Peace and Disarmament
Women, Peace and Security Seminar Held at the United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan
A seminar entitled "Women Making Peace: Where Are We Now? Maximizing the Impact of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, 10 Years On" was co-organized by Global Action to Prevent War, the United Nations University (UNU), SGI and the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (NGOWG), and held at UNU, Tokyo, Japan, on September 8, 2010.
The seminar assessed global progress toward implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325, which calls for increased recognition of and support for the role of women in prevention and resolution of conflict. The event included a morning experts' meeting with 15 participants from UN agencies, NGOs and academia, as well as a public forum attended by 100 people and the launch of a book entitled Promoting Women's Participation in Conflict & Post-Conflict Societies: How women worldwide are making & building peace.
The morning meeting focused on assessing implementation to date, acknowledging some significant successes but overall a lack of real commitment, identifying obstacles to progress--including the need for more accountability within the UN system--and stressing the need for indicators to measure implementation.
Welcoming participants to the afternoon public forum, Ms. Kayo Maeta, Chair of the Soka Gakkai Women's Peace Committee, stressed that 1325 is relevant to building a culture of peace even in a country like Japan that is considered to be peaceful. She quoted from a message to the meeting from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, who stated that "the underlying message of the Resolution is that . . . the viewpoints and voices of women, which to date have not been given adequate attention, must be heeded and reflected in decision-making processes throughout society."
A message from Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the former Executive Director of UNIFEM, who played a key role in the adoption of Resolution 1325, was read. She commented: "today, women are breathing life into 1325. It is not simply a UN document; it is a window to greater protection and promotion of the rights of those who are often the most vulnerable, the most invisible, and who have the greatest stake in peace."
In a panel discussion moderated by UNU Senior Academic Programme Officer Dr. Vesselin Popovski, Robert Zuber, Director of Global Action to Prevent War, gave an overview of the morning experts meeting. Dr. Jasmin N. Galace, Associate Director of the Center for Peace Education at Miriam College in the Philippines, then shared successes in promoting women's participation and creating a National Plan of Action for 1325 in her country.
Sarah Taylor, Executive Coordinator of NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (NGOWG), emphasized that the particular and diverse experiences of women need to be brought into every debate concerning peace and security.
International human rights lawyer Mikiko Otani stressed that it is important to broaden our understanding of 1325 beyond the view that it is only applicable to countries experiencing armed conflict. She also paid tribute to the pioneering work done by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury of Bangladesh, who prepared the ground and created the impetus for Resolution 1325 during his country's presidency of the Security Council in 2000.
Professor Sukehiro Hasegawa of Hosei University, Tokyo, and Former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, also stressed the positive contributions women can make as leaders and empowered participants in civil society.
Participants agreed that the ultimate goal should be to build cultures of peace, where women and men are empowered to speak out and take action to address abuses and resolve disputes wherever they occur.
The seminar also included an introduction of the book Promoting Women's Participation in Conflict & Post-Conflict Societies: How women worldwide are making & building peace, by coauthors Kavitha Suthanthiraraj and Cristina Ayo. A joint production by Global Action to Prevent War, the NGOWG and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the book highlights the contributions of women in peace negotiations, political participation and security sector reform including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities.
Webcast of the event: http://videoportal.unu.edu/583
The book Promoting Women's Participation in Conflict & Post-Conflict Societies: How women worldwide are making & building peace will soon be available in pdf form on Global Action to Prevent War's website at http://www.globalactionpw.org/?p=2165. Mail email@example.com for information on obtaining hard copies of the book.
Message from UNESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer sent to the meeting
Message from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda circulated at the meeting
"Genesis of 1325 - What next after ten years?" Keynote Address by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury given at the United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC, on July 27, 2010, and a paper presented on that occasion on "Doable Fast-Track Indicators for Turning the 1325 Promise into Reality."
[From the SGI Office of Public Information; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]