28 October 2005
Security Council Stresses Urgency of Full, Effective Implementation of "Landmark" Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security
Presidential Statement Follows Day-Long Debate; Council Told Women Still Not Adequately Represented at Negotiating or Cabinet Table
NEW YORK, 27 October (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council today, recognizing women's constant underrepresentation in formal peace processes and deeply concerned about persistent obstacles and challenges resulting from such situations as violence, shattered economies and social structures and poverty, stressed the importance and urgency for accelerating the full and effective implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), as it marked the fifth anniversary of the landmark document with a day-long debate on women, peace and security.
In a statement read out by Council President Mihnea Ioan Motoc (Romania), the Council also condemned sexual and other forms of violence against women, calling upon all parties to armed conflict to ensure full and effective protection of women, while emphasizing also the need to end impunity of those responsible for gender-based violence. It condemned also, in the strongest terms, all acts of sexual misconduct by United Nations personnel in peacekeeping missions, urging troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action and supporting the United Nations efforts to fully implement codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures to prevent further such acts.
Recognizing contributions by women as mediators, peacemakers, peacebuilders and advocates for peace, the Council encouraged Member States and the Secretary-General to maintain regular contacts with local women organizations and networks and to ensure their involvement in reconstruction processes, particularly at the decision-making level. Welcoming the United Nations system-wide action plan for the implementation of resolution 1325 across the United Nations system, the Council urged the Secretary-General to proceed with the appointment of a gender adviser within the Department of Political Affairs and to continue to identify women candidates for senior-level positions within the United Nations, including as special representatives.
Some 48 speakers addressed the Council, taking stock of progress achieved in implementing resolution 1325, which was described by the Council President as a "turning point" for the Council, five years after its adoption.
At the outset, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette said the principle of women's participation was at the heart of the landmark document, which called on Member States to ensure women's increased representation at all decision-making levels. Yet, five years after its adoption, women were still not adequately represented at the negotiating table, the cabinet table or the conference table. Governments clearly needed to redouble their efforts, and the United Nations needed to be more proactive. The Organization also needed to maintain the utmost vigilance in preventing further instances of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers and personnel.
Rachel Mayanja, Assistant Secretary-General, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, presenting the Secretary-General's United Nations system-wide action plan for implementing resolution 1325, said the Council's historic resolution had fundamentally changed the image of women from that of exclusively victims of war to that of active participants as peacemakers, peacebuilders and negotiators. Despite the progress achieved, many gaps remained to be filled. Women's bodies had become battlegrounds, and they shouldered the thrust of the post-conflict problems and were primary victims of unspeakable sexual and gender-based violence.
Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, agreed that major challenges remained, such as the shameful engagement of some peacekeepers in sexual exploitation. While many steps were being taken to address that problem, such abuse could not be ultimately prevented without empowering women and girls through gender mainstreaming. He intended to vigorously address the remaining challenges in the coming years, focusing on the broadening of responsibility for gender mainstreaming and assuring that all policies were consistent with resolution 1325.
Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), said the transition from war to peace presented a unique opportunity to address the causes of conflict and transform institutions to create a more equitable and inclusive society. To do that effectively, they must take into account women's experiences and capabilities. It was also necessary to ensure that non-compliance with women's issues was subject to sanctions, to ensure justice for women and girls in matters of violence, trafficking and other harm to them. At the heart of real justice was the demand that human rights violations against women and girls be regarded and treated as crimes by the criminal justice system.
Given the unfinished agenda for Afghan women, Sweeta Noori, Country Director for Afghanistan, Women for Women International, stressed the need for the international community to remain engaged in her country. Describing two Afghanistans -- one that was developing and another that was violent and unstable -- she noted that exercising one's rights in her country was often a life or death choice. Weaving her life between the two, she saw both "islands of peace" and areas where traditional tribal rule shaped how women were treated and what her rights were, if she had any at all.
In the discussion that followed, speakers emphasized the need for vigilance in addressing the "disgraceful" issue of sexual exploitation, which was a blight on a key area of United Nations activity. Agreeing that many gaps remained in implementing the resolution, speakers agreed that the Secretary-General's proposed United Nations system-wide action plan, as well as the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, would provide an opportunity to capitalize on gains already achieved, including by systematically incorporating women at the earliest stages of peace processes.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Republic of Tanzania, Greece, United States, Benin, Algeria, Argentina, Denmark, France, United Kingdom (on behalf of the European Union), Italy, Brazil, Japan, China, Russian Federation, Philippines, Romania, Sweden, Indonesia, Namibia (on behalf of the Southern African Development Community), Iceland, Egypt, Norway, Samoa (on behalf of the Pacific Island Forum), Australia, El Salvador, Fiji, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Peru, Liechtenstein, Croatia, Canada, South Africa, Malaysia, Germany, Austria, Sri Lanka, Guinea, Kenya and Israel.
Also making statements today were: Helene Dandi, Regional Adviser for West Africa of the Network of African Women for Peace; Elsie-Bernadette Onubogu, Gender Adviser of the Commonwealth Secretariat; and Anders B. Johnsson, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
The meeting began at 10:22 a.m., suspended at 1:30 p.m., resumed at 2:18 p.m. and adjourned at 6:31 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2005/52 reads as follows:
"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the continuing and full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000) and recalls the Statements of its President of 31 October 2001 (S/PRST/2001/31), 31 October 2002 (S/PRST/2002/32) and 28 October 2004 (S/PRST/2004/40), as reiterating that commitment.
"The Security Council recalls the 2005 World Summit Outcome (General Assembly resolution 60/1), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (A/52/31), the outcomes of the Conference and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for twenty-first century" and the Declaration of the forty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women (E/CN.6/2005/1).
"While welcoming the progress achieved so far, the Security Council stresses the importance and urgency for accelerating the full and effective implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
"The Security Council reaffirms the importance of full and equal participation of women in peace processes at all levels and urges Member States, regional and subregional organizations and the United Nations system to enhance the role of women in decision-making with regard to all peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction and rebuilding of societies.
"The Security Council welcomes the various initiatives and actions undertaken by Member States, the United Nations entities, civil society organizations and other relevant actors, focused on supporting and increasing the representation of women in peace negotiations and mainstreaming gender perspectives into peace agreements.
"The Security Council recognizes and welcomes the roles of, and contributions made by, women as mediators, educators, peacemakers, peacebuilders and advocates for peace, as well as their active contribution to reconciliation efforts and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes.
"The Security Council recognizes the constant underrepresentation of women in formal peace processes and is deeply concerned about persistent obstacles and challenges resulting from situations such as violence against women, shattered economies and social structures, lack of rule of law, poverty, limited access to education and resources, various forms of discrimination and stereotypes. The Security Council believes that more must be done in order to achieve the greater participation and effective contribution of women at the negotiating table and in developing and implementing post-conflict strategies and programmes.
"The Security Council encourages Member States and the Secretary-General to maintain regular contacts with local women organizations and networks, to utilize their knowledge, expertise and resources and to ensure their involvement in reconstruction processes, particularly at the decision-making level.
"The Security Council also encourages Member States, donors and civil society to provide financial, political and technical support, as well as adequate training for women's peacebuilding initiatives and networks.
"The Security Council welcomes the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) across the United Nations system, contained in the Report of the Secretary-General on women, peace and security S/2005/636, and requests the Secretary-General to update, monitor and review its implementation and integration on an annual basis, and report to the Security Council, starting in October 2006. In this context, the Security Council urges the Secretary-General to proceed with the appointment of a gender adviser within the Department of Political Affairs and to continue to identify women candidates for senior level positions within the United Nations system, including as Special Representatives. In this regard, the Council invites the Member States to provide the Secretary-General with candidates, as appropriate.
"The Security Council reiterates its call to Member States to continue to implement resolution 1325 (2000), including through the development of national action plans or other national level strategies.
"The Security Council welcomes the decision taken in the 2005 World Summit Outcome (General Assembly resolution 60/1) to establish the Peacebuilding Commission and looks forward to its contribution to the full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), inviting the Commission to pay particular attention to the knowledge and understanding women can bring, through their participation and empowerment, in peacebuilding processes.
"The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to ensure that all peace accords concluded with United Nations assistance address the specific effects of armed conflict on women and girls, as well as their specific needs and priorities in the post-conflict context. Within this framework, the Security Council underlines the importance of a broad and inclusive political consultation with various components of civil society, in particular women's organizations and groups.
