31 MAY 2007
Thank you, Ursula, for organizing this important conference including the insightful reports of the workshops we just heard.
I would like to touch upon this important topic from a UN perspective.
Gender equality is a basic principle of the United Nations. The Charter of the UN affirms that one of the organization’s central goals is “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women”. In 1946, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was established.
More often, women and children are the majority of victims of today’s conflicts. However it is important to recognize that women are also combatants, participants, leaders, negotiators, peacemakers, and activists.
The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 adopted a plan of action, the Platform for Action (PFA). One of the critical areas identified in the PFA is on women and armed conflict.
Two critical tools for moving the gender equality agenda forward (also in conflict and post-conflict situations):
The role of the UN General Assembly is to provide political guidance, including development of a normative framework.
During this session of the UN General Assembly, I organized a high level meeting on the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. It was widely recognized that there still are huge barriers to equal participation of women and men, including in the armed forces.
Women’s perspectives to challenges in armed conflict as well as other issues are not biological; they are cultural and historic.
The regional challenges that the Middle East pose are:
To succeed (make a difference) in sustainable peace and security, the following is key: