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Panel  to launch the new publication: 
Gender Perspectives on Disarmament 
14 March 2001, United Nations


Opening Statement by
Ms. Angela E.V. King
Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser
on Gender Issues and
Advancement of Women

With the adoption of the Economic and Social Council agreed conclusions on gender mainstreaming (1997/2), the United Nations was mandated to work systematically to incorporate gender perspectives into all areas of substantive work. In my role as Special Adviser to the Secretary General, I promote, facilitate and monitor the efforts to implement gender mainstreaming throughout the United Nations system. All parts of the United Nations are making efforts to identify and address gender perspectives in their work programmes, including through greater attention to gender perspectives in the Medium-term Plans and Programme Budgets. Since 1997 my office has collaborated actively with different departments in the Secretariat to facilitate greater attention to gender perspectives in their substantive work.

The recent collaboration with the Department of Disarmament has been particularly stimulating and rewarding. Since there was a clear need to further develop awareness and knowledge on gender perspectives in relation to different areas of disarmament, the decision was reached to collaboratively develop briefing notes on the areas of work of the Department. It is an indication of the commitment of the Department of Disarmament Affairs that the Under Secretary-General, Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala, will himself launch the briefing notes through his keynote address at this panel.

Development of the briefing note on landmines involved collaboration with the Mines Action Service in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and we are pleased to have the Chief of the Mines Action Service, Mr. Martin Barber, on the panel to discuss gender perspectives in this important area of disarmament affairs. Collaboration was also established the process of developing the briefing notes with a number of NGOs working in the area of disarmament and Ms. Felicity Hill of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and Professor Wendy Cukier from Ryerson University will provide the NGO perspectives on the panel. The participation of Minister Maria Angelica Arce de Jeannet from the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations and Ms Petra Scheenbauer, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations, who is also a member of the First Committee of the General Assembly on Disarmament and International Security, will provide valuable information on how Member States of the United Nations can support gender mainstreaming in the area of disarmament.

In developing the briefing notes it became very clear that this was path-breaking work as there was very little information available on the gender perspectives of disarmament. The value of collaboration on the development of the briefing notes was the bringing together of the separate expertise on gender equality and disarmament affairs. The panelists will emphasize, I am sure, that even more work needs to be done to ensure the full integration of gender perspectives in disarmament affairs.

I would also like to point out that the panel is very timely, during preparations for the World Conference on the Illicit Trade of Small Arms and Weapons in All its Aspects, scheduled for July 2001.

It therefore gives me great pleasure to invite the Under Secretary-General to make the keynote address.

Keynote Address: Jayantha Dhanapala- Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs