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Women's Role as Peacemakers Crucial - Dalziel

Women's role as peacemakers crucial, Dalziel says

New Zealand places great importance on peaceful conflict resolution, and believes women have a crucial role to play at every level of conflict prevention and resolution, as well as peace-keeping and rebuilding shattered communities post conflict, Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel says.

Lianne Dalziel was speaking in the lead up to a conference in Brussels (6 March) on women as peacemakers, held to mark International Women's Day (8 March).

"Despite our small size and distance from the rest of the world, New Zealand has much to offer and is held in high regard for our contribution to peacemaking. New Zealand women play a pivotal role in that contribution," Lianne Dalziel said.

"New Zealand strongly supports the United Nations resolution on the role of women in peace building and security (UN Resolution 1325) through action, not just words. Up to 30 per cent of all our police peacekeeping deployments are female – one of the highest rates in the world. This includes women working in high risk areas such as Afghanistan and on operational missions such as in Timor-Leste."

Prime Minister Helen Clark is one of three honorary co-chairs of the International Women's Commission for a Just and Sustainable Palestinian-Israel Peace (IWC) and New Zealand supports the IWC having consultative status in the Middle East Peace process, Lianne Dalziel said.

"It is in all our interests that there is an enduring and just peace settlement for this region and in all regions where there is conflict. Women can make a difference at all levels, from grass roots family and community initiatives through to regional, national, and international decision-making roles. New Zealand may be a small player but we can help through providing leadership and encouraging dialogue. New Zealand can engage across a broad spectrum of interests, largely because we don’t have direct interests of our own other than to see the peace, stability and prosperity we enjoy shared across the world.

"Despite the fact that women are over-represented among the victims of conflict, we are too often absent (in terms of bringing the gender perspective and representing the specific concerns of women) from the tables negotiating the processes that would end the conflict and build the peace," Lianne Dalziel said.

"At the same time there are new threats like climate change and energy security, environmental degradation, international crime, and terrorism.

"Taking into account the roles that women play in different societies around the world, there is no question that women need to be sitting at the table in their own right to ensure that they can contribute to the decisions that will impact on their future and that of their families and communities."

Lianne Dalziel is attending the conference in her capacity as Associate Justice Minister responsible for human rights, on behalf of Prime Minister Helen Clark.

The conference, "Women: Stabilising an Insecure World", is being hosted by European Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and is being attended by a wide range of women, including United States Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other political leaders, as well as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, and representatives of the United Nations and the World Bank.

The programme is attached (below), along with a statement by Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU-Commissioner for external relations and European neighbourhood policy and Margot Wallström, vice president EU Commission, responsible for institutional relations and communication, and a list of participants.


Women stabilising an insecure world

Statement issued by Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU-Commissioner for external relations and European neighbourhood policy and Margot Wallström, vice president EU Commission, responsible for institutional relations and communication

