Statement by Mr. Andreas Riecken Chargé d’affaires a.i. Deputy Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations
Security Council Open Debate on Women and Peace and Security
New York, 28 October 2011
Madame President, Excellencies, distinguished participants,
Last year’s debate on the 10th anniversary of the adoption of landmark SC resolution 1325 under the Presidency of Uganda significantly contributed to focus member states’ commitment and to gain momentum for an enhanced implementation of this resolution at the national, regional and international level. However, Madame President, as your concept note rightly points out, many gaps and challenges remain on the road to translating words into action and ensuring full participation of women in all stages of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Therefore, we would like to thank Nigeria for giving us the opportunity to consider concrete steps and for its efforts resulting in the Presidential Statement before the Council. Let me also thank the Secretary- General as well as Under-Secretary-General Bachelet for both their briefings today and their commitment to the women, peace and security agenda.
Austria aligns herself with the statement to be made on behalf of the EU.
The topic of our debate is a very timely one. Today we should acknowledge the important contribution made by women in the Arab world to bring about political transformation, and the decisive role they have played and continue to play in the quest for democracy, transparent political systems, the rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights. It is difficult to imagine the achievements of the “Arab spring” in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya without the active participation of women and young people and it is difficult to imagine a successful and inclusive democratic transformation process without their active participation.
The effective representation and full involvement of women in peace processes, in transitional governments and in political live is a pre-requisite for their specific needs and concerns as well as for their rights to be adequately reflected in state structures, peace agreements, law reform processes, etc. One half of the population cannot claim to represent the other half, but women need to represent themselves.
Of course, efforts at the national level have to go hand in hand with efforts at the international level. The UN and its member states need to further enhance the number of women in peacekeeping operations and political missions, to ensure gender expertise in the planning of missions and in all mediation efforts, as well as to enhance the appointment of women to senior leadership positions. The Secretary-General’s seven point action plan on women’s participation in peacebuilding contains important commitments in this regard and we encourage the UN system to take them forward.
In order to be able to guide and track the implementation of resolution 1325 by the UN system over the next ten years, Austria very much welcomes the strategic framework contained in the latest report of the Secretary-General. The formulation of concrete mediate- and long-term targets is an important step. We are convinced that the comprehensive set of indicators that received the Council’s support at the open debate one year ago is not only essential for monitoring the strategic framework, but should also be used to track efforts at the national level.
We fully support the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s report, including the call for more frequent briefings of the Council by Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, but also relevant Special Representatives of the Secretary- General. Of course, the inclusion of women, peace and security aspects in country-specific reports to the Council, including reporting on attacks on women journalists, women human rights defenders and women in public office, is equally important for providing the Council with the necessary information to act upon.
Madame President, as the Presidential Statement adopted at last year’s debate explicitly invited Member States to report to the Security Council on progress made in their efforts to implement resolution 1325, I would briefly like to update the Council on some of the commitments made by the Austrian Foreign Minister, H.E. Michael Spindelegger, last October:
- Austria has almost finished the revision of its National Action Plan on the implementation of resolution 1325, which will be approved by the Council of Ministers by the end of this year. As for the first National Action Plan of 2007, civil society has closely been involved in these efforts. The revised National Action Plan will be guided by the set of indicators that were presented by the Secretary-General and supported by the Security Council last year.
- Mission gender advisors have been trained and deployment has started to the Balkans. Austria has also followed up on its commitment to provide more adequate training for our "peaceworkers" in the field. Standard training elements on gender have been finalized and their implementation in education and pre-deployment training for our soldiers and civilian personnel will be completed in 2012.
- Austria has also made significant progress on its commitment to incorporate the provisions of the ICC Statute, which classify crimes against women as crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide into its national criminal code.
- Austria has continued its support to UN Women and is currently exploring opportunities for cooperation with partner countries to support the development of a National Action Plan.
Thank you, Madame President.