Speech by the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, (a.i) Claire Media at the National Commemoration of the 17th Anniversary of The United National Security Resolution 1325 On Women, Peace and SecurityNov 8, 2017
· Guest of Honor, The Chair of Malawi Electoral Commission, Justice Dr. Ansah;
· The Chief Director in Ministry of Gender, Disability and Social Welfare, Mrs. Banda,
· Civil Society Task Force, Retired Ambassador Mwiyeriwa,
· Acting Clerk to Cabinet, Mrs. Shema
· Eminent Women, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great honor for me to represent the UN family in Malawi this morning on the anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. I would like to convey special thanks to the Government for organizing this event.
It is now 17 years since the adoption of the Resolution which was considered groundbreaking at the time. It was adopted unanimously by the Security Council and is binding on all Member States. At the global level, annual reports by the UN Secretary General brief the Security Council on the implementation and progress made. Annual events are held at the UN Headquarters and around the world.
Why? Why do we attach such importance to this particular resolution?
Quite simply – and to quote my colleagues from UNWOMEN - because when women lead and participate in peace processes, peace lasts longer. When women are involved in taking decisions, those decisions are more inclusive.
Women are powerful actors in sustaining peace in their communities, and achieving gender equality helps prevent conflict. The UN Security Council debate held just last week on this topic highlighted the importance of gender equality as a reliable indicator for peace.
Amongst other things, 1325 calls for more inclusion of women in all decision-making processes, for a gender perspective in peace negotiations, a respect for International Humanitarian Law as applicable to women and girls; and special measures to protect and respect women and girls’ rights especially those relating to the constitution, the electoral systems, the police and the judiciary.
So, we commemorate this day to remind ourselves of the commitments we have made and to promote women’s leadership roles. It provides opportunity for women to articulate their priorities and to create spaces for women leaders to meet and discuss aspirations. Also, for men to join us to discuss how they can help advance this agenda.
It is also an opportunity to recognise women leaders who are committed to peacebuilding and actively involved in such initiatives. You are leading the way, often in the spotlight, and your role is not always an easy one.
The UN recognizes and appreciates the Government of Malawi’s proactiveness to ensure the domestication of this Resolution. Last year, you gathered together same time, to establish a National Women in Peacebuilding Forum which is now also being rolled out at the Regional level with just yesterday the establishment of the Central Region Women in Peacebuilding Forum. I would like to congratulate those here who have just been elected to this Forum. We hope that these Forums will take initiatives to promote peace and unity in the communities, in collaboration with other actors in this field.
The National Peace Architecture has established District Peace Committees in Karonga, Kasungu and Mangochi districts on a pilot basis, where women are playing an active role as part of the Committees in conflict monitoring, prevention and transformation.
As has been noted by the distinguished speakers before me, the theme for this year’s commemoration in Malawi is “the Role of Women in Peaceful Elections”. This event, then, could not have come at a better time as Malawi prepares for elections in 2019. In recent elections, including in the by-elections earlier this month, Malawi has seen incidences of electoral violence, many involving women - which can discourage women from coming forward as candidates or simply participating in the process. If we accept that women can play a pivotal role in preventing, managing and resolving conflicts in preparation for the upcoming election, so now is the time to encourage women’s involvement, both as candidates and in initiatives which serve to prevent electoral related conflict, and to start preparing for systematic and coordinated conflict prevention approaches – to ensure the elections in 2019 will be held in a peaceful manner.
As we all work towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals for Malawi, we note that Goal 16 that promotes “peaceful and inclusive societies”, and is intrinsically linked with Goal 5 to “Achieve gender equality and empower women and girls”. The United Nations Secretary-General in his report earlier this month, emphasized that women and peace and security are a prerequisite for the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and that 17 years after the adoption of Resolution 1325, inclusive processes should be the rule, not the exception. Part of the domestication of 1325 is the development of National Action Plans. Malawi has started, and needs to finalise this to effectively operationalise the Resolution.
The United Nations in Malawi will continue to support the Government to develop gender sensitive policies and actions, including the National Peace Architecture and integrating gender into electoral processes. Recognizing, however, that these processes, like achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals should be led and owned by Malawians for Malawians.
I sincerely wish to thank you for your presence at this gathering which signifies the importance you attach to the implementation of this resolution, in peace and security, and towards an inclusive Malawi.