"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to integrate gender perspectives into the terms of reference of Security Council visits and missions and to include gender specialists in its teams wherever possible.
"The Security Council condemns sexual and other forms of violence against women, including trafficking in persons, and calls upon all parties to armed conflict to ensure full and effective protection of women and emphasizes the necessity to end impunity of those responsible for gender-based violence.
"The Security Council reiterates its condemnation, in the strongest terms, of all acts of sexual misconduct by all categories of personnel in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions. The Council welcomes the comprehensive report on sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations Peacekeeping Personnel (A/59/710). The Council also welcomes the report of the resumed session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping (A/59/19/Add.1) and, taking into account the resolution 59/300 of the General Assembly, urges the Secretary-General and troop-contributing countries to ensure that the recommendations of the Special Committee, which fall within their respective responsibilities, are implemented without delay. In this connection, the Council expresses its support to the efforts of the United Nations to fully implement codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and enhance monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, and notes the strategies and actions included in the System-Wide Action Plan to fully implement those codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures. The Security Council urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action, including the conduct of predeployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of misconduct involving their personnel."
For today's open debate on women, peace and security, the Secretary-General, in his report before the Council (document S/2005/636), presents an action plan for implementing resolution 1325 (2000) across the United Nations system. The Council requested the Secretary-General to submit such a plan when it last held its annual debate on the theme in October 2004. Since adopting resolution 1325 in 2000, the Council has held annual open debates and has adopted three presidential statements calling for a number of concrete steps and measures to enhance the role of women in peace and security. Together, they constitute an important landmark and provide a framework for action.
Describing the preparation of the action plan, the report notes that an Inter-Agency Task Force on Women and Peace and Security, comprised of representatives from 22 United Nations system entities and other observers, held initial consultations in December 2004 on the plan's contents and framework. Aside from resolution 1325 and subsequent presidential statements, the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and the Secretary-General's "In Larger Freedom" report proposed a number of initiatives for women and girls in conflict and post-conflict areas, including the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission. The 2005 World Summit Outcome also reaffirmed the commitment of world leaders to implementing resolution 1325.
According to the report, the action plan will be used by the United Nations to, among other things, formulate concrete strategies, actions and programmes to advance the role of women in peace and security areas, ensure more efficient support to Member States in national and regional implementation of resolution 1325, and strengthen the accountability of the United Nations system at the highest levels. In the framework of enhanced coordination and accountability, the action plan will be used by intergovernmental and inter-agency bodies as a yardstick against which to assess the United Nations system's efforts.
The report notes that the plan has been structured around 12 action areas, namely, conflict prevention and early warning; peacemaking and peacebuilding; peacekeeping operations; humanitarian response; post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation; and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. Other areas include: preventing gender-based violence in armed conflict; preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations staff; gender balance; coordination and partnership; monitoring and reporting; and financial resources. Under each area, entities identified those objectives that fall within their respective mandates and proposed strategies for their fulfilment.
While it is the first time that the United Nations system has embarked on a planning effort of such breadth and complexity, the system-wide action plan provides a wealth of information on activities by the United Nations system for women in conflict and post-conflict areas, the report states. The action plan also provides an overview of available expertise and resources on women, peace and security issues. The action plan should also result in measurable improvement in the United Nations contributions to the empowerment of women in conflict areas.
During the plan's proposed time frame, from 2005 to 2007, the system would review the adequacy of existing operational tools, guidelines and manuals for gender mainstreaming and integrate a gender perspective into a wide range of its programmes, the Secretary-General states. Action plans on mainstreaming gender would be developed, among other things, for the areas of peacekeeping and political affairs. In many areas, guidelines on how to institutionalize women's contributions, including in decision-making and participation, would be developed, field-tested and implemented.
In terms of accountability, the implementation of resolution 1325 would greatly benefit from additional attention from intergovernmental legislative bodies, the report adds. Given the increasing number of United Nations entities playing a role in the implementation of resolution 1325, there is an urgent need to strengthen coordination and accountability. Building on existing inter-agency cooperation arrangements and accountability systems, the Secretary-General recommends concrete actions to strengthen the United Nations capacity for implementing resolution 1325 at the intergovernmental, system-wide, United Nations entity and field levels.
The Council may wish to consider introducing a biennial report on the overall implementation of the system-wide action plan, the Secretary-General states. Providing an opportunity to draw on the expertise and resources of the United Nations system, the plan represents a contribution towards the goal of ensuring that women live more secure and productive lives and are able to fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Opening the debate, Council President MIHNEA IOAN MOTOC (Romania) said the resolution was a turning point for the Council, as it underlined the essential contribution of women to peace and security. Five years after its adoption, the meeting would express collective resolve to enhance the role of women in the peace process. Successful implementation of the resolution would not be possible without broad and exclusive representation by civil society.
LOUISE FRÉCHETTE, Deputy Secretary-General, said the principle of women's participation was at the heart of resolution 1325, the landmark document that called on Member States to ensure women's increased representation at all decision-making levels. Awareness and recognition of that issue had grown considerably in recent years, both in conflict-affected societies and in the international community. Yet, five years after the adoption of 1325, in most parts of the world, particularly those suffering from armed conflict, women were still not adequately represented at the negotiating table, the cabinet table or the conference table. Clearly, Governments needed to redouble their efforts.
The United Nations had to do the same, she said, by appointing more women at senior levels of peace operations. In that, the United Nations needed to be more proactive. The United Nations also needed to rely on Member States to present it with strong candidates. It also needed 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. The Organization needed to maintain the utmost vigilance in preventing further instances of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel and peacekeepers.
She said the Secretariat looked 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. She hoped the debate would help move the process forward.
JEAN-MARIE GUÉHENNO, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, shared examples of progress being achieved in the protection of women and their involvement in peace processes by peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Burundi, Timor-Leste, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Côte d'Ivoire. There were targeted demobilization and reintegration programmes, training for police personnel in gender issues, programmes to promote women's participation in transitional governmental institutions, and gender units supporting capacity development of national counterparts in gender issues. In particular, gender units were supporting the integration of gender perspectives in the judicial and legal sector. He detailed the increased political participation of women in Afghanistan and Timor-Leste.
He said that those developments, however, were no reason for complacency, since major challenges remained, such as the shameful engagement of some peacekeepers in sexual exploitation. While many steps were being taken to address that problem, such abuse could not be ultimately prevented without empowering women and girls through gender mainstreaming. Many still did not have a grasp of what such mainstreaming entailed. There had been limited progress in increasing the number of female personnel, but the perspectives of women were still not adequately harnessed to inform planning and operational activities. In recognition of those shortcomings, he issued a policy statement on gender mainstreaming in March of this year, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was currently finalizing a comprehensive action plan for the implementation of resolution of 1325 that built on the system-wide action plan.
He said that he also intended to vigorously address the remaining challenges in the coming years, focussing on the broadening of responsibility for gender mainstreaming and assuring that all policies were consistent with resolution 1325. He would also work to increase the number of women in peacekeeping and refine the partnership frameworks that guided collaboration with United Nations agencies and Member States for implementation of the resolution. All Member States must take ownership for that work, since without collective effort the cause of women and the foundations for sustainable peace will not be served.
RACHEL MAYANJA, Assistant Secretary-General, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, said the Council's historic resolution had fundamentally changed the image of women from that of exclusively victims of war to that of active participants as peacemakers, peacebuilders and negotiators. Women at the grass-roots level in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Bosnia and Burundi had used the resolution to lobby for their voices to be heard in peace building processes, in post-conflict elections and in the rebuilding of their societies. Since the resolution's adoption, much progress had been made. Despite that progress, however, gaps remained. Women's and girls' bodies had become battlegrounds. Much remained to be done in such critical areas as conflict prevention and early warning, capacity-building for peacemaking and peacebuilding, protection of women and girls, combating gender-based violence, and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, to name a few.
The system-wide action plan for implementing resolution 1325, contained in the Secretary-General's report, had been developed in cooperation with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Women, Peace and Security, she said. The objectives of the action plan, covering the period 2005 to 2007, were to formulate concrete strategies, actions and programmes to advance the role of women; support efforts by Member States and civil society; and strengthen the commitment and accountability of the United Nations system at the highest levels. Key to the implementation of resolution 1325 was accountability and commitment. Indeed, analysis showed that language on women or gender issues had been included in only 14 per cent of 63 Council resolutions adopted in the period from July 2004 to July 2005.