The role of women in promoting peace and security is increasingly acknowledged, with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security as a crucial reference point, though much still remains to be done at all levels to implement this resolution. On the eve of the International Women’s Day more than 50 international women leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss the role of women in stabilising an insecure world. As we write this, in the spring 2008, it is hard to imagine a world without war. Every day, we hear reports of new conflicts, of escalating tension and violence. And in any situation of insecurity, from war to health threats to climate change, women are often disproportionately affected because of their traditionally more vulnerable position in the society. 80 percent of the world’s refugees are women and children. Sexual violence and rape are prevalent in regions of war as well as in refugee camps. We cannot talk about the role of women in conflict resolution without acknowledging this terrible reality. At the same time, we need to remember that women are also key actors promoting peace and stability. Security cannot be effectively discussed or achieved without the involvement of women. Women’s participation is crucial not only in the more traditional “hard” security spheres like war efforts, peace-building, post-conflict reconstruction and counter-terrorism, but also countering “softer” human security threats such as global epidemics, psychological health during and post-war, and the emerging concerns of climate change and environmental degradation. On 6 March more than 50 women leaders from all continents will meet in Brussels on invitation of Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner to discuss about "Women: stabilising an insecure world". Female heads of states, ministers, and heads of international organisations, business leaders, and civil society activists will discuss the twin themes of security and women's empowerment. This international conference for women political leaders builds on recent initiatives including the meeting hosted by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last September in New York and the International Women Leaders Global Security Summit last November, hosted by the Council of Women World leaders where Commission vice-president Margot Wallström is chairing the Council Ministerial Initiative. We believe the key to a stable world is sustainable development. It is about stabilising an insecure world and finding the right combination of economic growth and social progress, while at the same time caring for our planet. Without education you cannot have social stability. Yet there are currently around 100 million children not getting any education at all – and more than 70 million are girls. That we have to change. Another important instrument to stabilise the world is the UN Resolution 1325 on Women’s Role in Peace building and security that links gender equality to global security and acknowledges the importance of women’s voices in building lasting peace. This resolution is a milestone on the road to more gender-sensitive peace processes and security policies. Though the implementation of the resolution is a long-term political process it must receive more attention throughout the EU and in the various member states, in particular among decision makers in the fields of foreign, defence, security and development policy. Since the adoption of the resolution in 2000 awareness of the importance of including women in peace and reconstruction process has grown. Yet implementation of its mandate remains sporadic and ad hoc. Women make a difference, in part because they adopt a more inclusive approach toward security and address key social and economic issues that would otherwise be ignored. Women can make peace agreements and post-conflict efforts more viable, effective, and practical by engaging in a wide variety of actions, including but not limited to participating in peace talks; rehabilitating children associated with armed groups; convening people across conflict lines to discuss common concerns such as access to clean water; and advocating budget priorities that emphasize social services rather than military expenditures. Women also have a great deal to offer to the planning and execution of weapons collection, demobilization and reintegration programs. Women’s organisations are very active at the community level in both disarmament and reintegration initiatives. Whether persuading fighters to disarm, collecting weapons or providing psycho-social assistance to former combatants, women’s civil society groups such as ProPaz in Mozambique or Dushirehamwe in Burundi are attempting to address the proliferation of small arms as well as the impact and needs of former combatants. But despite the general consensus to protect and empower women, they remain marginalized in decision-making, peace-building and peacekeeping operations. Under-representation of women in politics still persists worldwide, including in Europe. Only six percent of ministers worldwide and 10 percent of parliamentarians are women. And we all know that the famous "glass ceiling" is still in place, be it in politics or economy. Barring women from full participation at the decision making levels are significant barriers to achieving Resolution 1325’s goals. There is also a widespread problem of simply viewing women as victims and not recognizing their potential as active participants in the process of building a more stable and secure world.

Outline of programme: “Women: Stabilizing an Insecure World”

European Commission, Brussels, 6 March 2008 Welcome speeches

- European Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner - President of Finland, Tarja Halonen - Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko Session 1: Women in an insecure world Women are often among the most vulnerable, disproportionately affected by threats to security. What new strategies are required, given new threats like fundamentalism, climate change and energy insecurity, environmental degradation, international crime and terrorism?

UN Deputy Secretary General, Asha-Rose Migiro Minister of External Relations, Burundi, Antoinette Batumubwira (proposed) Minister of the Environment of Brazil, Marina Silva (proposed) Senior Vice President of the World Bank Group, Ana Palacio Foreign Minister of Austria, Ursula Plassnik Session 2: From local leadership to global leadership

Women are often key players in promoting human security at a local level. How can their talents be further harnessed to address questions of human rights, social cohesion, education, health and poverty in their communities – and how can this be translated into greater participation of women in national and global decision making?

Former President of Latvia, Vaira Vike-Freiberga First Lady of Egypt, Suzanne Mubarak President of the League of Black Women, Sandra Finley (proposed) Commissioner General of UNRWA, Karen Koning Abuzayd Session 3: Women as peacemakers: a new governance?

