24 April 2009
Deputy Secretary-General

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York




Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks on United Nations support in advancing national implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) in New York today, 24 April:

I am pleased to be here to discuss with you Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), a resolution that can truly transform our approach to women in peace and security situations.  I am particularly thankful to President [Mary] Robinson and Ambassador [Swanee] Hunt, and their respective organizations, for taking the initiative to organize this event.  I am heartened to hear you had fruitful discussions this morning.  I trust these will energize all of this important work you are doing.  Particular thanks to the Mission of Belgium for hosting us.  I would like to acknowledge His Excellency, Olivier Belle, the Deputy Permanent Representative.

We need to prevent this resolution from remaining simply words on paper.  Let us ensure that it is used as a tool to demand the protection and empowerment of women and girls, especially in those countries emerging out of conflict.  It must serve in practical ways to promote women’s participation in peace processes and post-conflict recovery.

And, for the international community, it offers a platform for preventing rights abuses.  Last year, the Security Council reaffirmed the importance of resolution 1325 (2000) by going a step further in adopting resolution 1820 (2008).  The Council recognized what women have long known:  sexual violence, as a tactic of war, can threaten peace and security.  Mass rape can reignite the flames of conflict that the Security Council and peacekeeping missions are trying to extinguish.

You are all aware of the statistics.  I need not repeat them.  I do wish to mention one situation in order to underscore the urgency of the problem.  In the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the two primary hospitals in the Kivus can barely meet the demand for surgery to repair rape-related fistula.  Women in displacement camps cannot safely collect water, food or firewood.  Children cannot safely get to school.  Sexual terrorism holds entire communities hostage.

We all know that -- across the board -- enough has not yet been done to fully realize the provisions of resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008).  Progress in their implementation has been limited, but it is worth noting those positive steps that are being taken.  More than a dozen countries have developed national action plans that aim to increase women's contributions to conflict resolution and sustainable peace.  Other States are in the process of doing so.  We need to help these countries and many more to create an environment where every woman and girl feels safe.

The United Nations, through its Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality, is trying to ensure that our work on resolution 1325 (2000) is coordinated.  System-wide, there is a results-based programming, monitoring and reporting tool which guides our work.  We need to translate the provisions of the resolution into practical policy recommendations.  That is why it has proven useful to advocate a framework of the three Ps -– Protection, Participation and Prevention -– in developing national action plans.

In Liberia, we saw how critical action plans can be.  Several United Nations entities (including INSTRAW, UNIFEM and the peacekeeping mission) joined together to help the Government create a comprehensive national action plan.  The plan was launched just last month after extensive consultations.  The Liberian Government focused on strategic issues, with specific actions and indicators, to ensure women are included in post-conflict recovery efforts at every level of society.  This work could well serve as a model for other nations.

Member States need help in translating the provisions of resolution 1325 (2000) into policies and programmes.  United Nations peace operations are essential to this effort.  Our peacekeepers no longer focus only on military tasks.  Our efforts are no longer directed only at parties to a conflict.  Peace operations now deal with human rights, the rule of law, humanitarian aid and a range of other issues that directly affect women.  Since the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), gender mainstreaming has become a core component of peace operations.  The United Nations has gender advisers in most complex peace support operations.  Peacekeeping missions continue to strengthen their hand.

Despite these steps, more must be done.  The international community must be willing to provide the support needed to strengthen all of these efforts.  I am confident we can build innovative partnerships that result in solid, speedy progress.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of Member States to truly implement resolution 1325 (2000).  To turn policy commitments into actions.  The real measure of success is not the setting up of systems, plans and processes.  The measure is women’s participation in, and contribution to, more sustainable peace agreements and post-conflict reconstruction efforts.

Many challenges can be overcome if there is political will and leadership.  By helping countries bring to life the practical measures outlined in resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008), we can empower women to take up their rightful place in their families, communities and societies. 

Have no doubt -- our work in this area is of vital importance to millions of women, girls, men and boys across the world.  I stand ready to do whatever I can to support this work.

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For information media • not an official record