To enhance accountability, the Secretary-General proposed, among other things, holding heads of entities directly accountable for implementing the resolution in their respective programmes and operations and developing internal accountability procedures, she said. Successfully implementing the plan depended on five factors, namely, effective support and accountability on the part of the Council, commitment at the highest levels of United Nations entities, full cooperation by Governments, effective inter-agency coordination and sufficient resources to do the job. The Peacebuilding Commission would greatly benefit from women's active participation in its deliberations, systematic gender mainstreaming in its work and dialogue with women's groups.
She said her recent visit to the Sudan had reinforced her conviction of the urgency for accelerating the full implementation of resolution 1325. Women shouldered the thrust of the post-conflict problems and were primary victims of unspeakable sexual and gender-based violence. She called on the Council to hold the parties to conflict fully accountable for protecting women's human rights and on donors to ensure that humanitarian and development assistance reached women. Gender equality was essential to the success of any peace process. She urged all members to adopt strategies and action plans for implementing resolution 1325.
NOELEEN HEYZER, Executive Director, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), said that women knew the cost of war and so they could be, and must be, part of the solution for lasting peace. The UNIFEM had worked in over 20 conflict-affected countries to bring women to the peace table and strengthen their role in peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction.
She said that the transition from war to peace presented a unique opportunity to address the causes of conflict and transform institutions to create a more equitable and inclusive society. To do that effectively, they must take into account women's experiences and capabilities. The UNIFEM's experience had shown the importance of building constituencies in a country to develop and implement a common women's agenda for promoting peace and security that transcended political, ethnic and religious lines and advanced gender equality.
In order to create an environment to facilitate women's effective participation in peace processes, facilitation teams, capacity-building and technical advice were often useful, she said. In addition, it was necessary to ensure that non-compliance with women's issues was subject to sanctions, to ensure justice for women and girls in matters of violence, trafficking and other harm to them. At the heart of real justice was the demand that human rights violations against women and girls were regarded and treated as crimes by the criminal justice system.
To move forward, women's priorities and capabilities must be systematically addressed through a holistic approach in all stages of planning and implementation of United Nations peace operations and peacebuilding initiatives, she said. In addition to increased support to local women's groups and civil society organizations, there must be increased outreach to the men and boys of a country, as well as a focus on United Nations peacekeepers and staff.
SWEETA NOORI, Country Director for Afghanistan, Women for Women International, said there were two Afghanistans: one which the United Nations saw as progressing and developing; and another that was violent, unstable and scary for women. That was why it was absolutely critical to be fully engaged in Afghanistan. While there had been good news from her country, including the record number of women that would be part of the Parliament, women faced many challenges. Together, Afghanistan and the international community needed to close the gap between the two Afghanistans to bring true democracy, security and peace.
Describing areas of progress after the fall of the Taliban, she noted that Afghanistan's constitution recognized women's equal rights. The Constitution also set a quota for women's representation in the Parliament. The numbers were impressive, but numbers alone did not tell the full picture of the reality for women on the ground. Women candidates needed their husbands and families' approval to run for office. Independent female candidates often lacked money, unlike those supported by warlords and political parties. Independent women candidates risked their lives by putting their names on the ballots. The warlords also threatened women voters to keep them from participating in the political process. In the hidden Afghanistan, exercising one's rights was a life or death choice.
Weaving her life through the two Afghanistans, she saw islands of peace, she said. There was growing stability and political participation in areas with a strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) presence. But just a few steps away the local and national Government officials were ignoring women's rights when they felt no pressure from the international community. In those areas, traditional tribal rule shaped how a woman was treated and what her rights were, if she had any at all. The poppy eradication programme had negatively impacted on women, with poppy farmers selling their daughters to repay their debts to drug traffickers. She urged the international community to support the rule of law, not the rule of individuals, warlords or fundamentalists in her country. The agenda for Afghan women was unfinished, she said, and she urged the Council, among other things, to expand the International Security Assistance Force's work throughout Afghanistan and to fully implement alternative livelihood initiatives for farmers in the poppy eradication programme.
HÉLÈNE DANDI, Regional Adviser for West Africa of the Network of African Women for Peace, thanked all those who had made efforts to restore peace in Côte d'Ivoire. The 1999 coup and the controversial transition had weakened the social fabric. With the reconciliation process, there was an opportunity to engage women in the work for peace, but, unfortunately, not many women participated. With the outbreak of the crisis in 2002, following the adoption of resolution 1325, more women leaders participated in such activities, but there was still little involvement of women at the grass roots.
Women had been, indeed, sidelined from much of the peace process, despite the involvement of the United Nations, she said. Why? Her country remained divided and full of hate and insecurity. Women and children continued to pay the price and live in trauma. Thousands of women have been raped and stay alone, bereft in isolated communities. Resolution 1325 covered a lot of ground, but it was not known to women at the grass roots and it was not being implemented by States, or even being sufficiently implemented by institutions, including the United Nations.
She proposed that awareness efforts, among women's movements and at the grass roots, be initiated to promote the resolution. She also proposed capacity-building, financial and logistical support to women's organizations, conferences on the resolution to help promote it better and the establishment of follow-up committees that required reports on its implementation from Member States. Economic activities for war-affected women should also be given priority. Women were at the centre of communities, and were crucial to sustainable development.
AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) associated himself with Namibia's statement on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). There was an imperative for an integrated approach to peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The proposed Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission would be crucial for the promotion and protection of women's rights. The ongoing discussion on the formation of those new organs presented States with an entry point to anchor the involvement of women as participants and beneficiaries of the mandates of the two organs to ensure gender justice and gender equality. The adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 on 28 October 2000 marked a turning point for the protection of women in conflict situations, as well as ensuring their right to participate fully in peace processes.
However, he was concerned about the absence of women across the board, not only in peace operations, but also in most spheres of decision-making. The absence of women was further noted in the reports of both the Secretary-General and the Security Council. Thus, there was a need to increase the efforts in gender training at all levels of peacekeeping operations. The international community must put on "gender glasses" and actively seek ways to include women at all levels of decision-making and leadership roles. Resolution 1325 was path-breaking in empowering women in the critical areas of war, peace and security. The effective implementation of that resolution was a necessity. While his country recognized the positive role of peacekeeping personnel, he was appalled by the few elements that were still tarnishing the good and overall credibility of the United Nations. Sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping personnel was a violation of trust. All allegations must be investigated and reported and more robust measures needed to be taken.
ADAMANTIOS TH. VASSILAKIS (Greece) said that the landmark resolution called for women's equal participation and full involvement in conflict prevention efforts; peace negotiations; peacekeeping operations; humanitarian assistance; post-conflict reconstruction; and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration initiatives, as well as their protection from human rights abuses. In the past five years, Member States, United Nations entities and civil society actors had made significant efforts to implement the text by developing policies, action plans, guidelines and indicators, and increasing access to gender expertise, providing training, promoting consultation with and participation of women, and increasing attention to human rights. Despite significant achievements, however, major challenges remained in all areas.
He said that women's contributions to preventing conflicts were particularly important in "people-to-people" diplomacy. Women could play a critical role in building communities' capacities to prevent new or recurrent violence, and they should be assisted more effectively in that direction. All relevant actors should do more to ensure the inclusion of the gender aspect in reconstruction strategies and programmes. The new Peacebuilding Commission must be allowed to contribute meaningfully to the full implementation of resolution 1325, as that body offered a major opportunity to ensure that a gender perspective became a normal part of all peacebuilding processes. Preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse of local populations by humanitarian and peacekeeping personnel was among the greatest priority. The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations had rightly focused increasingly on issues concerning women, peace and security. Systematic gender mainstreaming into all policies and programmes was also crucial.
ANNE WOODS PATTERSON (United States) agreed that the United Nations had to strengthen the role of women in the peace process. Due to their particular experience, women brought unique qualities to the peace process. Historically underrepresented, women's traditional roles in society had been used as excuse for that exclusion. Ironically, the role of women as nurturers and caregivers was the very quality that contributed to their ability to contribute to conflict resolution and the peace process.
