Tuesday, March 23, 2004


Compromising Women's Equal Participation in Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution and in Post-Conflict Peace-Building: A Review of the Language Negotiations and Agreed Conclusions of the 48th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
PeaceWomen Project, WILPF UN Office
March 2004

On 12 March 2004, the UN Commission on the Status of Women (Commission) adopted its Agreed Conclusions on women's equal participation in conflict prevention, management and resolution and post-conflict peace-building, concluding its two week-long 48th Session (1-12 March 2004). This marked the first time, since the adoption of UNSC Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security in 2000, that the Commission has treated the issue of women's equal participation in, what the UN still considers the ‘hard', as opposed to ‘soft', aspects of peace and security, namely, peace negotiation and agreement processes, electoral processes, disarmament and security sector reform. While in the past four years, the UN, international community and some governments have started to take seriously the growing and vocal constituency committed to, as well as the body of work on, women's participation in these aspects of peace and security, the governmental members of the Commission proved during the 48th Session that the Commission on the Status of Women is ill-equipped to take a leading role in, or even respond to, the growing movement to achieve women's full and equal participation in armed conflict prevention and resolution.

The Commission on the Status of Women is mandated to act as a dynamic and catalytic body, which makes recommendations to the Economic and
Social Council “on urgent problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women's rights with the object of implementing the principle that men and women shall have equal rights, and to develop proposals to give effect to such recommendations.” Yet, the composition of the Commission's membership, the governmental groups that participated in the negotiations, and the Commission's work toward a consensus-based, negotiated text, prevented it, as in previous sessions, from effectively fulfilling this mandate.

Firstly, the language negotiations, deteriorated into a political game between individual governments and governmental blocs, characterized by a disregard for the international law framework, forcing the discussion away from the pending and emerging concerns under the theme, toward the political desires of the capitols of the Commission members. The two major divides upon which the negotiations were based were between Western Europe and Others Group, or WEOG, and the G-77 Group, and the US and all other Commission members.

Another barrier to fulfilling CSW's mandate was the lack of transparency that came to characterise the language negotiations during the final week, through the use of ‘informal informals.' The use of ‘informal informals' was a response to the slow pace of formal negotiations and the inability of Botswana, the regional Bureau member for Africa, who led the language negotiations, to effectively facilitate the discussions on the sections of contentious language. It was under the leadership of Botswana that the language negotiations moved out of the informal consultation sessions held in Conference Room 2 into the ‘informal informals,' held in the back of a nearby conference room and across the street in a UN meeting room until late at night. One illustration of the impact of ‘informal informals' on the final content of the outcome document was the deletion of language on ‘codes of conduct' for peacekeeping and humanitarian staff. With no prior warning in the informal consultations that ‘codes of conduct' was in danger of being eliminated from the document altogether, the issue was taken into ‘informal informals'- accessible only to the governmental negotiators- on Thursday night of the second, and final, week. Despite the inclusion of language on ‘codes of conduct' in the Agreed Conclusions of the 42nd Session in 1998, not to mention its recognition by the Secretary-General as a priority area of concern, the Agreed Conclusions were adopted without any recognition of this important issue.

For NGOs, this reliance on the ‘informal informals' was a significant challenge, as it meant we were unable to monitor the negotiations, and thus, were unaware of the language changes taking place and unable to proactively respond at the time.

When Holding Ground is Progress: Language Content in the Agreed Conclusions

Despite the concrete recommendations - including actor-specific actions, time-bound targets, quotas, and mechanisms for monitoring and reporting on the recommendations - made by the participants in the Expert Group Meetings on peace agreements and electoral processes and the Secretary-General, the 45 members of the Commission did not accept or even develop this non-agreed language. Nor was there recognition and use of the large body of existing language that provides the foundation for these negotiations, such as the Agreed Conclusions from the 42nd Session of the Commission in 1998, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol, and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, to name a few. In addition, the Commission members failed to incorporate and thus acknowledge salient, critical and burgeoning issues within the theme of women's equal participation.

