Sumario: 28 October 2011, New York - Statement by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security "Women's Participation and Role in Conflict Prevention and Mediation"
Excellencies, distinguished participants,
I am speaking on behalf of the EU and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Croatia*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
Over the recent year, women have played a visible and decisive role in the movements aimed at rebuilding and reshaping societies. Therefore we also find the theme of today's debate more than pertinent and welcome the opportunity to discuss concrete means to ensure women's full participation in peace processes, a core element of resolution 1325. We thank the Secretary-General, the Under-Secretary General, the President of ECOSOC and Ms. Orzala Ashraf Nemat for their statements.
Last year the Security Council noted with concern that women's participation in conflict resolution remains too low. Of the 9 peace agreements signed in 2010, only two had provisions ensuring women's rights. Today's theme points to another important issue: the need to ensure women's participation in all stages of peace processes, and from early on. Women, peace and security issues need to be systematically integrated into preventive diplomacy, early warning, human rights and security monitoring. This has a direct impact on the inclusion of women's rights and perspectives in the later stages of the peace process. Women's absence from formal peace negotiations is in turn often followed by their absence from bodies laying the foundations for a new, post-conflict society: political decision-making bodies, ceasefire and DDR commissions, constitutional and legislative reform commissions, as well as truth and reconciliation bodies.
This needs to be accompanied by sufficient gender expertise among actors involved in the peace processes. We therefore welcome the recent DPA and UN Women Joint Gender and Mediation Strategy to equip mediators and their teams with expertise to address gender issues. We welcome the Secretary-General's intention to continue to increase the number of gender experts in the UN rosters for surge capacity for crises, standby experts for humanitarian response and mediation, specialists on conflict prevention and post-conflict planning. In this regard, we emphasise the 7-point action plan of the Secretary General presented in 2010.
We are encouraged by the increased participation of women in UN field missions and welcome further efforts to increase the number of women in senior leadership positions both at UN headquarters and in the field.
The civil society, including women's organisations, plays an important role in sustaining the momentum for recovery and transformation, and enhancing women's participation. This is also reflected in the findings of the World Bank's annual World Development report from 2011, focused on conflict, security and development.
Our meeting a year ago aimed to provide a strong impulse for the continued implementation of resolution 1325. It also provided a space for concrete commitments to close what you have called a "troubling gap" between global and regional commitments and actual practice. During the last year we have also gained useful mechanisms to monitor, measure and evaluate our progress. We would also like to commend the work of UN Women, which plays a crucial role in mobilising the support of the UN system for the implementation of resolution 1325.
We welcome the strategic framework that includes concrete targets to guide the UN's implementation of resolution 1325 developed by Secretary-General in response to the Council's request, and the use of the set of indicators to monitor progress in implementing the framework. It provides an important means to ensure the coherence, coordination and accountability of UN action.
In this regard, we also appreciate the useful briefings provided to the Council by Under-Secretary-General Bachelet, as well as the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict and the Special Representative on Children in Armed Conflict. We support the call to accommodate more frequent briefings on women, peace and security to the Council, including upon the request of the Under-Secretary-General and the Special Representatives. We also encourage UN Women's efforts to continue its cooperation with the Special Representatives.
We note positively the call to consider means to enhance women's prevention role in the Council deliberations on preventive diplomacy and mediation.
Last year the EU presented its commitments for the implementation of resolution 1325. I would like to give a brief overview of our activities to follow these up.
In 2008 the EU adopted a Comprehensive Approach for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and 1820. Further to this we established 17 indicators to evaluate gaps in our action and to improve accountability in this regard. The first report based on the indicators was published in May this year and the results are encouraging. The EU is active on this issue in more than 70 countries. Its support amounts to about 200 million euros a year for the development and implementation of national action plans, support for non-governmental organisations, and training for governmental agencies.
We are strongly committed to enhancing the consideration of gender aspects in the early planning of our missions and operations, during their conduct, and in the lessons learned processes. In November 2010, the EU adopted the first report on the lessons learned and best practices of mainstreaming human rights and gender into the military and civilian missions under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). All these missions and operations now include human rights and/or gender expertise. For instance, the two CSDP missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo include experts on the prevention of sexual violence, while the EU rule of law mission in Iraq offers courses for female police, judicial and penitentiary officers and has trained more then 340 women since 2005.
The EU has also established a mediation support team to ensure the representation of women in mediation processes and the availability of gender expertise in mediation teams which the EU supports. The support by the EU to the UN mediation support unit will specifically target the participation of women in peace processes.
To adequately train those deployed we developed standard training elements on human rights, gender and child protection in the context of the CSDP missions in 2010 and are now finalising the first gender training module. The EU remains committed to supporting and sharing the outcomes of its ongoing work with the relevant UN agencies and bodies, as well as UN member states in order to enhance women's participation in peace processes.
*Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.