A United Nations forum on the importance of women's participation in sustainable peace-building has been co-hosted by Australia in New York.
initiative at UN
Coming during the month of Australia’s Presidency of the United Nations Security Council, the forum brought together members of the Council and the UN Peace-building Commission with women who have led peace-building efforts, and broader representatives of civil society.
The forum was co-hosted by the Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Working Group for Women, Peace and Security and chaired by Australia's Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, Penny Williams.
Ms Williams said women were drivers of change in their communities; were at the fore of maintaining families and communities during conflict and leading grassroots efforts to rebuild social and economic structures in the aftermath of conflict.
"Engaging women directly in peace processes and the design of post-conflict strategies is often the best way to prevent a relapse into violence. Harnessing their insights and potential is critical to achieving long-term stability and economic development," Ms Williams said.
She said the event also launched Women Building Peace, a publication from the London-based NGO, Conciliation Resources that draws together first-hand accounts of women's peace-building experiences in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Papua New Guinea (Bougainville), Northern Ireland, Angola, Sudan, Indonesia (Aceh) and Somalia.
“Australia will develop a number of practical recommendations from this event for the Security Council and Peace-building Commission to consider in their work,” Ms Williams said.
She said that since starting on the Security Council in January, Australia had worked closely with other members to highlight the importance of protecting women from sexual violence in armed conflict and to ensure the mandates of the new peacekeeping mission in Mali and the UN political mission in Somalia took appropriate account of women, peace and security.
Edition 378, 10 September 2013