September marks the beginning of a series of events here at UN headquarters in New York, starting with the opening of the 66th General Assembly and the High-Level general debate from 21st -27th September. There will be numerous side events including September 19th high-level event on Women's Political Participation to raise awareness on women's participation in leadership roles; and a high-level meeting with the Libyan National Transitional Council on the 20th September.
The thematic focus of this year's general debate: "Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution” is particularly relevant to our work in the Women, Peace and Security community. We expect Member States to include strong gender perspective in their statements, and to use this opportunity in the official and unofficial meetings to express political support for women's rights, disarmament and peace. To that end, as a member of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security, WILPF recently sent a letter to all UN Member State Missions calling for gender perspective in their official statements as well as an emphasis on the important role played by women in mediation. [See below for more]
As our Countries make statements to the UN, we here in the WILPF UN office will hold Member States accountable by analyzing, tracking, and monitoring the language from both a gender and peace perspective. All of our previously collected information and analysis is available on our website, please visit GA65 Monitor for last year's General Assembly. For more information on the General Assembly, committees, and themes, please visit the GA website.
We also expect intense negotiations on the Palestinian bid for Statehood, which may be pursued in the Security Council and/or General Assembly. WILPF adopted a position in our “Resolution on the Middle East” at the August 2011 Congress demanding “the submission of a resolution in September 2011 to the United Nations calling for the recognition of an independent sovereign state of Palestine based on the 4 June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, not undermining the Palestinian's pursuit of real liberation and self-determination”.
Also ongoing this month is the WILPF Commitment Review Project, with WILPF sections currently in the process of evaluating national commitments on women, peace and security, which were made last year. Given that many commitments remain unrealized, it is necessary at this time, one year on, to evaluate progress and highlight that words are not enough! For the Commitments Database, click here. For further information and commentary please click here.
I am honored to have been invited by US-WILPF to be the facilitator of upcoming US-WILPF consultations on the US National Action Plan. During the months of September/October WILPF US plans to host 5 civil society consultations with key officials from the Office of Global Women's Issues, consultations aimed at providing input and direction on the development of the U.S. 1325 NAP. Information and recommendations collected from these consultations will be added to information gathered through the online survey, analyzed, and summarized in a formal report to be presented to the State Department. I have included details below.
Our featured news this month includes articles on Libya highlighting the importance of supporting and creating space for Libyan women at this time in the transition (article included in this edition: “Libya's War-Tested Women Hope to Keep New Power” and the Libya Page for further reading). Also featured is the article“U.N. Peacekeepers' Sex Scandals Linger, On Screen and Off”, discussing the Whistleblower Movie as well as recent incidences of sexual as! sault by peacekeepers in Haiti. The NY Times article includes quotes from Madeleine Rees, our WILPF Secretary-General: “It is a point of honor for me that the U.N. is not remembered for raping the very people we must protect”.
Last month's Open Debate, on UN Peacekeeping Operations took place on the 26th of August 2011
On August 26, 2011 the United Nations Security Council (SC) held an open debate on UN global peacekeeping operations, with statements focusing on the usual themes of the importance of strengthening cooperation and partnership between the Security Council, Secretariat and Police and Troop contributing countries (PCC, TCC); increasing links between peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts; and resources.
With much of the debate focused on technical matters, references to women and gender perspective were seldom heard, with only 5 statements - France, Brazil, Germany, Portugal and the Philippines – out of 48 making explicit reference to gender. All 5 references were brief in nature and linked primarily with the broader theme of protection of civilians.
Please check our website for a full analysis of these debates, on our Security Council Monitor.
Security Council Report Debate Watch by Dominique Lardner
Under Security Council Monitor, we have created a new sub-section "About Women, Peace and Security agenda in the Security Council" to provide some further background information.
WILPF is actively promoting the movie “The Whistleblower” in where our current Secretary General of WILPF, Madeleine Rees, is depicted by Vanessa Redgrave. While serving as the UN High Commission on Human Rights in Bosnia in the ninties, Madeleine Rees was pivotal in helping to address issues of women's rights including those depicted in the film where U.S cop Kathryn Bolkovac disrupts gross human rights violations against women involving UN officials during post-conflict reconciliation efforts. In an recorded interview with WILPF, Madeleine Rees applauds the film for its realistic depiction of what happen in Bosnia and offers a message from what the movie represents.
