The need to engage women in all phases of conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation was highlighted at the closing of a two-day conference held in Sarajevo on 27 and 28 October.
Officials from the OSCE and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights gathered together with government officials, policymakers and civil society actors, as well representatives from local and international organizations to discuss how to improve the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on women, peace and security.
“The important role of women in peace-building has been highlighted by the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. Exclusion of women leads to failure to adequately address the entire population's concerns,” said Fletcher M. Burton, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Gender Issues, Wendy Patten, said: “UNSCR 1325 emphasizes the vital role that women can and must play as deci-sion makers in all phases of conflict resolution, from prevention to crisis management to peace talks to post-conflict reconciliation. All too often, however, women are denied a seat at the table, hampering peace building efforts and leaving women and girls vulnerable to harm during armed conflict. That's why women's full and equal participation in peace and security matters lies at the core of UNSCR 1325”.
OSCE participating States committed to engaging women in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation in Ministerial Council Decision 14/05. The Gender Section of the OSCE Secretariat supports the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in participating States and promotes several initiatives for awareness raising and discussion. However, more than ten years after the adoption of the UNSCR 1325, only 31 countries in the world have developed a National Action Plan to implement the resolution and only 19 of these are OSCE participating States.
“National Action Plans are an important step in formally recognizing and institutionalizing efforts to involve women in conflict resolution and peace efforts,” said Burton.
The conference was organized by the OSCE Gender Section in co-operation with the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and funded by the Governments of Lithuania and Norway.