gender perspective was mainstreamed into its work on a daily basis.
HAMID CHABAR ( Morocco) said that peacekeeping operations should support post-conflict initiatives launched by local women, as well as by women's non-governmental organizations. The Peacebuilding Commission could now make sure that gender considerations were mainstreamed into post-conflict rebuilding, and its models should be replicated elsewhere. The Security Council's resolutions on the subject were also effective tools. Although the Secretary-General's report speaks of much progress in implementing resolution 1325 (2000), shortcomings and weaknesses persisted.
Implementation must be further pursued through an integrated approach, he said. Morocco was ready to cooperate in bilateral and trilateral arrangements, and it welcomed the latest strategy against violence against women. His country had taken many measures towards gender equality at a national level, based on economic support and economic development from a proactive promotion of the participation of women. Supporting the activities of the UNIFEM regional office in Morocco, he said that the United Nations also had an important role to play at the national level, including the provision of technical and financial support. In post-conflict situation, the United Nations had an important role to play in security sector reform, promotion of women at all levels of peacemaking, ending impunity and many other areas.
ANDERS LIDEN ( Sweden) said women must be involved in resolving the armed conflicts and should take part both in the negotiation and the implementation of peace agreements. When women were part of informal, as well as formal, negotiation processes, chances increased for a sustainable solution which fully respected human rights. Awareness should also be raised at local and national levels of the role of women in conflict management and peacebuilding, through inclusion of gender advisers in peacekeeping contingents and through training of legal and military advisers on mainstreaming gender perspectives. As women were also often part of armed groups, a gender-sensitive approach was also required in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes.
He said the need for protection of women and girls during conflict and crisis was essential element of peace and security, as underlined by resolution 1820 (2008). There had been ample evidence of "horrendous" sexual violence against women committed by armed groups, and sometimes even by Government forces. To combat such activity was part of the mandate to protect civilians. It was most deplorable that even today peacekeepers were still being implicated in sexual exploitation and abuse. He went on to say there was still a lack of gender balance at all levels, both in missions and in the Secretariat. More women should be appointed to senior positions, and special representatives must have a clearer gender perspective. One of the impediments for implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) was the lack of budget lines for gender activities. Proposals for specific mechanisms, including financing, should, therefore, be included in the next report. He then went on to describe national efforts to implement resolution 1325 (2000).
FRANCIS K. BUTAGIRA ( Uganda) said that women's participation in Uganda's political life went beyond elective office, extending into peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts. Even before resolution 1325 (2000) had been adopted, women leaders, like former Ugandan Minister Betty Bigombe who initially headed the peace talks with the Lords' Resistance Army to end the conflict in northern Uganda, received Government support. Women were also participating in peace talks in Juba. Two women were on that negotiating team, and women's attendance at meetings was being facilitated. Ugandan Government efforts were backed by initiatives from civil society, such as the Civil Society Women's Peace Coalition, which played an instrumental role in bringing women's voices and issues to the table through peace campaigns and capacity-building programmes for women leaders and organizations at the community level.
Collaborating with development partners, he continued, Uganda was working to resettle and rehabilitate communities displaced in conflict-affected regions with provisions made for the most vulnerable groups, including women, to ensure that women would benefit equally from planned interventions. Ugandan women were engaged in peacekeeping missions in Timor-Leste, Liberia and the Sudan. Rights violations were being redressed through the judicial system with proposed use to be made of traditional justice systems (mato put). Civil society organizations were training women leaders to help put that resolution into practice. He welcomed United Nations cooperation in supporting women's access to justice, participation in the peacebuilding process, and increasing women's presence in northern Uganda's police force.
HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile) said the adoption of resolution 1820 (2008) and resolution 1325 (2000) eight years prior, revealed that atrocities against women in armed conflicts were continuing. That was unacceptable at this stage in the twenty-first century, and must be stopped immediately. He said Chile's National Action Plan was crucial since the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) concerned not just the Security Council and the United Nations system, but the entire international community. Chile's work on the Plan was at the initial stage and gave priority to gender mainstreaming in government policies.
