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Advancing Women at the United Nations
an article by Nancy Wrenn

The two-week 48th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (under ECOSOC) began at the UN in New York on March 1. Members of many non-governmental organizations (NGO's) were delegates and invited to participate in both formal and informal sessions relating to the two themes for this session of Women's Participation in Peacekeeping and the Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality. The following statement, which highlights the building blocks of the Culture of Peace, was prepared by NGO representatives as a formal "intervention." It is abridged here to fit within CPNN's space limit, but the full text is on the Discussion Board.

In an environment when international human rights and humanitarian law, collective security and multilateralism are being challenged by unilateralism and the aggressive use of force, we affirm our commitment to the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Beijing Platform for Action. This human rights framework provides the basis for conflict prevention and sustainable peace.

Armed conflict is preventable and women have a key role to play! Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted by consensus, calls for the greater inclusion of women at all stages of conflict prevention, mediation, resolution and post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding. We call for a Security Council body to monitor the implementation of SC Resolution 1325. We further call for annual reports from all governments and the UN Secretary General measuring progress and reviewing challenges to the implementation of 1325.

Women’s participation in conflict prevention and transformation cannot be achieved without significant economic and human resources. Capacity building of women’s organizations is a prerequisite for their meaningful participation.

We need greater participation of women at all stages of decision making to help ensure that nations’ resources are directed to the promotion of human security -- the freedom from want and fear. Resources wasted on armaments and conflicts must be redirected to the provision of basic security needs such as access to adequate food, clean water, shelter, health care and education. A warrior culture, promoted daily by mass media, needs to be transformed through socialization and education for peace.


Question(s) related to this article:

Does the UN advance equality for women?,

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The following article by Lyndal Rowlands in the Inter Press Service, suggests that the UN is not making much progress on its commitments for women's equality:

2015 marks anniversaries for two significant commitments made to increasing women’s participation at peace tables.

Yet despite the Beijing Platform for Action and the Security Council Resolution 1325 both committing to increasing women’s participation in peace building 20 and 15 years ago, respectively, there has been very little progress to report.

The latest available statistics show that women made up only 9 per cent of negotiators at peace tables between 1992 and 2011. That the most recent data is from 2011 shows that more work is needed even in basic areas such as data collection and reporting of women’s participation in peace building.

IPS summarises here four reasons we should value women’s participation at the peace table more, based on discussions at the 59th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) over the past week.

Beijing Platform for Action Section E

Women and Armed Conflict Diagnosis

Strategic objective E.1. Increase the participation of women in conflict resolution at decision-making levels and protect women living in situations of armed and other conflicts or under foreign occupation. Actions to be taken.

Strategic objective E.2. Reduce excessive military expenditures and control the availability of armaments. Actions to be taken.

Strategic objective E.3. Promote non-violent forms of conflict resolution and reduce the incidence of human rights abuse in conflict situations. Actions to be taken.

Strategic objective E.4. . ...more.

This report was posted on March 6, 2004.