Women's real and potential contribution to conflict prevention, interfaith dialogue and mediation is still not fully appreciated or facilitated. What further measures are required at national and international level? How can implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325 be strengthened?

Former President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga Executive Director of the UNIFEM, Joanne Sandler Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Mairead Corrigan Maguire Foreign Minister of Switzerland, Michele Calmy-Rey Hannan Ashrawi (proposed)

Session 4: Women Stabilising an Insecure World

Secretary of State of the United States of America, Condoleezza Rice Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia, Olubankie King-Akerele (proposed) Speaker Parliament of Georgia, Nino Burjanadze Vice President of the European Commission, Margot Wallstrom

Concluding session and Chairwoman's conclusions: What lessons can we draw from the day, what conclusions for future action? Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations, Sabine Christiansen (proposed) European Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner

List of Participants

Heads of State and Prime Ministers

Ms. Tarja Halonen, President of the Republic of Finland Ms. Yulia Tymoshenko, Prime Minister of Ukraine Ms. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Former President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Former President of the Republic of Latvia Ms. Zinaida Grecianii, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova

First Lady

Ms. Suzanne Mubarak, First Lady of the Arab Republic of Egypt

Ministers of Foreign Affairs

Ms. Meritxell Mateu, Principality of Andorra Dr. Ursula Plassnik, Republic of Austria Ms. Antoinette Batumubwira, Republic of Burundi Ms. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, Republic of Cyprus Ms. Dora Bakoyannis, Hellenic Republic Ms. Kinga Göncz, Republic of Hungary Ms. Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Republic of Iceland Ms. Olubanke King-Akerele, Republic of Liberia Ms. Rita Kieber-Beck, Principality of Liechtenstein Ms. Joyce Banda, Minister, Republic of Malawi Ms. Latifa Akharbach, Vice-Minister, Kingdom of Morocco Ms. Sahana Pradhan Minister, Nepal Ms. Micheline Calmy-Rey, Swiss Confederation Ms. Condoleezza Rice, United States of America

Ministers of the Environment

Ms. Marina Silva, Brazil Ms. Maria Mutagamba, Uganda


Ms. Fayza Mohamed Abul Naga, Minister of International Cooperation, Egypt Ms. Meira Kumar, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, India Ms. Emma Bonino, Minister of European Policy and International Trade, Italy Ms. Suhair Al-Ali, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Jordan Hon. Lianne Dalziel, Minister of Commerce, New Zealand UN representatives

Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Ms. Josette Sheeran, Executive Director a.i., of the United Nations World Food Programme Ms. Karen Koning Abuzayd, Commissioner-General of United Nations Relief and Works Agency Ms. Joanne Sandler, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women Ms. Mari Simonen, Deputy Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund

International Organizations

Ms. Ana Palacio, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, the World Bank Group


Ms. Margot Wallstrom, Vice-President of the European Commission Ms Danuta Hübner, Member of the European Commission Ms. Neelie Kroes, Member of the European Commission


Ms. Nino Burjanadze, Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia Hon. Luisa Morgantini, Vice-President of the European Parliament Ms. Amira Dotan, Member of Knesset, Israel Ms. Naomi Chazan, former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Israel

Other invitees

Dr. Shirin Tahir-Kheli, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State, USA Ms. Aurora Mejia, Gender Ambassador of Spain Ms. Hannan Ashrawi Ms. Nayla Ayesh, Women’s Affairs Centre, Gaza Ms. Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate1976 Ms. Waris Dirie, Waris Dirie Foundation Ms. Sandra Finley, President/Chief Executive Officer, League of Black Women Ms. Lama Hourani, International Women’s Commission Ms. Francine LeFrak, President, LeFrak Productions Dr. Edit Schlaffer, Head, "Women without Borders" Ms. Elisabeth Guertler-Mauthner


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