A working group was created last March from representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affair, the Ministry of Defence, the National Women's Service and civil society, tasked with submitting a draft of a National Action Plan that met the requirements of resolution 1325 (2000). The first draft of the Plan had been presented to the public sector this month in order to generate a final draft that faithfully reflected society's interests.
The main thrust of the Action Plan was to adopt a gender approach in respect for and promotion of human rights both in and outside of Chile; promote equitable participation of women in peacekeeping operations and relevant decision-making bodies; mainstream gender in design, implementation and execution of international cooperation policies; enhance the technical capacity of Government officials and civil society in relation to the gender perspective, security and conflict; and promote implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) in the region through the exchange of experience and international cooperation on a bilateral basis and in regional mechanisms for peacekeeping operations in which Chile was involved, particularly the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). He said that, by adopting the Action Plan, Chile was following one of the fundamental principles of its foreign policy -- the promotion of human rights.
MONA JUUL ( Norway) said that, despite progress in implementing resolution 1325 (2000), there were still many challenges. There was still a lack of consideration of women's needs in peace processes, women and girls were still targets of sexual violence in armed conflict, and allegations of sexual misconduct by United Nations peacekeepers still surfaced. That shameful situation must end. It was clear that the zero-tolerance policy must be strengthened with more effective measures in monitoring, prevention, investigation and prosecution. In addition, studies had shown that military peacekeepers needed clear guidelines for action to protect women and girls; clarifying peacekeeping mandates for that purpose must be given higher priority both within the United Nations system and at the national level.
The adoption of resolution 1820 (2008) had been an important step against sexual violence used as a tactic of war, because the Council showed the world that it recognized sexual violence as a security problem requiring a systematic security response. She also strongly supported the United Nations action against sexual violence in conflict.
To strengthen security for women in camps for displaced persons, Norway, in its humanitarian efforts, aimed to ensure that both women and men took part at all levels of planning, organization and management of camps. Women must be systematically registered and treated as individuals, rather than solely as members of a man's family, and camps should be organized so that single women and single men were housed in separate areas. She said the main responsibility for the implementation of resolution 1325 remained with Member States, and Norway's action plan had inspired similar processes among its partners. In that light, she was pleased to see women taking their rightful place in peace processes in the Sudan and Nepal.
CLAUDIA BLUM (Colombia) said the provisions of resolution 1325 (2000) had been incorporated in her country's policies, plans and programmes in the area of peace and security and of promotion of gender equity, particularly through its 2006-2010 National Development Plan. Her country had drawn up the National Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Action Plan, which included the gender perspective in all it provisions. It had also been emphasized that, as women had been victim to violence generated by illegal armed groups, the State must guarantee and redress their rights. Her country had also established women's community councils, which offered opportunity for dialogue at the provincial and municipal levels. Those councils had a "watchdog" function over State policies for women and acted in coordination with the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Women's Equality.
She said that the so called "laboratories of peace" had promoted reconciliation in the several regions. The broad citizens' participation in favour of peace had become a true social laboratory that explored the paths that the Colombian society and the local communities must cover to address violence and favour sustainable development. Those approaches had translated in peace and development initiatives, led by local and regional women's, youth, Afro-Colombian and indigenous organizations. The anticipated result was that such groups would increase their capacity to participate in and influence the policies that contributed to the strengthening of democratic institutions, the establishment of peace and the promotion of coexistence.
KIRSTI LINTONEN ( Finland) welcomed the Security Council's yearly stock-taking on the implementation of resolution 1325, as well as the fact that the Council had, to an increasing extent, included a gender approach in its work maintaining international peace and security. Responses to conflict were more effective, and the ground was better prepared for sustainable peace when both men and women were involved. Women's experiences of war provided them with a knowledge base that should be used to raise their involvement in conflict prevention, crisis management, peacebuilding and reconstruction. They could reach out more easily to local women, serve as positive examples in peacekeeping operations for local populations, and build confidence between the mission and the local community. All those involved in peacekeeping operations should also be sensitized to gender issues and cognizant of a conflict's gender dimensions.
