Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson
Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations
Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000)
Women, Peace and Security
Let me begin by thanking the delegation of Ghana for convening this open debate on Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security. I would also like to thank the delegation of Ghana for providing a concept paper for this meeting which contributes to a constructive debate. This important subject deserves our full attention and more importantly, concrete action.
Let me also thank the Secretary-General himself for his words here this morning, as well as Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Ms. Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Ms. Joanne Sandler, Interim Executive Director of UNIFEM and Ms. Gina Torry for their valuable inputs earlier today. We were very pleased to hear from the Secretary-General about the appointment of our Danish friend Ellen Margarethe Løj as his special representative in Liberia. We congratulate her most sincerely and know that this important position will be in capable hands.
Security Council Resolution 1325 is unique. It underlines the central role that women play in conflict resolution and the need to protect their rights. It has proven to be an important tool to promote the direct and active involvement of women in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. It has put gender issues and gender perspective firmly on the agenda of the Council and is relevant to all its actions.
Women are critical to the consolidation of peace and should be part of all peace processes. It is our duty to ensure that the provisions of Resolution 1325 are realized at the national, regional and international level and that women can fully and equally participate at all levels of decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and peace-building. We must translate words into action.
Iceland welcomes the comphrehensive report of the Secretary General on women and peace and security. The report clearly indicates that significant progress has been made in many areas towards implementation of the System-wide Action Plan on Resolution 1325 for 2005-2007, in particular, in areas such as peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding. The report, however, points out that progress has been uneven in many substantive areas of the Action Plan and gaps remain in its implementation. Much therefore remains to be done at the UN level, both at Headquarters and in the field.
In this context, we highly appreciate the work on the 2008-2009 System-wide Action Plan. We agree that the Action Plan should be a result-oriented monitoring and reporting tool for strengtened inter-agency coordination, enhanched accountability and gender mainstreaming. The UN system should engage Governments, civil society and regional organizations, such as the OSCE, in its implementation. We need to share experiences and good practices between regional organizations.
Iceland fully endorses the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission in the promotion of the implementation of Resolution 1325. The Peacebuilding Commission should integrate a gender perspective in all phases of its work.
Iceland strongly supports Security Council Resolution 1325 and is fully committed to implementing it. This includes promoting the rights of women and girls and mainstreaming gender concerns in the UN system and in our foreign policy.
Iceland is finalizing an Action Plan in order to intensify our implementation of Resolution 1325. The Action plan will be finalised in co-operation with civil society. Emphasis will be on developing a plan which is ambitious and acievable at the same time. Focus will be put on gender mainstreaming and participation of women in peacebuilding and stabilisation in post-conflict societies.
Iceland now participates in peacebuilding and reconstruction in nine places around the world, including for UNIFEM in Liberia, Serbia and FYROM, and for UNICEF in Palestine. In the past few years Iceland has encouraged women to increase their participation in these assignments, and currently over 40% of deployed personnel of the Iceland Crisis Response Unit are women.
Iceland's policy on development cooperation, attaches great importance to women in conflict areas. Much of Iceland's development cooperation is directed towards facilitating a smooth transition from conflict situations with special emphasis on women and their role in peacebuilding. In this context, I would like to underline the important role of UNIFEM and I am pleased to mention that the Government of Iceland has decided to double its current contribution to the Fund. This marks a thirty-fold increase in Iceland's contributions to UNIFEM since 2003, an increase which will bring Iceland amongst the top donors to the Fund.
Iceland regards the equal participation of women in peace processes as fundamental for achieving, maintaining and promoting sustainable peace. All of us have a clear duty to work towards the full and effective implementation of Resolution 1325. The UN system, Member States, and civil society must therefore consistently work together to implement the resolution at all levels. We must translate words into action. For example, ways should be found of involving women in the Israel-Palestine peace process in a consistent and structured way. Here I would like to call to the Council´s attention that there already exists a forum of influential women from both sides together with international figures, the International Women's Commission for a Just and Sustainable Israeli-Palestinian Peace (IWC). We would like to use this opportunity to urge the Quartet to consider how the peace process can benefit from influential and effective groups like the IWC.
I thank you, Mr. President, for convening this important meeting and we look forward to further discussions in order to improve the implementation of Resolution 1325.