UN: Officias highlight women's role in peacebuilding

New York, US (PANA) - The Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), Mr. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, says women are crucial partners in peacebuilding and must be guaranteed the safe political space, including a seat at the negotiating table to participate in all steps of post-conflict reconciliation and recovery processes.

Mr. Patriota, who spoke at a meeting, co-organized by the Commission and UN Women on Wednesday in New York, stressed the need to involve women in peacebuilding work and all aspects of peace and development in post-conflict resolutions.

He recalled visiting countries emerging from conflict such as Guinea Bissau and Liberia and meeting with women’s groups to discuss their concerns.

He noted that insufficient funding continued to be one of the main challenges hampering women’s participation in peacebuilding, stressing that donor support was acutely needed.

"But, concrete support is often elusive, and more must be done to translate the vision into tangible results," the Chair added.

Also speaking via video, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, recalled her trip to conflict-stricken nations such as South Sudan and Syria, where she described meeting women who were affected by war and witnessing the "strength and resilience of women peace-builders and their hope for a better future".

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said the global community can rally around three key messages that would promote investment in women’s leadership is peacebuilding.

"First, funds must be allocated to support women at the grassroots level. In the aftermath of any war, millions of dollars are spent on reconstruction and reconciliation and these funds predominately benefit men while women face extremely limited resources," she stated.

She also noted that women were more likely than men to devote a proportion of their income to benefit families.

"Yet, women’s local peacebuilding initiatives, while acknowledged by the international community, tend to go unrecognized while official, high-level peace negotiation and medication processes take centre stage."

She said women must be guaranteed a political space at the peace negotiating table, adding that it had been 14 years since the international community first demonstrated its commitment to supporting women’s roles in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, yet only a handful of women were involved in formal peace talks.

"For peace processes to be effective and long-lasting all people must be involved including men women, boys and girls," Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

She also said that the international community must ensure the protection of women, stating that the targeting of women who spoke up for their communities was "unacceptable" and must be addressed.

"Women and girls have waited for too long for us to take action, for justice, for services and reparation. They cannot wait much longer," she added.

The Commission was established in 2005 to propose integrated strategies for post-conflict recovery and its peacebuilding fund, created the following year, has since allocated US$27 million to mainstream gender in peacebuilding.

It also plans to donate more to empower women in peacebuilding.

Wednesday's discussion aims to provide an important contribution for the preparations of the 2015 high-level review of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, which urged all actors to increase the participation of women in all peace efforts.

The upcoming review should examine how to best support peacebuilding work women do at the community level and ensure their security.

From 2000 to 2013, the Security Council adopted a series of seven resolutions on the issue, effectively recognizing that women’s protection and participation are directly linked to security issues.

In 2010, the UN Secretary-General defined a seven-point Action Plan on Gender-Responsive Peacebuilding, identifying seven concrete commitments (on mediation, post-conflict planning, financing, civilian capacity, post-conflict governance, rule of law and economic recovery) to mainstream women’s participation.
-0- PANA AA/MA 3Sept2014

03 september 2014 22:40:39

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