She stressed that, despite progress made in implementing resolution 1325, more work was needed, particularly where the political will to do so did not exist. Indeed, that political will was needed to change deep-seated traditions that discriminated against women. Impunity should be fought; amnesties encompassing rape or sexual violence were unacceptable. The United Nations system also had a major role to play in ensuring that women's wider involvement in peace processes, crisis prevention and management and in post-conflict operation became standard practice. Resolution 1325 should be fully included in all peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates and the mandates of special representatives and envoys. Further work was needed at other levels, starting at home. To that end, Finland had adopted, with the participation of all relevant ministries, a National Action Plan to implement 1325. Gender equality was a growing focus in the recruitment for civilian and military crisis management, and the Government had pledged to support female candidates for operational leadership positions.
SAN LWIN ( Myanmar) said that, in situations of armed conflict, women and girls were among the most vulnerable. Even after war had ended, the deteriorating economic situation heightened women's vulnerability to being trafficked. They were also likely to experience discrimination and domestic violence as they returned to their villages or towns of origin. It must be ensured that there was "zero tolerance" regarding violence against women and girls, a policy Myanmar fully supported. The country's tradition, culture and values reflected efforts to promote gender equality. Successive Governments had endeavoured to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse.
He said the best way to protect civilians, in particular women and children, in armed conflict, was to deter such conflicts. Only recently, his country, thanks to the national reconciliation policy of the Government, had emerged from under the "dark clouds of insurgency and conflict". Today, only remnants of the last insurgent group and narco-trafficking armed groups remained outlaws. The peace and stability that prevailed in almost all corners of Myanmar had resulted in significant improvement in the daily life of civilians, in particular of women and children. Although condemning all forms of sexual assault and violence in armed conflict, he said it was important to avoid politicization of the issue. Sexual violence as a weapon of war must be strongly condemned. So must fabricating allegations and using disinformation as a weapon of political pressure.
JOSEPH NSENGIMANA ( Rwanda) said the 1994 genocide had witnessed some of the most inhumane acts of violence that had targeted women and girls and had used sexual violence as a tactic of genocide. The perpetrators of those heinous crimes, the ex-FAR/Interahamwe, now Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), had been central to regional insecurity in the Great Lakes and continued to be a major factor in the current conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Numerous regional and international agreements provided mechanisms to deal with the threat posed by FDLR, but little or no attempt had been made to translate them into action. It was imperative that those agreements be put into action promptly to enable a lasting solution to the problem that threatened women in the Great Lakes region.
He said the equal participation of women in the promotion of peace and security in both conflict and post-conflict situations was integral to any peacekeeping or peacebuilding process. His Government had set out to ensure that women were central to the political, economic and social governance of the nation. Women held 56 per cent of the seats in Parliament, participated in peacekeeping missions, and held command positions in the armed forces. The participation of women in the maintenance and promotion of peace could only be created through sheer political will. Rwanda had made it abundantly clear that governance without the participation of more than half of its population was not governance, he added.
As a troop-contributing country, Rwanda had a vested interest in preventing sexual violence in situations of armed conflict. Such violence was considered a key component of the security threat by the Rwanda Defence Forces. Awareness training had now been mainstreamed into the curriculum of all military schools and training institutions. He said the participation of Rwandan policewomen in peacekeeping missions in the Sudan had ensured that they raise awareness among the population in support of their mission. The Inter-Agency Task Force on Women, Peace and Security should, therefore, increase its support to Governments in conflict or post-conflict situation to ensure the increased participation of women in the maintenance and promotion of peace.
