28 October 2005

UN Must Appoint more Women to Senior Levels in UN Peace Operations, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Council Anniversary Debate

She Urges Member States to Present Organization with Strong Candidates

NEW YORK, 27 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette's remarks at the Security Council debate on women, peace and security, as delivered in New York today, 27 October:

Let me thank the President of the Security Council for convening this open debate to mark the fifth anniversary of resolution 1325, and for devoting it to the topic of women's participation in peace processes.

The principle of women's participation is at the heart of resolution 1325.  That landmark document called on Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels.

Awareness and recognition of that issue have grown considerably in recent years -- both in conflict-affected societies and in the international community.

Yet, five years after 1325 was adopted, in most parts of the world -- and particularly those suffering from armed conflict -- women are still not adequately represented at the negotiating table, the cabinet table or the conference table.  Clearly, Governments must redouble their efforts. 

So must we in the United Nations itself.  We need to appoint more women at senior levels of peace operations.  In that, we must be more proactive.  But we also rely on Member States to present us with strong candidates.

We need to develop a more systematic approach to consulting with women in the earliest stages of a peace process, including in discussions on constitutional development, judicial reform and reconciliation.

And we need to maintain the utmost vigilance in preventing further instances of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel and peacekeepers, which have caused such damage to the standing of our peace operations, and inflicted such wounds on the very people we are working to help.

In a moment you will hear a statement from Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno who will present an update on the DPKO's progress towards implementation of resolution 1325.  You will also hear from Mrs. Rachel Mayanja, the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, on the Secretary-General's report of 10 October on women, peace and security, which contains a system-wide action plan on the implementation of the resolution.  You will also hear a statement from Ms. Noeleen Heyzer from UNIFEM.

The Secretariat looks forward to the Council's advice and practical support in carrying out initiatives to implement resolution 1325, in finding better ways to empower women, sharing good practices and enhancing women's role in decision-making at all levels.

I hope this debate will help move that process forward.  In that spirit, I wish you a most successful meeting.

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