Tuesday September 13, 2011 marks the opening of the 66th General Assembly. The theme of the general debate will be "Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution.” WILPF UN office will continue to hold Member States accountable to women, peace, and security (WPS), and disarmament commitments by collecting, tracking, and monitoring the gendered language and statements made in the General Assembly Plenary. We share all of our collected information and analysis on our website, please visit GA65 Monitor for last year's General Assembly.
The General Debate for the upcoming 66th session will take place between the 21st to 23rd and the 25th to 27th of September 2011. For more information on the General Assembly, committees, and themes, please visit the this website.
As a member of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security, WILPF recently sent a letter to all UN Member State Missions suggesting that they emphasize the important role of women in mediation in their statements at the General Debate at this year's General Assembly. In this letter, WILPF and the other members of the NGO Working Group outlined general guidelines for Member States to incorporate into their statements while noting the existing disparities and particular challenges that women face in post-conflict peace-building. Click here to view the letter in its completed form.
National Action Plans, or NAPs, serve as an important tool for furthering the women, peace, and security agenda.
Did you know that 32 countries have currently adopted NAPs on women, peace, and security? Find your country in our National Implementation Section. Many other countries are currently drafting.
WILPF sections have engaged in many of these NAP process. WILPF also recently adopted a Resolution on NAPs.Here are a few recent highlights:
PeaceWomen has three new interns beginning this month. We are very excited to have such a dynamic team, coming from various regions around the world with diverse backgrounds and interests. PeaceWomen is pleased to welcome Kelsey Coolidge, Dominique Lardener, and Rebecca Paulsson:
Kelsey, a local from New Jersey, is currently attending Seton Hall University earning a B.S in International Relations and Environmental Studies. She is expected to graduate in May of 2012 and plans to work aboard upon graduation in the Middle East or North Africa on environmental and developmental issues in post-conflict settings. Previously employed a student researcher under a NSF grant and engaged in various community organizations, Kelsey hopes to apply her research and leadership experience to a lively and fulfilling career in international relations. Eventually, she plans to obtain a master's degree in sustainable development with a concentration on water and conflict.
From Sydney, Australia, Dominique Lardner recently graduated with a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of New South Wales. Particularly interested in human rights and international law, Dominique relocated to New York to gain practical experience relevant to her undergraduate degree. Currently, she is interning with both Peacewomen and Bellevue Hospital's Program for Survivors of Torture. Having travel independently throughout the world, often in developing and post-conflict countries, Dominique ultimately seeks to obtain a job as a site researcher for a non-profit or non-governmental human rights organization.
Rebecca has recently obtained a Bachelor's degree in International Relations. In addition to her degree, she has studied Latin-American studies, gender studies and peace and conflict studies at Stockholm University and Uppsala University in Sweden. She has lived half her life in Central America (mostly Honduras) but currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Her interests include languages, culture and politics with a specific interest in the perspective of traditionally marginalized people.
Costs, risks, and myths of nuclear power: NGO world-wide study on the implications of the catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station is a collaborative work of non-governmental researchers, scientists, and activists. It was released on 11 September 2011, six months after the disaster at Fukushima and in advance of the high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will convene at the United Nations on 22 September. Its release is also timed to coincide with the UN system-wide study of the implications of Fukushima commissioned by Ban.
The third part of the 2011 session of the Conference on Disarmament started on 4 August in Geneva. RCW is posting all statements and documents from the Conference and provides reports after each plenary meeting. Subscribe today to make sure you stay up to date with this multilateral disarmament negotiating body.
In response to the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hosting a high-level meeting on 22 September 2011. Reaching Critical Will is publishing a report in advance of this meeting in early September. Additionally, the meeting will be monitored and RCW will later release a report.
On 23 September, CTBT states that parties will convene the seventh conference on facilitating the entry into force of the Treaty. RCW has information on NGO accreditation and will post documents online.
The U.S. Section of WILPF has advocated for SCR 1325 and other issues of Women, Peace and Security and is currently campaigning. Active Participation is encouraged.