One of these critical issues that the Commission failed to address, despite NGO advocacy on the issue, is the inclusion of language on the full and equal participation of internally displaced, refugee and returnee women, thus disreqarding an expanding body of existing language on the protection and participation of internally displaced, refugee and returnee women in peace-building processes. The Agreed Conclusions of the 42nd Session in 1998, adopted language both on protection and participation of refugee and internally displaced women. In addition, since 1998, multiple sets of guidelines have been formulated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights on the protection and participation of refugee and internally displaced women, and both the Secretary-General's study and report and the UNIFEM Independent Experts' Assessment have provided recommendations on these same issues. Furthermore, the Commission members, as members of the 58th Session of the General Assembly (2003) adopted resolution A/C.3/58/L.57 on the protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons, which includes UNSC Resolution 1325 in its operative paragraph 4.

Governments weakened the Agreed Conclusions through their failure to incorporate implementation-focused language and critical issues, but their failure to agree on a number of highly contentious issues threatened to obstruct consensus on the final Agreed Conclusions entirely. Four issues, that proved to be among the most contentious during the language negotiations, were: reaffirmation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325; the provision of resources and funding; and the identification of actors responsible for carrying out the recommendations made in the Agreed Conclusions…

For the full analysis (with footnotes), including a set of recommendations for the work of NGO and civil society, UN and governmental actors, in light of the 48th Session of the CSW, the Agreed Conclusions and the background documents, CLICK HERE.

For the Agreed Conclusions, CLICK HERE.

For the four drafts of NGO recommendations on the draft Agreed Conclusions, CLICK HERE.

For more information about the 48th session, CLICK HERE.

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March 12, 2004 -(CSW Press Release) The Commission on the Status of Women concluded its forty-eighth session this afternoon with the adoption of agreed conclusions on the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality for women –- one of the main themes of the session.

March 11, 2004 – (WeNews) Delegates to the United Nations' 48th conference on the status of women, which ends Saturday, have been finding some signs of progress on the perennial issues of the rights of women to education, healthcare and property ownership. But when it came to warfare, they made it clear that there is still a long way to go.

Note: The article incorrectly names CSW the “conference on the status of women,” and refers to “only” 31 translations of 1325, when there were 35 translations available during the writing of this article.

March 10, 2004 – (UN News Service) Indigenous women, so often caught in the crossfire, must be integrated into their countries' decision-making so they can reclaim their right to make informed choices about their lives in times of peace or war, United Nations experts told a panel discussion in New York today.

March 5, 2004 - (IPS) As the world prepares to mark International Women's Day, the United Nations is warning that women continue to play little or no role in post-conflict peace building -- be that in Afghanistan, Iraq, Northern Ireland, Liberia or Sierra Leone.

March 2, 2004 – (UN Wire) Achieving gender equality is critical to cutting down on poverty and meeting other Millennium Development Goals, top U.N. officials told a Commission on the Status of Women meeting in New York yesterday.

For additional news articles about the CSW, visit our International News Index

General Women, Peace and Security News
For more country-specific women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE.

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During the 2 weeks of the CSW, a number of NGOs, including the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, Canadian Voices of Women for Peace, the Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD), and the WILPF UN Office, worked together to produce and circulate an NGO newsletter entitled “The World of Women.”

The four issues of the newsletter that were produced included a report from the NGO Consultation on 29 March, NGO statements made during the General Debate, reports from NGO side events and highlights of NGO thematic and regional caucus meetings.

Strong, Solid, Savvy: NGO Recommendations to the CSW
Issue #1, 3 March 2004

Protection, Participation, Prevention: Constituent Advocacy at CSW – The Caucuses
Issue #2, 5 March 2004

International Women's Day: HIV/AIDS, Women and Girls
Issue #3, 9 March 2004

Negotiating Language, Forgetting the Point?
Issue #4, 12 March 2004

For the 4 issues of the newsletter, listed above - in both html and PDF format - CLICK HERE.

