Statement by H.E. Mr. Margus Kolga, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN at the UN Security Council open debate "The role of women's civil society organisations in contributing to the prevention and resolution of armed conflict and peacebuilding"
First of all I
would like to thank the Secretary-General, the Under-Secretary General and
Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary Ladsous and
Ms Bineta Diop, the representative of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and
Security for their statements. Estonia
aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.
Women have always
played a unique role in conflicts, but it was only twelve years ago that a
resolution adopted at the international level was dedicated solely to this
issue. Today, 12 years after the adoption of resolution 1325, the further implementation
of the principles enshrined in this resolution remains a challenge in many
parts of the world.
We welcome the focus of today`s debate on the role of women's civil society organizations in
contributing to the prevention and resolution of armed conflict and
peacebuilding. As expressed in many statements here today, Estonia too is of firm opinion that
implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 requires cooperation among all stakeholders: member states, regional and international organizations and civil
society. The role of non-governmental organizations can in no way be overestimated.
What could the international organizations or states accomplish if there was no
support for this work on the ground? Not much, I assume. Nevertheless, in
reality, the role of civil society organizations remains too often, if not
We find it
particularly pertinent to stress the value of engaging women’s organizations
and female community leaders in all aspects of conflicts – from prevention to
post-conflict. They are a crucial factor in securing the credibility and
legitimacy of international efforts. We therefore deplore the fact that women
human rights defenders so often become targets in conflict. Ensuring their
safety and opportunity to be heard is of utmost importance.
promotion of the rights of women is one of the priorities of Estonia’s foreign policy. In all
aspects of this work, special attention is paid to the participation of women’s NGOs in
policy-making and peace processes. Estonia
is contributing to international military and civilian missions in countries
where conflict-resolution and peace-building is directly linked to the
implementation of resolution 1325 and where the inclusion of a gender
dimension in the planning and implementation of missions will enhance the
efficiency of international efforts. As Estonia intends to take on even
greater responsibility, my country is proud to have been elected a member of
the Human Rights Council for the next term 2013–2015. I would like to assure
you that one of our top priorities as a member will be the promotion of women`s
rights and participation.
There is a
growing understanding that women and children are impacted uniquely and
disproportionately by the effects of conflict and its aftermath. Estonia has
focused its development cooperation as well as its humanitarian assistance and
human rights activities on supporting these vulnerable groups. We thus
regularly contribute to international programmes and funds, including UN Women,
UNFPA, UNICEF and UNGEI, as well as OCHA. In fact, Estonia is proud to announce that
it is significantly increasing all its voluntary contribution to to UN agencies
welcome the fact that at the national level, the number of countries that have given priority
to women and peace and security through national action plans has continued to
grow, and that already 37 Member States have adopted national action plans.
its national action plan for the implementation of
UNSC resolution 1325 in 2010 and has since shared its process
of preparing an action plan with other countries. One of the most
important conclusions of our 2011 implementation report is, that NGOs have a
crucial role in furthering the agenda of 1325. The cooperation between public
sector and NGOs is considered crucial in this regard.
Estonia welcomes the
important steps taken within the framework of the United Nations in the past
two years. However, the fact that according to the SG report on “Strengthening
the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict
prevention and resolution” only 4
of the UN negotiating party delegations out of the 14 peace processes underway
in 2011 included a woman delegate, shows that there is still a lot of room for
improvement. In similar vein, it is regrettable that in 2011 from the nine
peace agreements signed (involving eight countries), only two (22 per cent)
contained women and peace and security provisions — the same percentage as in
2010. We fully agree with the SG that the gender dimensions of mediation should
be clearly and consistently articulated. Indeed, it is important to raise
gender-specific issues from the onset of the conflict analysis phase and in the
earliest moments of peace negotiations. This can help ensure that provisions
related to gender equality are included in peace accords.
We are deeply
concerned that according to the SG’s report sexual violence and the threat of
sexual violence continues to be employed as a weapon of war in a range of
conflicts. In some cases, even an
increase of incidents was reported in 2011. Sexual and gender-based violence is
a gross human rights violation, which is present in every armed conflict.
Estonia remains concerned about the lack
of accountability for those who have committed gross violations of human
rights. In this context, we would like to stress the role of the ICC, a
significant actor in the fight against impunity for the most
serious crimes of international concern committed against women and girls. We
welcome the principles set out in the ICC’s first ever decision on reparations,
in particular the confirmation that the needs of vulnerable victims – including
women, children and victims of sexual and gender-based violence – must be
addressed as a priority. Reparations can be used as a vehicle to empower women
and girls and to address gender inequality, one of the root causes of violence
As a member of the UN Women Executive Board, which has a significant
role in also contributing to the implementation
as well as of Commission of the Status of Women, we support the objective of
the empowerment of women in society. We fully agree with the Secretary General that translating norms
into practice must in the end be measured against real change in the lives of
women, girls, boys and men across the continuum from conflict to peace.
Finally, we have noted that according to data
published in the SG report the information flow to the Security Council and the
Council’s response to women and peace and security concerns continue to be
uneven and would like to encourage the Council to pay further attention to this
matter. In this regard, today`s debate is a very good example of affording the
question of women and peace and security the consideration it deserves.
I thank you, Mr. President.