She had witnessed first-hand the role of women in El Salvador's peace process, she continued. Women had comprised some 40 per cent of the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), giving them visibility for election to public office. The involvement of women in the peace process and as political figures had advanced so-called women's issues. In the Salvadorian Assembly, women from the far left to the far right had formed a women's caucus on issues of particular interest to them. Female legislators, for example, had raised awareness of the issue of domestic violence. As a result, in a few years, domestic violence had been made a serious crime. Women had also been active in reconstruction efforts. Their experience as combatants had challenged pre-war conceptions and forced society to recognize the role they could play. Women in El Salvador continued to be key actors and continued to be highly organized at all levels of society.
To state the obvious, however, El Salvador was different from other post-conflict situations, she said. El Salvador was not Afghanistan, and different strategies would be required. Despite impressive arguments for the inclusion of women, there was enormous resistance in most parts of the world. Changes to that way of thinking would require a deliberate effort by all, to further involve women in the peace process. Society not only dictated the need of women in the peace process, it also demanded it.
SIMON B. IDOHOU (Benin) noted that, by adopting resolution 1325 five years ago, the Council had endeavoured to provide the international community with a common platform for guiding the actions of States, institutions and civil society in gender mainstreaming. While progress had been achieved, shortcomings remained. There had been concerted action to give women their rightful place in society. Since 2000, the international community had a better understanding of women's role in the decision-making process in conflict prevention, and the need to encourage their contribution in establishing lasting peace.
Welcoming the Secretary-General's proposal for a system-wide strategy, he said the strategy would enable the Organization and non-governmental organizations to work together to promote women's full participation in conflict prevention. He welcomed also the drafting of a strategy and action plan to include gender-related issues in peacekeeping operations at Headquarters, as well as in the field, particularly in the planning of new operations. That was a major step towards improving the United Nations contribution to women's empowerment in conflict areas. Despite the considerable progress achieved, such issues as trafficking in women and sexual and physical violence towards women and children required greater efforts, complemented by new measures to ensure the protection of women. The implementation of resolution 1325 must be integrated into the mandate of the Peacebuilding Commission, which would do well to mainstream gender issues through broader consultation with civil society. The Council should consider practical provisions to ensure more effective follow-up to resolution 1325.
ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said the adoption of resolution 1325 had been a qualitative step in building peace and post-conflict reconstruction through the inclusion of women. Laudable efforts had been made to ensure the participation of women at all levels of peacekeeping and radical efforts were expected within peacekeeping mission and through troop-contributing countries to combat sexual exploitation.
Much remained to be done, however, he said. The topic was multidimensional and went beyond the mandate of the Security Council. It was important to make sure that Council action went hand in hand with action of the appropriate bodies. For that reason, he welcomed the Secretary-General's ambitious action plan. He said he also fully supported the presidential statement to be issued as part of the outcome of the meeting.
CÉSAR MAYORAL (Argentina) urged the Council to continue taking initiatives to make the implementation of resolution 1325 effective in the field, including the appointment of gender advisers, the integration of a gender perspective in visits and missions to the field and increased contact with women's organizations in the field.
At the same time, he urged the Council to draw the Secretary-General's attention to the necessity of nominating more women to the decision-making levels of peacekeeping, such as of Special Representative, and he called upon Member States to present female candidates for such positions. He also stressed that resolution 1325 belonged to the broader framework of respect for women's human rights. Finally, as the representative of a troop-contributing country, he condemned the sexual abuse committed by the United Nations personnel in the field and acknowledged his country's responsibility for the education of its own troops.
ELLEN MARGRETHE LØJ (Denmark) said armed conflicts affected women and men in different ways. The scale and character of violence committed against women and girls in conflict situations was shocking and utterly deplorable when rape, sexual abuse and HIV/AIDS were deliberately used as weapons of war. But, women were not the only victims. The resources women possessed were striking. In many cases, women were the sole providers and protectors of their families often under extremely difficult circumstances. Experience proved that involvement of women in conflict resolution sped up the peace process and contributed to sustainable solutions. Security Council resolution 1325 had great potential, because it was comprehensive. Coordination between the various actors involved and their civilian and military instruments and capabilities must be improved. That applied to the United Nations, the multilateral and regional organizations and Member States, as well as non-governmental organizations.
Member States, she said, had an obligation to implement the resolution in the best and most effective way. The Secretary-General's report pointed out the need for formulation of strategies, action and programmes and enhanced inter-agency cooperation. The report contained 12 areas of action including the full range of activities before, during and after conflict. The issue of responding to sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations staff, related personnel and partners was one of the key areas of action. Sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping forces must be stopped. The policy of zero tolerance had to be implemented. Security Council resolution 1325 would only truly benefit women living in conflict when the recommendations had an impact on all areas of intervention and cooperation. The real challenge for the United Nations was to move from good intentions and strong words on paper to concrete results.
MICHEL DUCLOS (France), looking back at the five years since the text's adoption, said that the resolution changed how the Council looked at the question. Women were no longer perceived exclusively as victims. The Council recognized in its activities women's essential contribution as voters, legislators, and mediators. They were often the only "compass" in societies that had lost all structure. The resolution also changed the work of the Council from one day to the next -- specific provisions in mandates, reports to the Council, the establishment of gender advisers in peacekeeping operations, and so forth. The resolution was now a well-known "label", even recognized by Heads of State and Government in September in the World Summit's Outcome.
He said that much remained to be done, however. Too many promises had not been kept, and the Council had still not achieved a "1325 reflex", and every member, among others, was partly responsible. Four courses of action could remedy the situation. First, the resolution should be implemented in each country whether or not there was armed conflict. Support should be rendered to the Secretary-General in his efforts to implement the text, and there should be greater vigilance throughout the Council's agenda. Additionally, advancing "Agenda 1325" could profit from the current institutional reform. Another body that would have a key role in that regard would be the Human Rights Council. Lastly, the September Summit's endorsement of the concept of the responsibility to protect was a major development in the implementation of resolution 1325.
EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the resolution drew attention to the central role that women played in conflict resolution. Women remained marginalized in the processes of peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction. Achieving sustainable progress would not be possible without making progress towards sustainable development, which would not be possible without the full involvement of women in conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding. Article 8 of the Charter and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women committed the international community to ensuring women's equal participation in international relations. That commitment was crucial to the resolution's successful implementation.
One month ago, world leaders had reaffirmed their commitment to the full and effective implementation of resolution 1325, he said. They had also committed to establishing a Peacebuilding Commission, which provided a unique opportunity to create a United Nations system that was capable of building and sustaining peace. Those commitments must be brought together if they were to develop a coherent and holistic approach to peacebuilding and guarantee a smooth and enduring transition to peace with the full involvement of all actors. A strong commitment to conflict prevention and peacebuilding could only be met by a strong commitment to ensure that all members of society were able to take an active role in building peace. The Peacebuilding Commission should, as a part of its mandate, ensure that women were represented in peace processes, thus enabling them to play an essential role.
One important way the United Nations could support women's rights in post-conflict situations was by supporting legal systems to protect those rights, he added. That was a significant role for the proposed new Rule of Law Assistance Unit. For its part, the Union was considering a number of measures to implement resolution 1325 within its European Security and Defence Policy. Those measures recognized the important role women played in promoting peace and security. They included, among other things, promoting the role of women in peacebuilding through participation in peace negotiations, as well as establishing transitional governments and reconciliation structures. The Union was also working within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to promote the resolution.
Continuing, he welcomed the United Nations system-wide action plan, which would help ensure closer attention to gender perspectives in conflict prevention and peacekeeping activities. The United Nations could not work alone, however. Member States needed to take responsibility for the success of resolution 1325 and ensure that it was integrated into their national policies. The widespread mainstreaming of gender into all policies and programmes at the international and national level was also a crucial factor in the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. The Union condemned all violations of women's and girls human rights in situations of armed conflict and the use of sexual exploitation, violence and abuse. The Union also urged the complete cessation by all parties, including United Nations staff, of such acts with immediate effect. He stressed the need to end impunity for such acts as part of a comprehensive approach to seeking peace.
Implementing resolution 1325 remained as important today as it was five years ago, if not more so, he said. The Council needed to do justice to 1325 and ensure that women were full and equal participants in peace processes. The presidential statement to be adopted today demonstrated the Council's commitment to 1325. The Council also needed to tackle the problem of abuse, especially sexual misconduct by personnel in the field.