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The NGO Committee on the Status of Women Taskforce on Women's Equal Participation to Achieve Peace and Security prepared an NGO Advocacy Toolbox to serve as a helpful resource for NGOs participating in the CSW on Theme #2, as well as to serve as a foundation that could be built upon to create a more effective toolbox for NGOs' work on women, peace and security issues continuing beyond CSW.

The Toolbox contained, among other documents:

- CSW Orientation PowerPoint
Prepared by Vina Nadjibulla, Methodist-UN Office, for the 48th Session of the CSW

- Important Roles and Responsibilities of the Members of the CSW, 48th Session
The NGO Committee on the Status of Women Taskforce on Women's Equal Participation to Achieve Peace and Security

- Members of the Commission on the Status of Women: Contact Information

- Existing Language Compendium on Women's Equal Participation to Achieve Peace and Security
The NGO Committee on the Status of Women Taskforce on Women's Equal Participation to Achieve Peace and Security

- Questions and Answers About Resolution 1325
Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, Sweden

- Moving UNSC 1325 Forward: Some Advocacy Ideas
Compiled by the PeaceWomen Project

- The UN Department for Disarmament Affairs Gender Mainstreaming Action Plan and the Issue of Women's Equitable Participation
Department for Disarmament Affairs (DDA)

- Resources on Women, Armed Conflict and the Peace Process
Available through and compiled by Women, Ink., a project of the International Women's Tribune Center

The Toolbox and its documents were initially circulated at the NGO Consultation, were made available at different 1325-related events, and were also available throughout the 2 weeks of CSW in the WILPF UN Office, which served as a women, peace and security NGO Resource Room to complement the UN's CSW NGO Resource Room.

For an online version of the NGO Toolbox, CLICK HERE.

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While discussions on Resolution 1325 took place throughout the two weeks of CSW, it was the specific focus of a number of events, three of which are highlighted below:

1325 on Trial: A Tribunal Investigating the Implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325
Women's National Commission, UK
3 March 2004

The Women's National Commission (UK) hosted an event entitled “1325 on Trial” to examine the implementation of 1325. Modeled on the format of a tribunal, the audience heard from Ms. Isha Dyfan of the International Women's Tribune Center, as judge, Ambassador Hattie Babbitt of the Hunt Alternatives Fund/Women Waging Peace as counsel ‘prosecuting' Resolution 1325, Canadian Senator Mobina Jaffer, Chair of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security, as counsel ‘defending' Resolution 1325, and the testimonies of six women witnesses:

Noeleen Heyzer, the Executive Director of UNIFEM
Lily Thapa, Women for Human Rights in Nepal
Patricia Guerrero, the League of Displaced Women, Colombia
Kerstin Grebäck, the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, Sweden
Sanam Anderlini, Women Waging Peace, USA
Zaineb al-Suwaij, the Iraqi Women's High Council

The audience voted resoundingly against SC 1325, agreeing that it has not been well implemented. Judge Dyfan then concluded the tribunal with her “sentencing” – a series of recommendations for next steps.

A report on this event was included in the 3rd issue of the NGO Newsletter.

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Resolution 1325: Moving Forward – A Brainstorm Session
NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (New York) and the NGO Working Group on Peace (Geneva)
10 March 2004

The NGO Working Group on Peace (Geneva) and the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (New York) hosted a brainstorming session on 10 March 2004 entitled UN Security Council Resolution 1325: Moving Forward. Over 60 people attended the session, including representatives of UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who participated in the 48th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), held at UN Headquarters in New York.

The brainstorming session brought together a range of individuals and constituencies to generate targeted actions/strategies to advance Resolution 1325. After developing a sizeable list of recommendations, participants identified seven priority actions they will take during 2004-2005, three of which are listed below:


1. Encourage governments to respond to the UN questionnaire on implementation of 1325 (from the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, UN Secretariat) for the Report of the Secretary-General on women, peace and security (October 2004) and to consult civil society, and in particular, women's groups, in drafting their responses.

