Secretary Clinton Delivers Remarks at the 10th Anniversary of UNSCR 1325: Women, Peace and Security

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
October 26, 2010

Secretary Clinton spoke today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, on "Women, Peace, and Security."

The Secretary said, "...here we are at the 10th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, and we're here to reaffirm the goals set forth in this historic resolution, but more than that, to put forth specific actions, as my colleague, the foreign minister of Austria, just did in such a commendable set of proposals. The only way to achieve our goals -- to reduce the number of conflicts around the world, to eliminate rape as a weapon of war, to combat the culture of impunity for sexual violence, to build sustainable peace -- is to draw on the full contributions of both women and men in every aspect of peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peace building.

"Now, women's participation in these activities is not a 'nice thing to do.' It's not as though we are doing a favor for ourselves and them by including women in the work of peace. This is a necessary global security imperative. Including women in the work of peace advances our national security interests, promotes political stability, economic growth, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Just as in the economic sphere, we cannot exclude the talents of half the population, neither when it comes to matters of life and death can we afford to ignore, marginalize, and dismiss the very direct contributions that women can and have made.

"President Obama's National Security Strategy recognizes that 'countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal rights and opportunity. When those rights and opportunities are denied, countries lag behind.' Well, it is also true when it comes to issues of human security -- accountability for sexual violence, trafficking of women and girls, and all of the other characteristics of stable, thriving societies that provide maternal and child healthcare, education, and so much else.

"Now, in defense, diplomacy, and development, which we consider the three pillars of our foreign policy, we are putting women front and center, not merely as beneficiaries of our efforts but as agents of peace, reconciliation, economic growth, and stability.

"...Looking ahead, I am pleased to announce two important steps the U.S. is taking to advance the goals of Resolution 1325. First, the United States will commit nearly $44 million to a set of initiatives designed to empower women. The largest portion, about 17 million, will support civil society groups that focus on women in Afghanistan. The women in Afghanistan are rightly worried that in the very legitimate search for peace their rights will be sacrificed. And I have personally stated, and I state again here in the Security Council, none of us can permit that to happen. No peace that sacrifices women's rights is a peace we can afford to support.

"Fourteen million dollars will also go to nongovernmental organizations working to make clean water more available in conflict zones, because in these areas, when women and girls go looking for water they are at higher risk of being attacked. Similarly, I had the honor of announcing the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves last month -- another initiative that by our support can protect women who will not have to go out seeking firewood or other forms of fuel if we can revolutionize the way they're able to cook food for their families.

"Another 1.7 million will help fund UN activities, including Special Representative Wallstrom's office, and 11 million will help expand literacy, job training, and maternal health services for refugee women and girls.

"In addition to this new funding, our second step will be to develop our own National Action Plan to accelerate the implementation of Resolution 1325 across our government and with our partners in civil society. And to measure progress on our plan, we will adopt the indicators laid out in the Secretary General's report. We will measure whether women are effectively represented in the full range of peace-building and reconstruction efforts; whether they are protected against sexual violence; and whether they are the focus of conflict prevention, relief and reconciliation efforts. Measuring our progress will help ourselves be held accountable and identify those areas where we need to do more.

"Now, the National Action Plan and the new funding I've announced are two important steps, and we will pursue them with total commitment. But as several have already said: Action plans and funding are only steps toward a larger goal.

"The Presidential statement that we hope will be adopted calls for another stock-taking in five years. But we better have more to report and we better have accomplished more between now and then, otherwise, there will be those who will lose faith in our international capacity to respond to such an overwhelming need -- because, ultimately, we measure our progress by the improvements in the daily lives of people around the world. That must be our cause and empowering women to contribute all their talents to this cause is our calling."

You can read the Secretary's full remarks here. A fact sheet about UNSCR 1325 is available here.

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