MARGHERITA BONIVER (Italy) said women were the victims of modern wars, where uncontrolled criminals thrived amid all the chaos. That situation made women especially vulnerable. Atrocities against women were used as a warfare tactic in many situations. The United Nations had taken steps to fight that, starting with Security Council resolution 1325. The Declaration and Action Plan of the United Nations General Assembly on "Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-First Century" recognized that men and women are affected differently by armed conflict, making a gender approach essential when enforcing international human rights and humanitarian law. Women had a major role to play in peacemaking and peacebuilding. Practical guidelines based on lessons learned should be developed that indicated how to achieve the full, active involvement of women in the rebuilding of institutions and society.
She said in Darfur, Sudan, gender-based violence was a common means used to uproot rural communities. In Chad, near the Sudanese border, women and girls fleeing the violence in Darfur risked being assaulted and raped by civilians or militia members. Those were crimes against humanity. The end of hostilities did not always translate into the end of violence. Survivors often suffered from psychological trauma, permanent physical injury and long-term health risks, especially HIV/AIDS. Denying women their basic rights was a major obstacle to the reconstruction process. A more proactive role for women in emergency situations could be better achieved with a comprehensive approach. Women needed to participate in post-war elections. There was a strong link that existed between any peace process and the granting of full human rights to women.
HENRIQUE VALLE (Brazil) said resolution 1325 not only addressed the impact of conflict on women, but also emphasized the role played by women in the maintenance of peace. Confronted with the reality of women's underrepresentation in peace processes as a whole, it was, therefore, important to promote change to ensure full-fledged or, at least, an increased ratio of female participation in decision-making both in ceasefire negotiations and transitional processes. It was also necessary to expand the crucial involvement of women in post-conflict reconstruction. With regard to transitional justice, the United Nations could work closely with national authorities in establishing programmes to ensure accountability of the perpetrators of human rights violations.
In that regard, he said it was deeply regrettable that women continued to be seriously affected by conflict. The despicable and recurrent practice of gender-based violence was one of the challenges the Organization faced in terms of protection. The issue of sexual abuse and exploitation by all categories of United Nations peacekeeping personnel was also disturbing. He condemned, in the strongest terms, all acts of sexual misconduct. To face gender challenges in peace and security, comprehensive strategies were needed. The contribution of civil society, especially women's organizations, was fundamental to the process. The possibility of cooperation between the Council and the Economic and Social Council, under Article 65 of the Charter, could not be disregarded. The Peacebuilding Commission could contribute to the implementation of resolution 1325, and would benefit from women's skills and perspectives in peacebuilding processes.
SHINICHI KITAOKA (Japan) stressed the importance of ensuring women's participation in all efforts to maintain peace and security. While women often organized at the grass-roots levels to promote peace, their access to the formal process continued to be limited. With women's participation at the negotiating table, it would be possible to integrate women's needs and perspectives into peace agreement and settlement. In the peace process in Burundi, more than 50 women had presented their recommendations to peace negotiators. Twenty-three of those recommendations would be included in the final peace accord. For successful peacebuilding, self-help efforts and ownership by local populations were indispensable. To foster such efforts, women needed to be protected and empowered.
He agreed that comprehensive, coordinated and system-wide efforts were indispensable for the full implementation of resolution 1325. He welcomed, therefore, the Secretary-General's system-wide action plan. One of the major causes of sexual misconduct involving peacekeeping personnel was the lack of training and education of soldiers by troop-contributing countries. That perspective should be taken into account in formulating the action plan. It was also necessary to evaluate how well gender advisers carried out their duties and whether peacekeeping structures paid sufficient attention to them. In assigning gender advisers, it was necessary to ensure the effectiveness of their efforts by avoiding duplication with work done in other similar schemes, for example, child protection advisers.
WANG GUANGYA (China) welcomed the Secretary-General's proposals for the further implementation of resolution 1325, which had already been responsible for many accomplishments. There was still much work to be done, however, especially in the area of prevention of armed conflicts, early warning systems, prevention of human rights abuses against women and prevention of impunity for such crimes.
In addition, he said that lessons in protection of women and participation of women should be shared, and the efforts of all relevant bodies should be coordinated. Women had played an indispensable role in the progress of mankind. He hoped that, with joint efforts, all women could lead happy and peaceful lives.
ILYA ROGACHEV (Russian Federation) said that there was much more to be done to elevate the status of women in conflict situations, especially on the African continent. For that purpose, resolution 1325 still proved useful. In the near future, gender perspective must be mainstreamed in the activities of the Peacebuilding Commission. The focus for such mainstreaming should be in the Security Council, however, and transferred into every single situation in real life, in an ongoing process.
He said that the Secretary-General's system-wide plan of action was a good basis for such activities. Most mainstreaming should take place on site, however. In addition, he supported zero tolerance for sexual exploitation by peacekeeping personnel. The convention against women's discrimination should also be given more attention in this area. In addition, all efforts to mainstream women into development were relevant.
MARIE YVETTE BANZON (Philippines) said there was still a huge gap in women's participation in official peacebuilding. The flesh and spirit of resolution 1325 needed to be made tangible on the ground. In her country, the gender dimension of conflict was being addressed through the incorporation of women on the Government's peace panels and women have been pursuing projects to empower the women of the southern part of the country, particularly Mindanao, to create a more inclusive society. The fundamental strategy was to enable more women to systematically participate in conflict prevention, management, resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding, while at the same time rehabilitating their communities and ensuring basic services and livelihood.
Welcoming the United Nations system-wide action plan to implement resolution 1325, she said she would like to see it used also as a tool for gathering information on the status of women in conflict areas, including the scope and gravity of gender-based violence and the progress on the empowerment of women in the area of peace and security.
MIHNEA IOAN MOTOC (Romania), speaking in his national capacity, said that women should be acknowledged as making a valuable contribution to their societies and to international relations not because of their high potential to become victims, but because they were recognized as valuable and skilful resources, able to make a difference and bring added value to peace processes in all parts of the world. Resolution 1325 marked an acceptance and endorsement of that view, and the Secretary-General's action plan was a good tool to make that view a reality on the ground.
Romania, with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), organized an international conference on the implementation of resolution 1325, bringing together participants from many conflict-affected countries. It was his country's view that the approach to women's participation in peace and security should be shifted, to make it the rule rather than the exception, with women becoming full partners in peace efforts.
ELSIE-BERNADETTE ONUBOGU, Gender Adviser of the Commonwealth Secretariat, said that, since 2000, the Commonwealth had been working with member countries on implementing that historic resolution, particularly in strengthening its programme of work on gender, democracy, peace and conflict through the new Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005-2015. The Commonwealth's 53 member States straddled nearly every continent in seeking to promote peace, strong democracies, good governance, gender equality and sustainable development. Within those fundamental values, the Commonwealth's comparative advantage lay in upholding democracy and developing and encouraging a strong democratic culture within member countries, as evidence had shown that countries with strong democracies were less likely to experience conflict.
She said that when women and men were enabled to play their full part in their country's future, when there was real debate about issues of collective concern, extremist and violent ideologies were less likely to hold sway. The Commonwealth had a five-pronged approach to conflict prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding. Those included: strengthening democracies; increasing participation and representation of women at all levels; developing a culture of peace through peace education; documentation and information sharing, including good practices; and partnerships. Sustainable peace, gender equality and development were mutually reinforcing and could only be achieved when women and men adhered to the principles of representative democracy, which allowed for dialogue and collective action from all citizens, and addressed their concerns.
ANDERS LIDÉN (Sweden) said that the comprehensive action plan to implement resolution 1325 was commendable, but Member States also had a responsibility, as United Nations members, to contribute more women to peace operations and reinforce the preparedness and awareness of contingents, staff and experts. They also had responsibilities in preventing sexual exploitation and ensuring that all reports contained a gender perspective. To meet some of those challenges, the Swedish project GenderForce had been initiated to bring together relevant Government agencies and organizations.
In addition, Member States had a responsibility to act within regional organizations and to provide ideas and share best practices. Ideas he wished to share at this time included suggestions on increasing security to better enable the participation in post-conflict peacebuilding. It also included a clear and integrated gender perspective for the Peacebuilding Commission. He also put forward the idea of civilian observers and firm guidelines for special representatives for gender mainstreaming.
