EXCERPTS: Ambassador Chowdhury at the Peace Fair

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 20:00
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Initiative Type: 

Excerpts from Speech of Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury at the Peace Fair Commemmorating the 10th Anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325
on Women, Peace & Security. NY THE FULL SPEECH IS ATTACHED. Ambassador Chowdhury was President of the UN Security Council at the time UN SC Res 1325
was considered, and was very instrumental in its passage.

.....A fair is generally for fun and fanfare. But this one is more for fairness, justice and equality for women! That is something that the UNSCR 1325 aims to assert and achieve on a continuing basis.

The International Women's Day in 2000 has been an extraordinary day for me and will be so for the rest of my life. It is a landmark day for the humanity as well. That day, after intense stone-walling it was possible for me, as the President of the UN Security Council to issue a statement that formally brought to global attention the unrecognized, under-utilized and under-valued contribution women have been making to preventing war, to building peace and to engaging individuals and societies live in harmony.

Amazing that in ten years just four numerals – 1-3-2-5 – have generated a global enthusiasm that is unprecedented in many ways. Adoption of 1325 opened a much-awaited door of opportunity for women who have shown time and again that they bring a qualitative improvement in structuring peace and in post-conflict architecture.

To me and many others, the key element of 1325 is participation in which women can contribute to decision-making and ultimately help shape societies where violence against women is not the norm.

However, the historic and operational value of the resolution has been undercut by the disappointing record of its implementation. The complicity of the Security Council in international practices that make women insecure, basically as a result of its support of the existing militarized inter-state security arrangements, is disappointing.

We need to look ahead bearing in mind that progress has been minimal.

UN has to take the lead in the implementation. Secretary-General has to lead the UN in taking that lead. Many of us wonder where does 1325 belong to in the UN system – which secretariat entity has the coordinating responsibility for that? Some member states claim that the mandate of UN Women does not include 1325. May be Michelle Bachelet feels the same way otherwise we would seen her here at the opening of the most vibrant and substantive civil society event for the tenth anniversary.

Please remember that governments of developing countries, particularly of the most vulnerable and the poorest, would not move unless there is an international support and encouragement. That should come from the UN – with UN Resident Coordinators who represent the UN and the SG at the national level taking the initiative to energize the national leadership. The much-needed letter from the SG to Resident Coordinators is still mired in the UN bureaucracy.

UN can take a lesson from Hillary Clinton's directive to all the US Ambassadors abroad regarding 1325!

If nicely and smartly written reports of the UN could advance the implementation of 1325, we would have been celebrating today!!

Reporting every year even the latest one of 28 September issued on the occasion of the tenth anniversary has the same refrain – progress has been made, but much more remains to be done. It would be helpful if we are told what is the rate of progress during each of these ten years – 10%? 20%?

Paragraph after paragraph outline what could not be done. This is a gross failure of the secretariat and on the part of member states most of whom are blissfully unaware or indifferent to what is happening on 1325 in real terms.

As we are in the grip of the tenth anniversary, the international community's commitment for 2011 is crucial. Anniversaries are good to lift the spirit and energize us. But our work and advocacy should be for every day – never to give up. Ten years of expectation and exasperation has to end!! Time to act was yesterday!!!

Let me end by asserting that 1325 belongs to humanity – it is owned by us all – it was intended to be so since March 2000 when the conceptual breakthrough was made. Therefore, with the commitment of my lifetime, with the confidence that you have reposed in me and with the credibility that I have over the years, today on the occasion of the tenth anniversary, I have the honor to declare “1325 a common heritage of humanity” wherein the global objectives of peace, equality and development are reflected in a uniquely historic, universal document of the United Nations!!!