The United Nations Office at Geneva and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) jointly host an annual seminar. This collaboration is an example of how UNOG forms partnerships with external academic and research experts to draw and build on the available expertise.
Eighth Joint UNOG-DCAF Seminar
“Women, peace and security: from resolution to action.
Ten years of Security Council Resolution 1325”
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
We need to strengthen accountability and put an end to impunity for violence committed against women in conflict if we are to achieve a lasting and sustainable peace. This was one of the key messages of a high-level seminar focused on how to enhance the role of women in peace and security worldwide.
Over 150 representatives of Governments, the United Nations family, think tanks and academia took part in the high-level seminar, convened on 15 September 2010 by the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), to examine progress in the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 ten year after its adoption.
Opening the seminar, Mr. Sergei A. Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of UNOG, stressed that despite the potential of Resolution 1325 only limited and sporadic progress had been achieved. Commending the efforts of the 22 countries that had so far completed National Action Plans for implementation of the Resolution, the Director-General called on other countries to follow suit to realize the promise of the Resolution. He also reiterated the need to work for women’s empowerment generally through greater progress towards Millennium Development Goal number 3 on gender equality.
In her keynote speech, Ms. Micheline Calmy-Rey, Federal Councillor and Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, emphasized that the presence of women in peace negotiations and in high-level political functions continued to be an exception. The Federal Councillor identified the need to reduce the gap between policy and practice nationally and internationally, to mainstream the contents of the Security Council Resolutions at a political level and advance Millennium Development Goal 3 as key challenges. The Federal Councillor said that as long as women were not considered equal partners in the political, economic and social fields, the international community would fall short of making any progress on Resolution 1325.
During the discussions, the continued impunity for perpetrators of violence against women was stressed as a key obstacle in eliminating insecurity for women. Sound justice, accountability and reporting mechanisms had to be put into place to deter future acts of violence. Participants noted that progress in other areas such as access to education and maternal health had to be addressed concurrently. Panellists also underscored the importance of indicators to track progress in the implementation of Resolution 1325. The allocation of adequate resources to address the role of women in peace and security was seen as a crucial determinant of success. The need for societal change, with a change in mindsets, was considered critical in ensuring long-term change.
In her closing keynote address, Ms. Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that women’s contributions in reconstruction and in the embedding of women’s rights in law and practice were indispensible preconditions for peace. She highlighted the need to develop a better system for data collection to identify women’s specific requirements in transition periods. Noting that most transitional justice scenarios were defined by gender inequality and systematic discrimination against women, the High Commissioner stressed the importance of including a gender perspective at the very beginning of a reconciliation process.
The high-level seminar was the eighth in the series of joint annual events hosted by the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) on different aspects of security sector governance.