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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > Office of International Women's Issues > Remarks > 2001-2005 International Women's Issues Remarks

Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security

Ambassador John D. Negroponte, United States Representative to the United Nations
Remarks to the United Nations Security Council
New York, New York
October 29, 2003

I would now like to offer a statement in my national capacity.

The United States vigorously supported the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325, and we continue to pursue its goals, particularly through the Friends of Security Council Resolution 1325, so ably energized by the Canadian Delegation.

We therefore scheduled today’s meeting to take stock of progress made, to see what can be done to continue to advance implementation, and to provide an operational perspective on implementation.

The two presentations that started off our discussion today have given us valuable information followed by a useful and thought-provoking debate.  I thank Mr. Guéhenno and Ms. Smythe for joining us today.

We heartily commend the efforts of the Secretariat, the Gender Advisers, member states, civil society and others on their insight and accomplishments, but we clearly have work to do before we can say that Security Council Resolution 1325 has been fully implemented. 

I address this point to everyone – the members of the Security Council, other member states, parties to conflict, and of course, every department and office in the Secretariat.  Although we called upon the DPKO to provide today’s report, we have not forgotten about the responsibilities and contributions of the other United Nations Departments, including the Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Disarmament Affairs, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and UNIFEM among others. For our part, we in the Security Council, where appropriate, include references to gender and 1325 in our resolutions, mission mandates and reports, although there have been comments throughout the course of the day that perhaps we do not do this sufficiently.

My government’s support for Security Council Resolution 1325 and the principles it embodies are part of a larger United States commitment to advancing the rights of women more broadly at home and around the world.  

We envision a world in which participation in all aspects of civic life by both men and women is free and whole.  With respect to 1325’s focus, it is literally impossible to understand conflicts and then frame and implement policy responses to those conflicts without overcoming the inertia that too often sidelines, sidetracks, and silences half the world’s population.

No approach to peace can succeed if it does not view men and women as equally important components of the solution.

The United States therefore is placing great emphasis on the role of women in resolving conflicts and building peace in countries that desperately need their vision and full participation. That is why we are investing heavily in bringing women into the equation in post-conflict areas where their voices have been muted.

For example, the Office of the Senior Coordinator of International Women’s Issues in the United States Department of State lists nearly 175 projects dedicated to women’s political, economic and social development in Afghanistan. These include:

  • A $2.5 million grant to build Women’s Resource Centers in 14 provinces, as well as an additional $1 million for educational and training programs on topics ranging from employment to human rights education and political participation skills;  
  • Grants to support women’s political participation and potential female candidates in Baghlan, Sar-I-pul, Kapisa and Wardak provinces; and  
  • An advocacy-training program held in the United States for Afghan women political activists in preparation for the Loya Jirga.

We look forward to the Council’s upcoming trip to Afghanistan as an opportunity to see firsthand what kind of progress women in Afghanistan have made and to continue to urge their involvement in the post-conflict reconstruction of their country. I am pleased to have heard Minister of State Müller confirm Germany’s commitment to this aspect of the Council’s visit.

In Iraq, we are promoting women’s inclusion in the building of civil society. The CPA-Governance team has, in fact, held dozens of meetings with Iraqi women on a range of issues including constitutional and legal reform, security, human rights, education and health, among others.

And in May, the CPA Administrator Ambassador Bremer personally met with Iraqi women representing a range of backgrounds to discuss the future of Iraq.  He encouraged them to form a steering committee, and as a result, on the 9th of July, more than 70 women—experts in law, education, health, human rights and economics — participated in a day of workshops, “The Voice of Women in Iraq.”  U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, gave the keynote address and delivered a personal message from President Bush, who commended the women attending the conference for “their strong commitment to creating an Iraq where the benefits of freedom are available to all citizens.” Representatives from the United Nations and United Nations Agencies, including UNDP, UNICEF and UNIFEM, which do such important work on these issues, also participated and contributed.

There is also some remarkable work being done at the U.S. supported Fatima Center for Women in Hillah, where another important meeting, entitled the Heartland of Iraq Women’s Conference took place just this month. Over 150 women attended from the five south-central provinces including women involved in the establishing of women’s centers and organizations in their communities.

And in addition, the United States is working to strengthen community-based groups in Iraq to foster citizen participation in the local policy-making process.  In this regard, our funding for women’s organizations has helped them build their capacity to promote women’s issues at interim advisory councils across Iraq and to organize workshops for Iraqi women to discuss reforms in such areas as matrimonial laws, the prevention of violence and abuse against women and equal opportunities in education and employment.

Reinforcing these efforts, the Coalition Provisional Authority and USAID are cooperating with the Baghdad District Advisory Council Women’s Committee, the Baghdad Women’s NGO Coordinating Council and Women for Women International to conduct on-site assessments for the establishment of nine women’s training and education centers across the city. 

As Ms. Smythe has noted, women are among the most disadvantaged members of the population of the Democratic Republic of Congo, another strife-torn nation.  To help women in the DRC, we have funded programs through the International Human Rights Law Group to support local organizations attempting to end sexual violence against women.  USAID has also granted $500,000 to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) for a program to counsel women and help them deal with the consequences of rape in North and South Kivu.

These are but a few examples of our programmatic emphasis on implementing 1325 in letter and spirit.  As a further manifestation of our resolve—shared by many of the countries present here today—the United States has sponsored a resolution on “Women and Political Participation” during this year’s General Assembly.  Our resolution outlines a series of practical steps that states and other actors can and should take to increase women’s participation in politics and decision-making.   It also specifically mentions 1325 and urges states and the United Nations to increase women’s participation in conflict resolution and peace processes.

I would also like to draw your attention to another issue that has a significant impact on women, particularly in conflict situations.   We know that, each year, hundreds of thousands of women and children fall victim to the sex trade.

As President Bush said to the General Assembly last month,

Nearly two centuries after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, and more than a century after slavery was officially ended in its last strongholds, the trade in human beings for any purpose must not be allowed to thrive in our time.”

The United States Government has therefore committed $50 million dollars to support  organizations that are rescuing women and children from exploitation, and giving them the hope of a new life.

In this regard, I would especially like to thank Under-Secretary Guehenno for his update on the current DPKO response to trafficking of women as it affects peacekeeping operations and note that we are looking forward to the “lessons learned” study he has under way.  We also are pleased to hear that DPKO intends to fill the Gender Adviser post in Headquarters soon.

I would just conclude by saying that while we have made progress, there is indeed much more work to be done. I echo many of the questions that my colleagues have raised. My government and my Mission will continue to support and push for implementation of this landmark resolution.

And now resuming my duty as President of the Council.

Released on October 31, 2003

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