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Statement by H. E. Mr. Urmas Paet, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Estonia at the side ecent in frames of the CSW "UNSCR 1325 - What lies ahead?"

04.03.2013

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends and advocates of the UNSC Resolution 1325 Women, Peace and Security,

 

I warmly welcome you all to today’s discussion on the UNSC resolution 1325. Before I share my thoughts on the topic, I would like to say that I feel privileged to share the podium with Ms. Bineta Diop, the founder and president of Femmes Africa Solidarité, widely recognized organization involved in engendering peace processes in Africa. I also thank Ms. Anne Marie Goetz from UN Women, Ms Soon-Young Yoon from the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, and Ms. Mavic Cabrera-Balleza from the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders for joining us here today.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

In October 2000, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 - “Women, Peace and Security” - to acknowledge the disproportionate effect of war and conflicts on women and children. It is more than 12 years since we adopted the Resolution. It is time to analyze our achievements. Though the tenth anniversary gave a great impetus to its implementation, my critical assessment is that until now we have done more when it comes to procedures than in relation to its implementation. I would like to share my views on some fundamental aspects of the 1325 concept and try to find answers to the questions why we have not reached the targets we set. Based on Estonia’s experience, I shall also share some thoughts on how we could overcome those gaps together.

 

Resolution 1325 binds the elements of security, development and human rights indivisibly and contains elements of such concepts and topics as Responsibility to Protect, humanitarian and development cooperation, children in armed conflicts, sexual violence, education etc. This means that a narrow approach is doomed to fail in our modern, intertwined security environment neither would it find sufficient political attention by high level decision makers. Moreover, it often leads to a blurred interpretation of the whole concept.

 

It is often argued that because resolution 1325 deals with women in military conflict, it is not of concern to societies in peace. We therefore often miss the crucial roles of prevention and of empowerment.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Over the past years, sexual violence and the threat of sexual violence continued to be employed as a tactic of war, including in Côte d'Ivoire, the DR Congo, Libya, Syria and northern Mali. These conflicts have made evident the need to protect civilians, especially the most vulnerable groups of women and children. Estonia underlines the importance of fighting sexual violence and torture in armed conflicts and in post-conflict situations. The violators should be seen in a broader context as they do not always wear a military uniform, but may nevertheless hold a position of power and a delusive feeling of impunity. Estonia commends the efforts of the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura and her predecessor Mrs. Margot Wallström to address and act on this issue. Estonia also welcomes that some states have already taken steps to tackle this challenge. And we also welcome that several international security organisations, for example NATO, have taken measures by appointing its Special Representative for resolution 1325, or are in the process of developing Action Plans, such as the OSCE.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Wom­en, in situations of military conflict, usually have no possibility to protect their rights through the legal system. Reducing impunity is therefore a vital part of efforts aimed at combating violence against women. Estonia remains concerned about the lack of accountability when it comes to those who have committed gross violations of human rights.

 

Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, President of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court, has repeatedly raised the issue of sexual violence against women and girls, which can amount to the international crimes - war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide. As a founding member of the ICC, and party to the Rome Statute, Estonia stresses that the international criminal justice system, especially the ICC, plays a crucial role in providing timely and decisive response to such crimes. Investigations by the Court may deter further atrocities, prevent their escalation or accelerate their end. Therefore it is essential to cooperate with the Court and apprehend those who have been indicted. It is the responsibility of all states to put an end to impunity.

 

Another notable feature of the ICC is its unprecedented commitment to ensuring victims a participatory role in the Court’s proceedings, thereby empowering victims. We also 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 against women. But ICC prosecutions will not be enough to ensure accountability on their own. To reverse impunity for sexual violence it is important that States implement the legal framework necessary to prosecute these crimes.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Women are powerful agents for peace and security. They must be engaged and included in mediation. However, we still do not see women among peace negotiators, 12 years after the problem was acknowledge by the Security Council. It is due to traditions, culture, quite often also religion or education that peace does not have a women’s touch. But it needs one. It is a challenge for our mind-set to replace “women as victims” with “women as actors”. ”Violence against women” should become “women against violence.” Women are ready to act, and ready to take the leadership. The Arab awakening, or countries like Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Liberia, Nepal etc. – there are many good examples from all over the world that provide excellent lessons for the future how to bring women into action.

 

 

Dear friends,

 

The final issue that I would like to touch upon is related to the National Action Plans. In order to further promote the implementation of the resolution 1325, in 2010 Estonia adopted its National Action Plan. Our goal was to define and systematize Estonia’s activities in the field of international peace missions and development cooperation, incorporating the gender perspective and setting future priorities. Currently, Estonia is in the process of finalizing the second implementation report of the plan. Allow me to highlight some of our experiences and lessons-learned.

 

1.      The cooperation between different authorities at the international and national level is a need and a challenge. In the partnerships and dialogues we need to focus on goals that are realistic and implementable.
 
2.      Estonia is a strong promoter of progress indicators which help us to evaluate our action impact, the achieved change and trends. As qualitative change needs more time to evaluate, we sometimes miss the quantitative indicators to show the immediate effect of our action. To overcome this gap, we await the EU’s report on resolution 1325 indicators, which should be finalized this year.

3.      A tailor-made approach shall be applied to achieve balanced economic, political and social empowerment of women. It should be enforced by a strong sense of national ownership. Local leaders must take on the responsibility. The international community can support them, and we continue to do it. In this regard I very much hope that the African Union will soon nominate its special representative on 1325. We also look forward to the soon-to-be published report by the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the topic.

4.      In parallel, we must use the regional capacities and initiatives because most of the conflicts involve more than one country. South Caucasus is a good example here, where several 1325-related initiatives have brought the partners together to tackle jointly the common challenges.

5.
     
Action needs resources and good results can be achieved when both the public and private sector contribute. With effective donor coordination, sometimes very little additional resources are required to implement the objectives set out in the Action Plan on a much larger scale.

6.
     
Education is very important in promoting resolution 1325 and gender issues.

·      With the aim of raising awareness, the whole school curriculum in Estonia includes elements of resolution 1325. For example, the history classes include peace education. The civil education curriculum includes topics of human rights, refugees and the displacement of people. And the natural sciences teach the impact of crises on the environment and demographic processes. Estonia has developed its “teachers teach the teachers” capability and is ready to share its experience and lessons learned.

·      Secondly, universal access to quality education is essential to eradicate poverty and to increase social inclusion. Knowledge and skills are crucial to participate fully in civic life, to enjoy attractive employment and income-earning opportunities.

·      Thirdly, looking more concretely into the future and keeping in mind the goals of sustainable development, I commend the UN Secretary General’s Action Plan on Women in Peace Building which sets economic recovery target of 40% for the post-conflict temporary jobs should be created for women.

7.      The twinning network of 1325-contact countries wherein a donor country with National Action Plan could support a partner country to develop its capacities in implementing resolution 1325 should be broadened. We have about 40 countries with NAP – it should be easy to reach double this number.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Experience shows that to further accelerate the implementation of resolution 1325, there is no alternative to action. Let us work on promoting the willingness of states to tackle this issue.

 

I thank you, and I wish us a lively continuation of the discussion.

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