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Joint workshop of
the United Nations Inter-agency Network on Women and Gender Equality
and the OECD-DAC Network on Gender Equality
( OECD, Paris, 10-11 July 2003 )
Final Communiqué:Gender and post-conflict reconstruction: lessons learned from Afghanistan
"Our challenges are enormous but our determination is greater than the challenges we face" - Madame Habiba Sarabi, Minister of Women's Affairs, Afghanistan.
Women often bear the brunt of violent conflict but also have a vital role to play in reconstruction processes. Recent events in Afghanistan have raised renewed hopes worldwide that this would mark a new era of freedom and empowerment for Afghan women and girls. Experience is showing that accomplishing this is no easy task.
A joint United Nations and OECD-DAC workshop in Paris on gender and post-conflict reconstruction drew on lessons from Afghanistan and elsewhere. The workshop identified challenges and constraints as well as good practice for achieving gender equality and meeting women's needs more effectively in humanitarian assistance and recovery; reconstruction of the political, public and security sectors; promotion of economic and social development; and human rights protection and legal reform.
The workshop brought together Afghanistan women leaders, including Madame Habiba Sarabi, the Minister of Women's Affairs, staff of United Nations' entities, representatives of OECD DAC member countries and civil society, and gender and post-conflict experts with field experience in reconstruction.
The Bonn Agreement (2001) paved the way for the establishment of a Ministry of Women's Affairs as part of the new Afghanistan administration. It called for the establishment of a broad-based, multi-ethnic, fully representative, gender-sensitive Government. It recognised, as did the landmark United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), that the participation of women and attention to their rights and status are critical to national peace and reconstruction processes.
Reconstruction programmes, based on human rights principles, can avoid perpetuating situations of inequality and discrimination and lead to the creation of more equitable and sustainable societies. A safe environment, free from violence, is a precondition for achieving this.
Key lessons learned
Drawing on experiences from Afghanistan and elsewhere, the workshop identified the essential elements for an equitable gender-sensitive reconstruction process. These should take full account of the rights of both women and men by:
The way forward
The workshop also made proposals for strengthening international support for Afghanistan and building on this to ensure dynamic gender perspectives in future post conflict reconstruction efforts. The international community should:
... and in addition
|UN ACC Inter-Agency Committee
on Women and Gender Equality
|OECD/DAC Working Party
on Gender Equality
|Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women