2. Produce “alternative” reports on what governments have and have not done to implement Resolution 1325 to coincide with the Report of the Secretary-General on women, peace and security (October 2004) and the review and appraisal of the Beijing Platform for Action (+10) in 2005.

3. Develop community-based and country-specific advocacy tools for the implementation of 1325. Use the model of existing advocacy tools, such as those developed by the Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group of the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee, and the PeaceWomen Project of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, UN Office.
**The PeaceWomen Project has compiled a list of 1325 advocacy and education tools, including fliers, brochures, as well as PowerPoint presentations that can be downloaded.

The above report, entitled “Advancing UNSC Resolution 1325: Priority Actions as Determined During the Commission on the Status of Women, 48th Session,” with the full list of priority actions, is available HERE (word document).

The full list of recommendations made during the brainstorm session will be available shortly at: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/ngo/events.html

A report on this event was included in the 4th issue of the NGO Newsletter.

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Training on Resolution 1325
International Women's Tribune Center, Femmes Africa Solidarite, International Alert and Isis-WICCE
11 March 2004

IWTC, FAS, IA and Isis-WICCE organized a 4-hour training on Resolution 1325 for African women participating at CSW, though others were also welcome and participated. The African women came from, among other countries, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Uganda.

The training included: an overview of the historical background to Resolution 1325, an explanation of the legal basis and meaning of the resolution, case studies from Burundi and DRC; and a discussion of the importance of documentation of women's experiences of armed conflict, as part of the larger discussion of women's advocacy strategies.

A detailed account of this training, including the many questions and issues raised by participants, will be made available shortly by IWTC in their Women's GlobalNet newsletter at: http://www.iwtc.org/ (See Resources - Women's GlobalNet).

There were approximately 170 side events that took place during the two weeks of CSW. To view the side events calendar, produced by the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), visit: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/48sess/SideEventsCalendar.PDF

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General Debate, CSW, 1-5 March 2004

During the first week of CSW, governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including the thematic and regional caucuses established by NGOs during the CSW, were given the opportunity to present statements on the issues before the CSW. Due to the thematic focus on “women's equal participation in conflict prevention, management and conflict resolution and in post-conflict peace-building,” many statements referred to Resolution 1325, in varying degrees of detail, reflecting varying degrees of interest and commitment.

UNIFEM produced a compilation of references made to Resolution 1325 during the General Debate, which we have built on further to include NGO statements. To view this compilation, CLICK HERE.

For all governmental, UN and NGO statements, made during the General Debate, CLICK HERE.
For NGO and civil society reports, papers and statements, UN and government reports, and books, journals and articles on women, peace and security issues, CLICK HERE.

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Letter to the Secretary-General Concerning the Appointment of a New Special Advisor on Gender Issues
12 March 2004

Many women's organizations participating at CSW voiced concern about the procedure and timeline for appointing a new Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, to replace Ms. Angela King. In response to this collective concern, a number of women's organizations, in collaboration with the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, have written and delivered a letter to the Secretary-General requesting a meeting to discuss this issue.

Mr. Secretary-General:

We, representatives of women's organizations and members of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, would like to request a meeting with you to discuss the procedure and timeline for appointing a new Assistant Secretary-General, the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women. Over the years, we have worked with and supported the United Nations leadership on gender equality, and in particular, Ms. Angela King, her office staff, the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality and the Network's taskforces.

This week, during the 48th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, we joined with other participants in the NGO linkage caucus- a regularly convened body for strategy-building and information-sharing among CSW participants- to discuss the significance of OSAGI and the roles and mandate of the Special Adviser. As women from around the world brought vision and commitment to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and, collectively, played a critical role in the creation of the position of the Special Adviser, we look forward to the opportunity to share our concerns and expectations about this very critical leadership role on behalf of gender equality at the United Nations.

For the full letter, CLICK HERE.