CARSTEN STAUR (Denmark), associating himself with the statement made by France on behalf of the European Union, said that so far there had been limited focus on the protection of women in conflict situations and even less focus on their right to participate in peacemaking. "We need to change that", he said. The potential contributions of women in prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding and reconstruction could hardly be overestimated. In the important implementation of resolution 1325, it was the results that counted. Satisfactory data was still missing, but it was certain that great challenges were ahead.
Denmark, he said, was one of the very first countries to formulate a national action plan for implementing the resolution. The plan had now been revised with a total Government approach and with the comprehensive cooperation of Danish society. The first objective was to achieve greater participation of women in peacebuilding at the international and local level -- sustainable peace demanded it. The entire international community had an obligation to move much faster to promote and safeguard the rights of women to participate in shaping actions towards equitable peace.
LILA HANITRA RATSIFANDRIHAMANANA, Permanent Observer for the African Union, said that women, by nature, were the source of life and, therefore, the source of peace. Unfortunately, in Africa, women were the first victims of conflicts, along with rapes, forced marriages, slavery and human trafficking. For that reason, the African Union had developed political and judicial instruments towards the protection and empowerment of women, including the rehabilitation of girl soldiers, initiatives for the prosecution of the perpetrators of sexual crimes, and a training manual for peacekeeping personnel. The African Union was also trying to increase women's participation in peacemaking, including through its African Women's Committee for Peace and Development. Current challenges included the mainstreaming of gender perspectives throughout the African Union's structures.
She reiterated support for Council resolutions 1325 and 1820 and their implementation in Africa, along with the use of internationally-agreed principles, such as the Paris Principles, to prevent sexual abuse and discrimination against women and to promote their equal status in society. The African Union also sought to mobilize women leaders to participate in peacekeeping operations at all levels of peace mediation and as special envoys. Women had contributed to many recent peace processes in Africa, but there was still a need to strengthen their involvement. The organization pledged to work together with relevant United Nations bodies on eliminating all forms of violence against women. The specific challenges of women in armed conflict situations were now well known and could not be tolerated any longer. The knowledge gained thus far must be fully integrated in the framework of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations for the maintenance of international peace and security.
FEKITAMOELOA UTOIKAMANU (Tonga), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Small Islands Developing States, said that, during times of conflict, communities were torn apart, further exacerbating the vulnerability of women to violence. The reintegration and rebuilding of communities was, therefore, crucial. In addition, the United Nations and Member States must work together to address the issue of women's participation in peace talks, justice processes and peacekeeping efforts, as well as in the rebuilding of their communities.
For those purposes, gender concerns must be mainstreamed into the activities of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, she said. She supported the establishment of a gender unit in the Department of Political Affairs and encouraged the inclusion of women's issues in all disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities. Finally, she reiterated that it was vital to consider the security implications of climate change and how it might affect the most vulnerable groups. The recent congress in the Philippines last month brought much-needed attention to the link between gender, climate change and disaster risk reduction.
IN-KOOK PARK ( Republic of Korea) said that meaningful gains had been made in the past eight years through Member States efforts to incorporate women into peacekeeping processes and otherwise mainstream gender issues. Those gains were not enough, however. Far too many women found themselves passively swept along by a peace process, rather than by active participants in dialogue and policy-making. One way to address the issue was to empower Member States by providing a clear framework for the nomination protocol of women for systematic participation at all levels.
That participation must be actively supported by the full United Nations system and built into its policy-making procedures, he said. He welcomed the recent appointments of female officials, and encouraged more such appointments, both at Headquarters and at field level. In order to ensure that women and gender components were integrated into peacekeeping operations, he suggested that the Security Council consider the creation of a separate procedural body for that purpose. The Department of Political Affairs should also be enhanced with adequate human resources to ensure women's participation. Violence against women in post-conflict situations must be made a thing of the past. Towards that goal, sanctions should be aimed at perpetrators and tolerance of impunity should end.
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