ADIYATWIDI ADIWOSO ASMADY (Indonesia) supported the system-wide action plan for implementation of resolution 1325, as well as an increased role of women in peacemaking at all levels. To increase women in decision-making roles in her country, a new law mandated at least 30 per cent women among candidates in parliamentary elections and promulgated awareness of gender equality. As a major troop contributor to the United Nations, Indonesia also believed in gender equality in uniformed services and that perspective had been incorporated into training by another law.
She agreed with the need to strengthen the commitment of senior and top managers to institutionalize gender mainstreaming through monitoring, reporting and accountability mechanisms. There should be increased efforts to address such challenges as overlapping activities, underdeveloped monitoring and inadequate utilization of gender specialists. She also agreed with the need for enhanced inter-agency cooperation in the field, though efforts should also be focused on capacity-building of national machinery, particularly in the area of raising awareness on gender mainstreaming.
ANDERS B. JOHNSSON, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said that women and children suffered the most severe consequences of conflicts that they themselves did not instigate. Everyone had a responsibility to work in support of resolution 1325. At a recent IPU assembly, parliamentarians reviewed the situation and drew up an impressive list of actions they could do to promote the text in parliaments and elsewhere. As the world organization of parliaments, the IPU addressed the issue of women's participation in peace processes and in the implementation of peace agreements. The very existence of a strong and effective parliament was itself an essential component of any solution to conflict and the building of peace.
He said that women must be full and equal participants in political processes. That was not only a question of rights -- of equality in society -- but also an issue of substance. Surveys undertaken by the IPU had clearly demonstrated that many women had a keen awareness of social issues that many men lacked. They had a better understanding of specific gender issues, particularly women's rights violations during conflict, which should be addressed in peace processes. Hence, those processes could only be truly effective and efficient to the extent that both women and men participated in them. Yet, that was certainly not the case today. In parliaments, for example, women only made up an average of 16 per cent of the membership. It had been encouraging, therefore, to see the presence of women in the parliaments of many post-conflict countries, invariably resulting in figures for women members that were well above the world average.
Rwanda's proportion of women, for example, had climbed from 17 per cent before the conflict to 49 per cent today, he said. That was the highest relative "score" of any country. Burundi surged from 9 per cent to 30 per cent and went on to elect a woman Speaker of Parliament. Mozambique more than doubled from 16 per cent to 35 per cent, and Sierra Leone, whose Parliament had been 1 per cent women before the outbreak of conflict, today had 14 per cent. Those countries had approached the peace processes as an opportunity to instigate real change. Countries like Rwanda and Burundi had given gender equality issues special consideration from the very start of the peace processes, and they had made sure that women received leadership training to run for election. The results spoke volumes about what countries should do in similar situations.
MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), recalled that it was during Namibia's presidency of the Council in October 2000 that an open debate had culminated in the adoption of the landmark text. The action plan had provided a framework by which progress on the implementation of resolution 1325 could be coordinated, monitored and evaluated. It was important that the action plan did not "reinvent the wheel", but rather build on the achievements already made. In that regard, he welcomed the recommendations to review the adequacy of existing operational tools, guidelines and manuals for gender mainstreaming. Although there had been some progress in the reporting of gender issues in Secretary-General's reports, as well as in Security Council, gaps continued to exist in reporting of gender or women's issues. There was a critical need, to examine the reasons for the underreporting and to take necessary steps to remedy the situation.
Calling for closer cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, he said that would require capacity-building both in terms of technical, human and financial resources. Another area of concern was the continued low representation of women in all phases of the peacebuilding process. Despite the disproportionate impact of conflict on women, they continued to hold their families and communities together and often undertook initiatives across warring factions under difficult conditions. He urged, therefore, that the role of women in those processes be built into the peace agreements from the beginning. The challenge was how to increase the number of women in all phases and levels of peace processes. Men needed to be sensitized to the positive contributions that women could bring to the negotiating table.
Condemning the use of sexual and gender based violence against women and children as weapons of war, he called upon all parties to respect international humanitarian law and to ensure the protection of women and children. The continuing sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by some United Nations peacekeepers and personnel was also of great concern. In that regard, he urged accelerated implementation of the Secretary-General's recommendations on sexual exploitation and abuse. He further urged troop- and police-contributing countries to take punitive actions towards those involved in acts of sexual exploitation and abuse.
HJÁLMAR W. HANNESSON (Iceland) said resolution 1325 was a groundbreaking step forward in reaffirming the importance of equal participation and direct involvement of women in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The landmark resolution was a challenge to all, for it required a fundamental change in procedure, delivery, attitudes and habits. Since its adoption, considerable attention had been paid to its implementation at the United Nations level. In that regard, Iceland welcomed the action plan presented today, as it was an important tool for building on the synergies of the United Nations system. He also hoped that the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission would demonstrate a strong commitment to the full implementation of resolution 1325.
Women in war and women who had survived war must enjoy protection and justice, he said. Women must also be full agents in the shaping and rebuilding of their communities in the aftermath of war. The provisions of resolution 1325 must be realized so that women could participate in all levels of decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Iceland strongly condemned the sexual exploitation and sexual abuse committed by United Nations peacekeeping personnel and fully supported the Secretary-General in his determination to uproot that kind of behaviour.
AMR ABOUL ATTA (Egypt) said that the Arab countries worked closely with the United Nations system to protect women's rights and encourage their role in post-conflict situations. Palestinian women were still suffering under occupation especially given increased settlements and the separation wall. With the deaths of many men in the occupied territories, their roles were even more important. He called attention to their situation, as well as that of other Arab women under occupation.
He said that among initiatives taken by Arab countries to increase women's participation in peace and development was the Arab Women's Organization. He stressed that each of the United Nations' bodies should play their appropriate part in women's issues. All human rights of women, particularly those protected by the Geneva Conventions on civilians in war, should be enforced as well.
JOHAN LØVALD (Norway) welcomed the system-wide action plan. He stressed that there had not been, as yet, a great increase in women's participation in conflict resolution, and that the protection of women living in situations of armed conflict was still a great challenge. Sexual exploitation by peacekeepers continued to be a problem, as well, and Member States should contribute to systematic predeployment and gender training, among other measures. Norway had also offered to finance a study on gender perspectives, in that regard.
Among other changes, more importance should be attached to gender advisers, he said. He welcomed the inclusion of a Senior Gender Adviser in the Peacebuilding Support Office. It was important also to improve the gender balance in peace missions and at the Secretariat, and he supported the Swedish proposal for civilian observers. Empowering women locally was another important part of building lasting peace, and enhancing political participation of women should be of the highest priority, with the United Nations at the forefront of the effort.
ALI'IOAIGA FETURI ELISAIA (Samoa), on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group, said it was now a matter of international consensus that the role of women was fundamental to the maintenance of international peace and security. He expressed full support for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325. He also welcomed the report of the Secretary-General on women, peace and security and urged the Security Council to continue and intensify its efforts to mainstream women, peace and security issues into its work.
He then highlighted the most important steps that needed to be taken on the basis of the Secretary-General's report. First, there was a clear need for increased representation of women at all levels of decision-making in conflict prevention, management and resolution. Second, the Security Council must act to protect the most vulnerable. Third, the Security Council must call for the persecution of those who committed crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes, including those relating to sexual violence. Finally, United Nations peace operations must lead by example. The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders welcomed the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission. It was a matter of the highest priority that the new body would support and promote the protection and promotion of the rights of women.
JOHN DAUTH (Australia), associating his statement with that of Samoa on behalf of the Pacific Island Forum and that of Norway on sexual exploitation, welcomed the reaffirmation by leaders at the 2005 World Summit of their commitment to the full and effective implementation of resolution 1325, which Australia firmly supported. It also placed importance on continued training on resolution 1325 for personnel in its armed forces, and welcomed measures to address the appalling situation of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers.
He said that, through its aid programme, his country was continuing to focus attention on implementing the resolution, having developed a training module on conflict analysis and peace, as well as conflict impact assessments that included gender components in its development assistance programmes. He described the gender components of its programmes in the Solomon Islands and Sri Lanka, and finally reaffirmed Australia's commitment to increase women's participation in all peacemaking efforts.