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Letter to the Bureau and Members of CSW Concerning Deletion of the “Code of Conduct” Language from the Agreed Conclusions
19 March 2004

Many NGOs who followed the language negotiations on Theme #2 were shocked to find that the language on “codes of conduct” for peacekeeping and humanitarian staff, present in all earlier drafts of the Agreed Conclusions, was removed in the final hours before the Agreed Conclusions were adopted during ‘informal informals.' The use of ‘informal informals,' which came to characterize the language negotiations during the final week, excluded NGOs from monitoring and thus having the opportunity to proactively respond to new language developments. In response, the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security has sent the following letter to the Bureau and members of the CSW:

Dear Bureau and members of the Commission on the Status of Women,

The member organizations of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, as part of our work to promote implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325, recognized the 48th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the Agreed Conclusions outcome document on women's equal participation in conflict prevention, management, resolution and post-conflict peace-building, as an opportunity to advance the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325.

We would therefore like to express our concern regarding the deletion of the language on “code of conduct” for peacekeeping and humanitarian staff, from the final Agreed Conclusions, adopted by the Commission on 12 March 2004. Given the provisions on gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations in UNSC Resolution 1325, the absence of the language on “code of conduct,” for peacekeepers and humanitarian staff in the final Agreed Conclusions is a reflection of the weakness of the Agreed Conclusions as a whole.

For the full letter, CLICK HERE.

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Since our last update on PeaceWomen's 1325 Translation Initiative, we have received translations of 1325 in Somali, Burmese, Haitian Creole, and most recently, Italian.

PeaceWomen is also pleased to announce that we will soon be receiving translations in Croatian and Nepali.

Visibility of 1325 Translation Initiative Raised During CSW

In many of the discussions that took place at CSW concerning the barriers to implementation of Resolution 1325, many participants – civil society organizations as well as governments – remarked on the lack of available translations of the resolution. In response, and in order to raise awareness about the translation initiative, the PeaceWomen team posted the available translations outside of Conference Room B, the principal NGO Resource Room, for the two weeks of CSW.

In response to the display, the PeaceWomen team was approached by the Chief of the Russian Language Unit of the Radio Section, News and Media Division of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), for a brief 4-minute interview to discuss the translation initiative. This interview will be shared by the Russian Language Unit with the other five Language Units. Though no information was given about when the interview will be aired, it will be available at: http://www.un.org/russian/av/radio/latenews.htm

Haitian Creole Translation of 1325 in the UN Needs' Assessment Mission

The Haitian Creole translation of 1325 was received in time to be taken by the Gender Advisor Team of the UN Needs' Assessment Mission, which left for Haiti 13 March. We look forward to hearing about the work of the Assessment Mission as regards Resolution 1325, upon their return at the end of March.

To view the available translations online, CLICK HERE.

If you know of existing translations or potential translators, please contact sarah@peacewomen.org.

If you would like copies of the translations but do not have web access, call our office at (212) 682-1265 and we will be happy to send you the translations you request.

The PeaceWomen is a project of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

Previous issues of 1325 PeaceWomen E-News can be found at: http://www.peacewomen.org/news/1325News/1325ENewsindex.html.

At this time 1325 PeaceWomen E-News is only available in English. The PeaceWomen Team hopes to translate the newsletter into French and Spanish in the future. If you would not like to receive the English newsletter but would like to be placed on a list when translation is possible, please write to: 1325news@peacewomen.org.

To unsubscribe from the 1325 PeaceWomen News, send an email to 1325news@peacewomen.org with "unsubscribe" as the subject heading.

Questions, concerns and comments can be sent to 1325news@peacewomen.org. 1325 E-News and other submissions should be directed to 1325news@peacewomen.org.


1. Commission on the Status of Women 48th Session: Reflections on the Language Negotiations and Content of the Agreed Conclusions Outcome Document
2. Media Coverage of the Commission on the Status of Women
3. CSW NGO Newsletter
4. CSW NGO Advocacy Toolbox
5. NGO Side Events on Resolution 1325
6. CSW Statements on Resolution 1325
7. CSW and Post-CSW Initiatives: Letters to the Secretary-General and Commission on the Status of Women
8. 1325 Translation Initiative: Translations in Burmese, Haitian Creole, Italian and Somali Now Available