PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL’S SPECIAL ADVISER ON ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN

25 October 2006

PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL’S SPECIAL ADVISER ON ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN

25 October 2006
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL’S SPECIAL ADVISER ON ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN

Briefing correspondents ahead of the Security Council’s debate tomorrow on women, peace and security, Rachel N. Mayanja, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, said that, while progress had been made in implementing the provisions of the Council’s landmark resolution 1325 (2000), that progress had been haphazard and inconsistent.

Outlining the findings of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1325 by the United Nations, which the Council would have before it tomorrow, she said that report reflected the fact that when the entities of the United Nations system worked in concert, the United Nations system-wide action plan for the implementation of resolution 1325 had proven effective. 

Presenting a comprehensive assessment of the first eight months of the implementation of the system-wide action plan, developed by the Secretary-General last year in response to the Council’s request, the report (document S/2006/770) states that, while gender equality is increasingly recognized as a core issue in the maintenance of international peace and security, women’s role in peace processes continues to be viewed as a side issue rather than as fundamental to the development of viable democratic institutions and the establishment of sustainable peace. 

Describing gaps in such areas as accountability and coordination, Ms. Mayanja noted that the comprehensive review of the system-wide action plan had not found sufficient evidence of commitment at the highest levels of implementation.  That lack of commitment was demonstrated both by a lack of resources and the junior level of the staff tasked with overseeing the action plan’s implementation.  The report made a series of recommendations to address those shortcomings.

While the system-wide action plan had been developed to monitor the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security by the various United Nations entities, Member States had the primary responsibility for ensuring the resolution’s implementation, she added.  In that regard, it was important to learn from Member States what they were doing to implement landmark resolution 1325.

Describing the methodology for the assessment, she said the review had used a three-phase process.  A comprehensive questionnaire had been sent to the United Nations entities that had contributed to the action plan and a series of interviews with Organization officials and experts had been conducted.  Discussions with Member States and civil society organizations had also been held.  A number of events had been organized by the United Nations and civil society groups to mark tomorrow’s commemoration, she added.

Asked if Member States had made progress in implementing resolution 1325, she said the assessment focused on the resolution’s implementation by United Nations entities, not Member States.  Some Member States had instituted national action plans, however.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations had organized a forum to encourage troop and police contributing States to increase the number of women in their contingents.  India, for example, was sending some 125 women police officers to Liberia.  Different actions were being taken at different levels.

Would there be an assessment of which countries were lagging behind and which were cooperating? a correspondent asked.

Responding, she said that would be a good suggestion for the Security Council, which had the primary responsibility for monitoring the implementation of resolution 1325.  The Council needed to ask Member States to come up with national action plans.  Those who had were mainly developed countries, such as Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Canada.  Countries emerging from conflict needed to develop action plans, as they could benefit most from the resolution’s full implementation.  Those countries needed clear action plans to spell out their commitment to the resolution.  Implementing the resolution would go a long way towards consolidating and sustaining peace.

In reply to a question on the International Criminal Court, she said her official capacity did not extend to that Court.  The Court had not been included in the report as it was not a part of the United Nations system, she said in response to another question.

Responding to a question on Uganda, she stressed the need for the peace negotiations currently taking place to succeed.  The number of women and children hurt by the conflict and the suffering they had endured was unbelievable.  The first priority was to secure the peace.  Once peace was achieved, it would be possible to talk about the impact of the war and the accountability of the various players. 

Asked whether she intended to ask the next Secretary-General to include more women in decision-making positions, she noted that, in her recent statement to the General Assembly’s Third Committee, she had expressed the hope that the new Secretary-General would demonstrate 50-50 gender balance in his cabinet.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.