CARMEN MARÍA GALLARDO HERNÁNDEZ (El Salvador), praising the action plan of the Secretary-General, said that it was important to mainstream a gender perspective into early-warning and conflict-prevention efforts. She supported other gender mainstreaming efforts that had been proposed, as well. She pointed out that her Government had been participating in the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and had placed women in such positions as police officers.
Taking into account her country's experience, she said women were very valuable in transmitting a culture of peace in the private and civic realms. A gender balance should, therefore, be brought about at all levels of decision-making. It was important to have training to provide the structure for such women's participation, however. She expressed confidence that the coordinated work of the United Nations system could continue to make progress in that area.
ISIKIA R. SAVUA (Fiji) welcomed the Secretary-General's action plan, noting that it had opened up new avenues for consideration on issues that might have been bypassed. Women in Fiji served alongside men in peacekeeping operations and had moved away from traditional roles to frontline operations. He stressed the need for women to hold senior posts in United Nations peacekeeping operations. He also noted the need to develop national action plans for the coordinated implementation of resolution 1325. Such action plans should be public, drawn up in consultation with civil society and contain specific, time-bound activities, targets and reporting mechanisms.
For five years, the Council had been seized of the issue of women, peace and security, he said. With a system-wide action plan, it was now necessary to establish a focal point and an expert-level working group to ensure the integration of resolution 1325 in the Council's work. The plan was another milestone in the Council's work on the issue of women, peace and security, and the journey continued. In that regard, he requested that the Secretary-General, by October 2006, make recommendations on different means by which the Council could be more systematically informed of gender-based violence and the different means by which the Council could do more to hold parties to armed conflict accountable for those violations, for example, by imposing targeted sanctions.
KYAW TINT SWE (Myanmar) noted that, as women and girls suffered most from conflicts, they had a strong desire for peace and security and yearned to actively participate in the process. The underlying causes of conflict were many and varied. In most cases, poverty, socio-economic inequalities and underdevelopment were root causes. Myanmar had only recently been able to achieve national reconciliation with 17 insurgent groups coming back to the legal fold. Their representatives had joined with other delegates in the National Convention that was laying down the principles of a new constitution that would be acceptable to all nationalities. Women were taking an active part in the National Convention.
Commending the Secretary-General for submitting an action plan, he noted that the plan contained strategic programmes, as well as quick-impact strategies. He was particularly pleased that preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations staff was included as one of the plan's 12 action areas. Myanmar strongly supported the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy. He was also pleased that the action plan had incorporated accountability mechanisms. He was confident that the action plan would contribute meaningfully in promoting the role of women as envisioned by resolution 1325.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said conflicts in the past were largely between States or between empires. More recently, they had been within States with subregional and regional ramifications. In many ways, civilians formed the bulk of the victim population. The segment of the civilian population most vulnerable were women and children. When women suffered, so did children, who were rendered instruments for the perpetration of violence. Women knew the price they and their children had to pay in conflict situations, and so it was natural that they were often better prepared to resolve them. They often served as bridge-builders of understanding across rivers of strife. Gender mainstreaming and empowerment were critical factors for development. Access to education and health, coupled with the provision of microcredit facilities could unleash the entrepreneurial skills of individuals. Such empowerment of women helped stave off extremist thought and action. That included the scourge of terrorism.
Success in implementing Security Council resolution 1325 had been mixed, he said. While there had been some progress, much work needed to be done. Non-participation or insignificant participation of women in peace agreement negotiations was still a problem. Those peace agreements failed to address the special needs of women. Although women suffered most as victims of conflict, they were excluded from peace dividends. Endeavours to resolve those conflicts and address their root causes would fail, if women were not empowered. Formal participation of women in peace negotiations and decision-making processes were key to the effectiveness of conflict prevention. The World Summit outlined several policy frameworks important to millions of women and girls and making the Peacebuilding Commission operational by the end of the year would be a giant step in that direction. Some of the Summit achievements that would go a long way in empowering women in the longer term included: increased focus on conflict prevention; responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity; effective promotion and protection of human rights; and an enhanced rule of law.
OSWALDO DE RIVERO (Peru) said that the international community must continue using all existing human rights instruments to end human rights violations against women and girls. The international courts had an important role in that matter, but the States should also assume their responsibilities. In his country, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to deal with the violence and terrorism that occurred between 1980 and 2000. He recognized the work and leadership of women's organizations that, with the support of UNIFEM, participated in the post-conflict process and the sexual victims' compensation process.
It was time to eliminate the gap between idea and reality in gender equality and the protection of women, he said. In that context, he welcomed the system-wide action plan and he hoped it would undergo subsequent reviews and updating. He said States must take firm steps to remove the obstacles that prevented women's involvement in decision-making processes at all levels. In addition, it was crucial for the Peacebuilding Commission to incorporate a gender perspective.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said that resolution 1325 was a landmark decision, of which the potential had not been fully realized. For the proposed United Nations action plan to be effective in its further implementation, it would be necessary to provide for interaction and consultation with women's civil society organizations, especially for the purpose of creating national action plans.
Women, he said, also must be involved in peace negotiations in a formal manner. For that purpose, women's capacity must be strengthened and they must be encouraged to hold decision-making positions. The appointment of women as special representatives and envoys of the Secretary-General could assist in that effort. He invited all interested States and non-governmental organizations to join forces in gathering the necessary information to make the appointment of women to such posts not only a high priority but a recurring reality.
MIRJANA MLADINEO (Croatia) said the international community had come to realize not only how much conflict particularly affected women and girls, but also how often women held the key to its peaceful resolution. It would be important to examine ways in which the provisions of the important cross-cutting Security Council resolution could be better implemented. Women were among those most affected by violence and the economic instability resulting from armed conflict. Yet, when it came to negotiating peace and post-war reconstruction, women were grossly underrepresented. States should continue to press the main bodies of the United Nations to strengthen the participation of women in their work. Efforts must be increased to improve the protection of women in armed conflict.
She said Croatia's Commission for Gender Equality had incorporated a chapter on women and armed conflict in the National Policy for the Promotion of Gender Equality from 2001-2005 and its implementation programme. The following activities had continued to be implemented: women were informed about the work of the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; women and children had been educated about landmines and other explosive devices; are the Commission had the task of promoting the participation of women in activities associated with the maintenance of peace. Some tangible results had already been achieved. Meanwhile, the success of the application of the principles and underlying themes contained in resolution 1325 rested upon Member States. In that regard, there was much more that needed to be done to ensure that women could equally participate in all levels of decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
GILBERT LAURIN (Canada), on behalf of the Human Security Network, said as the international community marked the fifth anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325, and looked to other important milestones such as the 10-year review of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, it was clear that commitments were needed for strong and concerted action in all situations of conflict and post-conflict resolution. The creation of a Peacebuilding Commission was necessary to preserving and building international peace and security. It was a golden opportunity, from the outset, to ensure that the Commission's work incorporated the knowledge and lessons learned in the implementation of resolution 1325. Effective and sustainable peace, justice and security was a distant reality if peace and security and all its related activities were not considered through a gender lens.
He said the Human Security Network strongly supported the Secretary-General's recommendation to appoint a focal point or a group of focal points at high levels to monitor the progress of implementation of resolution 1325 within the United Nations system. The members of the Network called on the Security Council to consider establishing a mechanism to monitor its own actions in integrating resolution 1325 and other related resolutions. As the Secretary-General mentioned in his report, there was a lack of systematic incorporation of gender perspectives in peace agreements and the lack of enhanced women's participation in formal peace processes. Women were highly effective in informal peace processes. But, the challenge lay in their participation in formal processes, where they had been "frozen out". Sexual and gender-based violence remained alarmingly pervasive in conflict-affected areas. A rigorous monitoring and reporting mechanism for gender-based violence was essential.
XOLISA MFUNDISO MABHONGO (South Africa) said the recent Summit decision to establish a Peacebuilding Commission was a milestone in furthering the implementation of the resolution on women, peace and security. It opened the door for the integration of a gender perspective in all phases of peacebuilding and to show women not just as victims of violence but part of the solution. The Commission should pay particular attention to the specific knowledge and understanding women could bring to the peacebuilding process.
