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2004 report of the Secretary-General on Women, Peace and Security

In October 2002, the Security Council adopted Presidential Statement 2002/32 which requested the preparation of a follow-up report on the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security to be presented to the Security Council in October 2004.

The Secretary-General's report (S/2004/814) provides illustrative examples of progress made and identifies gaps and challenges in the implementation of resolution 1325 as well as recommendations for further action which the Security Council and other actors may wish to consider. It is based on contributions from Member States and entities of the United Nations system. It draws on the assessment of progress and recommendations made in the report on women, peace and security (S/2002/1154), the in-depth study by the Secretary-General mandated in resolution 1325 and other studies and reports, including an independent experts' assessment commissioned by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

Initiatives have been taken by a broad range of actors to implement resolution 1325, inter alia by developing policies, action plans, guidelines and indicators; increasing access to gender expertise; providing training; promoting consultation with and participation of women; increasing attention to human rights; and supporting the initiative of women's groups. Resolution 1325 has been effectively utilized by civil society organizations as an advocacy and monitoring tool. Despite significant achievements, major gaps and challenges remain in all areas including in particular in relation to women's participation in conflict prevention and peace processes; integration of gender perspectives in peace agreements; attention to the contributions and needs of women in humanitarian and reconstruction processes; and representation of women in decision-making positions. Increased incidence of sexual and gender-based violence in recent years and the failure to provide adequate protection is a critical issue and will be treated in also described in the report.

Recommendations of the 2004 report include:

In relationship to increasing women's participation and incorporating gender perspectives in all aspects of peace and security

The Secretary General intends to:

  1. Develop a comprehensive system-wide strategy and action plan for increasing attention to gender perspectives in conflict prevention with particular emphasis on monitoring and reporting mechanisms;
  2. To develop a comprehensive strategy and action plan for mainstreaming gender perspectives into peacekeeping activities at Headquarters and in peacekeeping operations, in particular in the planning of new operations, with specific monitoring and reporting mechanisms;
  3. The Secretary-General intends to routinely incorporate gender perspectives in all thematic and country reports to the Security Council and continue to monitor the progress made.

The Secretary-General urges Member States, entities of the United Nations and civil society to:

  1. Ensure the full participation of women and incorporation of gender perspectives in all conflict prevention work and to strengthen interaction with women's organizations to ensure that their contributions as well as their needs and priorities are included in the collection and analysis of information to guide conflict prevention strategies and early warning efforts;
  2. Develop comprehensive guidelines and training initiatives based on the framework of model provisions on promoting gender equality in peace agreements;
  3. Review recent peace processes and analyse the obstacles to and missed opportunities for women's full participation in peace negotiations and develop strategies accordingly;
  4. Strengthen the incorporation of gender perspectives in the Consolidated Appeal Process and ensure routine monitoring of the CAP from a gender perspective, including the financial resources provided;
  5. Establish a coordinated humanitarian response monitoring system with specific indicators to determine attention to gender perspectives at field level;
  6. Develop approaches and guidelines for ensuring that all programmes and policies in support of the rule of law, including constitutional, judicial and legislative reform, promote gender equality and women's human rights;
  7. Systematically use the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women as a guiding framework in programmes and other support in post-conflict countries;
  8. Review the extent to which women have participated and their concerns have been met in truth and reconciliation processes and make recommendations to guide the development of future reconciliation processes;
  9. Set indicators and benchmarks for women's equal participation in all aspects of elections process, based on a review of good practice;
  10. Plan and implement, in consultation with women, specific initiatives for women and girls, and systematically incorporate gender perspectives in the planning, implementation and monitoring of all reconstruction programmes and budgets, to ensure that women and girls benefit directly from resources mobilized through multilateral and bilateral sources;
  11. Develop guidelines, based on a review of good practice, on increasing attention to the needs and contributions of women and girls in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes and monitor and report regularly on their implementation;
  12. Further analyse the obstacles to increasing women's representation in peace operations and humanitarian response and develop and implement recruitment strategies aimed at increasing the number of women, particularly in decision making positions, including in military and civilian police services;
  13. Create a pool of pre-certified female candidates for senior level positions to ensure rapid deployment;
  14. Enhance coordination to facilitate implementation of resolution 1325 at all levels, in developing partnerships with key actors at regional level and with women's groups and networks at local level;
  15. Strengthen gender theme groups in countries emerging from conflict by ensuring clear mandates and authority, staff with sufficient levels of seniority and expertise, adequate resources and access to senior managers.

