US: UN Women chief urges greater input, visibility of women in peacebuilding

New York, UN (PANA) - Emphasizing the consistent, dependable and universal commitment of women to conflict prevention, the head of UN Women on Monday called for greater efforts to reach the goal of allocating at least 15 per cent of peacebuilding resources to gender equality and women's empowerment.

“Women need to be resourced so that they can do more,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, told the Security Council during an open debate on the role of women in conflict prevention in Africa, according to a UN statement.

“The commitment to allocate at least 15 per cent of peacebuilding funds to gender equality and women's empowerment, must become a reality. This must be extended to all efforts aimed at preventing and countering violent extremism,” she added.

She also stressed that women's organizations must receive the political and financial support needed to engage in violence prevention, mediation and diplomacy, as investing in gender equality as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “is the best recipe for structural, long-term prevention”.

However, the role of women in conflict prevention is often missing in highest-level discussions about peace and security, she pointed out, welcoming Monday's debate that focused on the relationship between the need to focus on prevention of violence and paying attention to the critical importance of gender equality.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka went on to cite specific examples of conflict prevention led by women in Africa, including the 'Women's Situation Rooms,' a monitoring mechanism to support women candidates and fight discrimination of women in electoral processes and gender-based electoral violence and harassment.

The statement noted that in the last five years, the mechanism has been established in Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda, and the model is being replicated in a growing list of countries across Africa with UN Women's support.

“Our research also shows that women play a key role in de-escalating tensions and preventing radicalization in their families. In Mali, the most important influence for the successful re-integration of many ex-combatants has been the women in their families and communities,” she said.

The statement also noted that in the Sahel region, the income, status and resilience of women has been boosted by programmes that address the gender gap in access to land and other productive assets, she said. In poor areas of Kenya, women's organizations are using mothers to identify and prevent the spread of radicalization, and in Burundi, hundreds of women mediators are working tirelessly to address local conflicts.

According to the Global Study on Women, Peace and Security, countries with lower levels of gender inequality are less likely to resort to the use of force; security of women is one of the most reliable indicators of the peacefulness of a State; and women's different spending patterns contribute directly to post-conflict social recovery, she noted.

She also presented some proposals. The UN's prevention work should include more frequent deliberations by the Security Council informed by the perspective and analyses of women on the ground. The practice of hearing from civil society should be extended to consultations on country-specific situations, to the work of the 15-nation body's subsidiary organs, including the Counterterrorism Committee, as well as the Council's visiting missions, she added.

Council members should also demand a robust gender analysis in reports and in all atrocity-prevention efforts, she continued, noting that UN Women serves as the Secretariat for the new Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security, which held its first meeting last month on Mali. This mechanism is an important step in ensuring consistent and quality information flows to the Council, she said.
-0- PANA MA 29March2016

29 march 2016 06:30:23




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