I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia and the Associated Countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, as well as the EFTA country of the European Economic Area – Iceland, align themselves with this statement.
We appreciate that this important issue is once again on the agenda of the Security Council and welcome the Report of the Secretary-General on women, peace and security.
In the statement to the Security Council on 25th July 2002 I presented the European Union views with regard to conflict, peacekeeping and gender. Based on this I then provided some practical proposals for consideration in the study on women, peace and security. The report of the Secretary-General in front of us today highlights the major findings of the study and it would therefore be appropriate for me to offer some comments on this report.
Allow me first of all to congratulate the Secretary-General and his staff for an excellent report. The 21 action points provide some very practical recommendations that are possible to implement. Once implemented, the action points will ensure important progress towards the full and equal participation of women and men in all stages of conflict resolution, peacemaking, peace-building, peace-keeping and reconstruction processes. The European Union is a firm supporter of the human rights for all and welcomes and fully agrees with the recommendations by the Secretary-General regarding the human rights of women and girls.
Allow me to bring forward four mainly positive points from the report that the European Union believes should be highlighted in the meeting of today and one less positive.
Firstly, the European Union supports the proposal to fully integrate gender perspectives in the planning, in the mandates and into all phases of peace processes. This will require appropriate tools such as guidelines and training programmes. In this regard the European Union is happy to note, that the DPKO is developing concrete tools to help mainstream gender perspectives into the daily work of all mission components. With this in mind, the European Union looks forward to receiving the long awaited Handbook on Multidimensional Peacekeeping Operations with a chapter on Gender Mainstreaming.
Secondly, we would like to reiterate our support for the establishment of gender offices or focal points in all field missions and that they be provided with the necessary support. This support would also mean proper back-stopping in the DPKO with the establishment of a focal point on gender issues as has been recommended by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. We would therefore urge the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps to ensure the establishment of this gender capacity in DPKO.
Thirdly, we regret the continued lack of gender balance in all aspects of peace operations but we note with appreciation that the Secretary-General will make an even more determined effort to increase the appointment of women at the Special Representative and Deputy Special Representative level. The member states of the EU will continue to provide the Secretary-General with qualified female candidates to serve in such positions.
Fourthly and finally, the findings of the report with regard to the inclusion of women, girls and child soldiers in the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration programmes are important lessons learned. They need to be considered carefully in all future missions where DDR-programmes are to be developed and implemented.
In the view of the European Union there is one less positive point in the report. That is the lack of reference to the Secretary-Generals Bulletin on Observance of International Humanitarian Law. The bulletin includes some valid gender paragraphs and we believe that all UN-mandated military operations should operate in accordance with this bulletin.
In our meeting in July I provided information on an EU-Latin America Conference on Women in Peace Operations. The conference is to take place in Chile in early November and include key players from Latin America and EU countries. The Report of the Secretary-General and the considerations of the Security Council will undoubtedly be subject for extensive discussions with a focus on the implementation part of the report.
Mr. President, this leads me to my final point. We will all be looking for guidance on the way forward in the Report of Secretary-General and in the recommendations of the Security Council. But the full and equal participation of women in peace processes are the responsibility of many more: that is the member states, the United Nations System, NGO`s, civil society and others. The European Union and its member states look forward to do our part. We hope that the Security Council will carefully consider the recommendations made by the Secretary-General in order to protect women in crisis situations and to enhance their role in peace processes.
Thank you, Mr. President.