In relationship to preventing and responding to gender-based violence in armed conflict

The Secretary-General submits the following actions for the attention of the Security Council, Member States, United Nations entities and other relevant bodies:

  1. Apply increased pressure on parties to armed conflict, including during missions and peace negotiations, to cease all violations of the human rights of women and girls, including sexual and gender-based violence;
  2. End impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including sexual and gender-based violence, and ensure that international and national courts have adequate resources, access to gender expertise, gender training for all staff and gender-sensitive programmes for victim and witness protection in order to more effectively prosecute those responsible;
  3. Ensure that human rights and other monitors have gender expertise, conduct gender-responsive investigations and report findings systematically to the Council;
  4. Ensure adequate human and financial support to programmes that provide care and support through legal, economic, psychosocial and reproductive health services to survivors of gender-based violence;
  5. Apply the same standards of special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse as set forth in the Secretary-General's bulletin to peacekeeping personnel, including military and civilian police;
  6. The Secretary-General reaffirms his conviction that sexual exploitation and sexual abuse are totally unacceptable forms of behaviour and reiterate my commitment to the full implementation of the special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse as set forth in my bulletin. He further urges Member States, intergovernmental and regional organizations, international and national aid and civil society organizations, to apply the same standards to peacekeeping personnel, including military and civilian police.

Conclusion and the way forward

In the four years since the adoption of resolution 1325, there has been a positive shift in international understanding of the impact of armed conflict on women and girls and the importance of women's participation as equal partners in all areas related to peace and security. Member States, United Nations entities and civil society actors have made significant strides in implementing the resolution, including by incorporating gender perspectives in policies, programmatic tools and capacity building activities. The real test of the adequacy of these efforts is, however, in their impact on the ground. In no area of peace and security work are gender perspectives systematically incorporated in planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting. The peacekeeping and humanitarian arenas have seen the most dramatic improvement in terms of new policies, gender expertise and training initiatives. An outstanding challenge is increasing the numbers of women in high-level decision making positions in peacekeeping operations. In the areas of conflict prevention, peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction, women do not participate fully and more needs to be done to ensure promotion of gender equality is an explicit goal in the pursuit of sustainable peace.

A pressing challenge is the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls in armed conflict. The reality on the ground is that humanitarian and human rights law are blatantly disregarded by parties to conflicts and women and girls continue to be subject to sexual and gender-based violence and other human rights violations. Much more sustained commitment and effort, including partnerships with men and boys, is required to stop the violence, end impunity and bring perpetrators to justice.

Much of the work on increasing attention to gender perspectives, protecting the human rights of women and promoting women's participation has been done on an ad hoc basis through voluntary contributions. Inadequate specific resource allocations have contributed to slow progress in the implementation of the resolution in practice. We must ensure that regular budgetary resources are specifically allocated for both gender mainstreaming and initiatives targeted at women and girls.

Resolution 1325 holds a promise to women across the globe that their rights will be protected and that barriers to their equal participation and full involvement in the maintenance and promotion of sustainable peace will be removed. We must uphold this promise. To achieve the goals set out in the resolution, political will, concerted action and accountability on the part of the entire international community, are required. I urge the Security Council, Member States, United Nations entities and civil society organizations to reaffirm their commitment and strengthen efforts to implement fully resolution 1325, and call for regular monitoring of implementation through the Security Council.

Relevant documents and reports

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