Statement

by

Ms. Angela E.V. King

Special Adviser on Gender Issues and

Advancement of Women

at the

Open Meeting of the Security Council on

Conflict, Peacekeeping and Gender

New York, 25 July 2002

 

 

 

 

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to address this open debate of the Security Council on conflict, peacekeeping and gender and to present to you some findings, challenges and recommendations emanating from the Secretary-Generalís study on women, peace and security mandated by the historic Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).

 

I would like to pay tribute to the President of the Security Council for taking this initiative of organizing the debate.It offers us a valuable opportunity to examine the original intention behind resolution 1325 and its implementation since.

 

The linkage between gender and peace is not new.The Mexico World Conference on Women - Equality, Development and Peace in 1975, the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies in 1985, the Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, and the Windhoek Declaration and Plan of Action in 2000 are historic milestones on our way to Security Council resolution 1325.

 

How does the Secretary-Generalís study differ from what has been learned in the past?The main strength of the study is that it is based on the inputs from all United Nations entities participating in the Inter-agency Task Force on Women, Peace and Security.I am most grateful for their work over the past 18 months.And as such, the study benefits from a coordinated wealth of collective wisdom and experience of the United Nations system both, at Headquarters and in the field.Its coverage is broad, being based on a rich variety of field experiences from peace operations run by DPKO and DPA, gender advisers, case studies and background information from UN agencies, funds and programmes (DESA/DAW, DDA, DPA, DPKO, DPI, ILO, OCHA, OHCHR, OHRM, OSAGI, SRSGCAC, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNIFEM, UNU, WFP), as well as IOM, ICRC and the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, also members of the Task Force, together with two former women SRSGs, scholars, practitioners and women grassroots leaders.

 

The study is indeed unique as, for the first time, it provides a systematic overview of gender-related activities carried out by the United Nations family in the peace and security field.It reveals the impact of armed conflict on women and girls at every stage of conflict.It highlights that the corrosive and pervasive violence against women and girls during armed conflict often persists as domestic violence when the conflict is over.The study shows that women and girls can also be combatants and perpetrators, and where that occurs, they must be brought equally with men into the process of disarmament, demobilization, resettlement and capacity-building after the conflict.†† It spells out clearly the role of women and the obstacles they face in contributing to all aspects of sustainable peace (conflict prevention, peace-making, peacekeeping, peace-enforcement, reconciliation, peace-building, and post-conflict reconstruction).It sets out what are concrete gender perspectives at every phase of conflict and its resolution.

 

If Security Council resolution 1325 is a blueprint for the integration of a gender perspective in peace and humanitarian operations, then the study is a tool from which practical recommendations can be drawn for the Secretary-Generalís report.

 

Its main conclusion is that sustainable peace and lasting security cannot be achieved without womenís empowerment and full involvement.

 

The study builds on the Security Councilís work in prevention of armed conflicts, protection of civilians and the impact of armed conflict on children, as well as causes of conflict, particularly in Africa.Its findings point to close interrelationships between gender and peace, on the one hand, and democratization, development and human rights, on the other.It unequivocally demonstrates that women do make a difference when it comes to peace and security.I wish to illustrate the findings by two wider issues.

 

First, a mere cessation of hostilities does not bring an end to todayís intra-state conflict.To end conflict, the creation of sustainable peace by fostering fundamental societal changes is required.These include democracy, good governance, human rights, the rule of law and gender equality.If half of the population - women -are excluded, these fundamental changes will just not occur.The study shows that in many conflict areas such as East Timor, Guatemala, Kosovo, Mano River, Somalia, South Africa and others, women sometimes working with men, are beginning to transform societies by changing social institutions, traditional gender roles and influencing warring parties.The study illustrates some success stories but many remain untold.

 

Second, lasting peace must be home-grown and based on indigenous processes.Local women, who hold communities together during conflict, organize political movements, manage relief efforts, or work with military forces, bring these experiences into peace processes and rebuilding their societies.

 

While there have been many examples where women have been active peacemakers, they remain marginalized (El Salvador, Guatemala).Traditional thinking about war and peace either ignores women or regards them only as victims.The study also makes recommendations to move women off the sidelines and into everyday peace and humanitarian activities of the UN.What are the challenges to doing so?

They include the lack of political will to recognize women as equal partners, discrimination against women and girls, insufficient understanding of how to translate the goal of gender equality into our policies and operations or adapt best practices.It is surprising to learn from the study how much United Nations entities, both within the Secretariat (DPKO) and in the system (WFP, UNHCR, ILO, IASC) have done to develop gender-sensitive guidelines and policies.On the other, it is disappointing to learn how little monitoring and self-evaluation is carried out.Even in the case of training, while there are now excellent pilot-tested training packages, there is a clear lack of follow-up.

 

Among the many recommendations are:

        The incorporation of a gender perspective in peace and humanitarian operations, must at all times have the full support of the Security Council, (from the authorization of the mandate through monitoring and reporting to the Secretary-General and the Council).

 

        The Security Council and the Secretary-General should ensure that all peace agreements and informal understandings include the issue of protection of women and children and establish efficient mechanisms for holding parties to the conflict accountable.

 

        States in conflict, mediating States/leaders, and UN negotiating teams should ensure the participation of women at all stages and at all levels of peace processes and humanitarian operations as well as in decision-making in post-conflict reconstruction.[Where women have been part of UN-led missions, local people have said it made a difference (South Africa, Namibia, Guatemala).]

 

        From the outset, all missions should have gender advisers/ gender focal points visibly supported by the SRSG, adequately resourced and backstopped by Headquarters in the person of a Senior Gender Adviser in DPKO.(In missions where these conditions prevail there is likely to be a more effective outcome (East Timor, DRC, Afghanistan).)

 

        The necessary financial resources for gender-related programmes, projects and capacity building, must be part of the missionís approved budget.

 

        The Secretariat should maintain a database of civil society organizations, including womenís groups, to serve as a resource for consultations by UN assessment or other missions.

 

        Greater efforts should be made by the Secretariat and Member States to increase the percentage of women overall and in policy-making positions (SRSG, DSRSG, Special Envoys) in peace operations.

 

        Existing inter-agency mechanisms (ECPS, ECHA, UNDG, IASC) should promote a principled approach to gender equality including the sharing of effective guidelines, codes of conduct and policies, e.g. on sexual harassment and ensure that violators under the UN flag are brought to justice.

 

        The Security Council should review the implementation of resolution 1325 by Member States, the UN system and civil society annually.

 

Mr. President,

 

††††††††††† †† Many other recommendations on protection issues, humanitarian law, girl child soldiers, disarmament, demobilization, resettlement and rebuilding are included in the study.

 

††††††††††† I thank you for the opportunity of addressing the Council and look forward to your views and guidance.

 

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