Continuing, he said it was disheartening that gender-based violence continued to be used as a weapon of war. Every effort must be made to halt the odious practice. Also, he condemned, in the strongest possible terms, all acts of sexual misconduct by personnel on peacekeeping missions. He called for codes of conduct to be implemented and for disciplinary measures to be enforced, in line with the system-wide action plan on the subject.
RADZI RAHMAN (Malaysia) said he shared the concern expressed over the underrepresentation of women in formal peace processes. But, he was equally alarmed by persistent obstacles and challenges women faced in other situations -- with violence directed against them, having to live in shattered societies in poverty and without the rule of law. More effort must be made to bring women's participation and contributions to the negotiating table and to involve women in developing and implementing post-conflict strategies and programmes. The Secretary-General should maintain regular contacts with women's organizations and networks towards that end.
Continuing, he expressed abhorrence at the victimization and violence against women and girls, particularly in situations of armed conflict and when abduction and rape were used as instruments of war. He said States must take measures against all perpetrators of such acts, both through norms of international law and through domestic legislation. They must also provide for the protection of those vulnerable groups in situations of armed conflict.
Finally, he condemned in the strongest terms all acts of sexual misconduct by all categories of personnel in United Nations peacekeeping missions. He called for the full implementation of codes of conduct and disciplinary measures to address that misconduct, along with an enhancement of monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.
WOLFGANG TRAUTWEIN (Germany) noted that justice was classically represented as a female goddess. In armed conflicts, however, crimes committed against women were the ones most likely to go unpunished. That was why he could not overestimate the historic significance of the explicit inclusion of gender-related crimes and crimes of sexual violence in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Germany, as a member of the group of friends of resolution 1325, welcomed the fact that United Nations peace missions were now regularly mandated with a reference to the resolution. Whether in the context of approving peacekeeping mandates or of reviewing the impact of sanctions, gender implications must continue to be an integral part of the Council's analysis and decisions. In that context, he encouraged the Council to include a strong gender perspective in the upcoming mandate for the United Nations mission to the Great Lakes.
Five years after the adoption of resolution 1325, the international community still struggled with the problem of sexual exploitation, abuse and the solicitation of prostitutes in peacekeeping operations, he said. He strongly welcomed the Department of Peacekeeping Operations' "zero-tolerance policy" to fight those shameful acts. The issue of sexual exploitation must not disappear from the agenda, but be vigorously prosecuted. Effective implementation of gender equality and increased involvement of women in all aspects of society could contribute significantly to decreasing violence and preventing conflicts. Five years after the adoption of 1325, women remained a largely untapped human resource in peacebuilding.
GERHARD PFANZELTER (Austria) said his country firmly believed that women had to be able to fully participate in peace negotiations, peace agreements and the development of a stable society. The creation of a Peacebuilding Commission provided a unique opportunity to ensure the involvement of women in United Nations-led peacebuilding processes. A gender perspective should be incorporated into both the mandate and the structure of the new United Nations body. As a part of its mandate, the Commission should ensure that women and women's groups were represented in peace processes, thus enabling them to play a meaningful role. He believed that a gender adviser should participate in all meetings of the Commission in its country-specific configurations in accordance with the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document.
Continuing, he emphasized the need for special representatives, special envoys and others involved in peace negotiations to have firm guidelines to enhance women's participation in peace processes and transitional structures. Experience showed that a determined policy in the immediate post-conflict phase in favour of women's participation could increase their long-term participation in political processes. Austria welcomed the Secretary-General's proposed system-wide action plan. With the United Nations reform process providing a "window of opportunity", it was up to Member States and the United Nations to seize that opportunity and to enhance women's participation in conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction.
PRASAD KARIYAWASAM (Sri Lanka) said the adoption of resolution 1325 five years ago was a landmark achievement. The review of its implementation was of immense importance to the international community. As the Council met, millions of women and children around the world remained mired in disease, poverty and the adverse effects of terrorism. Resolution 1325 was the result of the increasing realization of the need to address grave and systematic violations of women's human rights in situations of armed conflict, as well as the recognition of their contribution to peacebuilding. By adopting the resolution, the Council had provided an impetus to gender mainstreaming in the promotion of international peace and security.
Women and children accounted for the majority of civilians adversely affected by armed conflict, he said. In situations of armed conflict, as well as during war-to-peace transitions, women's needs were rarely addressed with the seriousness they deserved. In many situations, a level playing field in terms of gender parity remained beyond the reach of women. A groundbreaking initiative, resolution 1325 contained responsibilities for both Member States and the United Nations. It was incumbent on the Security Council to consider further measures to strengthen the safety-net for women in situations of armed conflict. In doing so, it was essential that the Council, among other things, establish a focal point to ensure the resolution's integration into its work and to determine the means by which the Council could be systematically informed of gender-based violence.
ALPHA IBRAHIMA SOW (Guinea) said that each part of the United Nations system should determine their responsibilities in the implementation of resolution 1325. He expressed approval for the timetables and other aspects of the Secretary-General's plan of action in that regard. Intergovernmental bodies and competent expert bodies should continue to play their crucial role in monitoring and follow-up of the implementation, as should the Peacebuilding Commission when it was operational.
He expressed appreciation for the attention that the international community continued to pay to the implementation of the resolution, and he hoped that the plan of action would improve coordination of United Nations actions in that regard, and that it would incorporate reviews of progress. His country would continue to give its support to the effort to achieve full implementation of the resolution.
JUDITH MBULA BAHEMUKA (Kenya) highlighted the areas dear to her delegation: mainstreaming gender in peacekeeping and political affairs; monitoring compliance with international law; expanding gender-sensitive programming in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; mine clearance; reconstruction; HIV/AIDS prevention; institutionalizing women's contributions to decision-making; and preventing gender-based violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse. On enhancing local women's capacity for peacemaking and peacebuilding, she urged "greater synergy and energetic" interface with local women's groups. Coordination should build on local best practices, obviating the need to reinvent the wheel.
She appealed for closer coordination at the intergovernmental level. She also supported the Secretariat's recommendations to biennialize reporting on implementation of the action plan. That could be interspersed with thematic reports, which would balance the implementation and policymaking cycles and make for more rigorous implementation of resolution 1325. She highly commended the many women who toiled daily in the field as part of the United Nations system for their dedication, hard work and commitment to the cause of the Organization. She encouraged them to continue without fear, because the final objective was beneficial to all humankind.
MEIRAV EILON SHAHAR (Israel) said that women's advancement would no doubt translate into nothing less than progress and advancement for all. Israel remained committed to the goals of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as the principles outlined in the World Summit Outcome Document, which rightly reaffirmed the commitment of all Member States to the full and effective implementation of resolution 1325. Women must play a key role in questions of peace and security. An increase in their role -- on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides of the negotiating table -- would positively reshape the outcome of the peace negotiations.
He said that the Israeli Parliament continued to devote considerable attention to bolstering women's participation. The Women's Equal Rights Law was recently amended, in the spirit of 1325, and mandated that the Israeli Government must include women in any group appointed to peacebuilding negotiations and conflict resolution. The legislation dealt specifically with women's adequate representation in shaping national policy, with the explicit goal of integrating women in all governmental boards and bodies. Because Israel believed so strongly in women's contributions to peacebuilding, the Foreign Affairs Ministry sponsored a series of seminars, open to both Israeli and Palestinian women, on the theme of women's voices in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The active contribution of women's non-governmental organizations had also been widely felt.
For Israel, the topic of peace and security was fundamental, he said. Israel had endured a seemingly endless barrage of terror attacks in recent years, including yesterday, at a time when there was a new momentum for peace generated by his country's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. Israel was committed to advancing women's role because it was right. It was resolved that women would play an increasingly active role in peace negotiations, because it recognized the unparalleled value of their contribution. Israel was full of hope that an enhanced role for women in peace negotiations would build bridges of understanding in Israel and with its neighbours.
Responding to comments by the representative of Egypt, she agreed that Palestinian women were suffering. Palestinian terrorist organizations had exploited Israeli goodwill and manipulated social realities to perpetrate terror attacks. Women had manipulated their status to cross checkpoints and had succeeded in carrying out fatal suicide attacks. Just this past July, Israeli security forces had apprehended a woman who used a medical visa to carry out a terrorist attack in the very hospital she was being treated. At a time when the Middle East was enjoying new momentum, she hoped all parties in the region would capitalize on the opportunities before them.
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