Launch of the Gender and SSR Toolkit, Geneva 29. October 2008
Opening remarks by the moderator, ambassador of Norway, Bente Angell-Hansen
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all to the launch, here in Geneva, of the Gender & Security Sector Reform Toolkit.
This Friday it is 8 years since the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1325. This was a milestone event. It was a major political step forward to include women and women’s perspectives in peace and security decisions. The resolution calls for the full and equal participation of women in all peace and security initiatives, along with the mainstreaming of gender issues in the context of conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and reconstruction. I am convinced that this will give security decisions valuable added sustainability. The resolution both acknowledges the need for specific measures in safeguarding women’s rights and the fact that the participation of women is essential to all aspects of promoting peace and security.
The toolkit presented today is designed to operationalize the mandate of SR 1325 within security sector reform and governance. It is obvious that political decisions are not enough, and that their real value can only be seen when translated into concrete results on the ground, making a difference to people.
Implementation of the resolution has been slow. Only ten countries, of which Norway is one, have drafted national action plans. I have brought with me some copies of the plan for those who might be interested in having a closer look at it.
The Norwegian action plan calls for:
• Increasing representation of women in police and armed forces, including setting a 25% target quota for women in officers schools;
• Integrating issues of women, peace and security in military and police training programs
• Requiring NGOs to integrate gender and empower women in order to be eligible for funding
• The action plan also has many international components. Norway’s cooperation with the African Union in this respect, is one such important example.
This being said, each country will have to develop their own action plan reflecting national needs. Still, I hope that the Norwegian plan contains measures that may inspire other countries.
Ladies and gentlemen,
For many years SSR practitioners lacked practical tools to support advocacy, policy formulation and implementation and training. In response to this, the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DECAF), the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW) and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIR) developed and published the Toolkit that will be presented here today. Reflecting Norway’s commitment to this important work, I am very pleased that we could provide the financing for it.
I am happy to say that this toolkit has been widely recognised as a key resource for SSR policy makers and practitioners.
It is a particular pleasure for me to introduce today’s panellists:
• Anja Ebnöther, Assistant Director and Head of Special Programmes at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, will talk about the genesis, development and goals of the toolkit
• Bineta Diop, Founder and Executive Director of Femmes Africa Solidarité, will provide the perspective of one of the leading women’s rights NGOs in Africa
• Alejandro Álvarez is the Justice and Security Sector Reform Advisor at the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery in the United Nations Development Program. Besides offering a male perspective, he will comment on the relevance of this toolkit in the United Nations Security Sector Reform framework.
Following the presentations of the panellists the floor will be open for questions and comments.