United Nations on Women, Peace and Security
PIF statement to the United Nations on Women, Peace and Security

26 Oct 2006 21:07:59


I speak on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group who, are based in New York, namely, Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and my own country, Papua New Guinea.

Mr President,

Pacific Islands Forum members continue the important task of implementing Security Council Resolution 1325. This year the Forum Secretariat convened a Pacific Regional Workshop on Gender, Conflict, Peace and Security which emphasized the need to strengthen partnerships between key government portfolios and their respective Ministries, civil society, regional and international organizations, and the donor community. Organized in partnership with UNDP, UNIFEM, AusAID, femLINK Pacific and the International Women's Development Agency, the workshop called for a number of measures including: an annual update on Gender, Peace and Security issues; commissioning of research on gender dimensions of regional conflict and peace processes; development of a database of Pacific women peacemakers; audits of UNSCR 1325 compliance by regional assistance missions and peace agreements; technical assistance to Forum members for national UNSCR 1325 implementation including capacity building on gender awareness; support for women's NGOs working on UNSCR 1325; and improved gendered early warning systems.

These outcomes were subsequently endorsed by the Forum Regional Security Committee and follow-up action has been integrated into the Forum Secretariat's work plan. Other action is progressing. AusAID is funding a program in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Fiji to train key civil and governmental representatives on the importance of UNSCR 1325, and translate UNSCR 1325 into local languages. And we have a number of vibrant women's NGOs in our region working on promoting UNSCR 1325 implementation including femLINK Pacific and the Ecumenical Centre for Research and Advocacy in Fiji, and Vois Bilong Mere in the Solomon Islands.

This progress illustrates what is possible when local and regional initiatives are supported by the international donor community. This was no more apparent than the Women Peace and Security program established by UNIFEM in Melanesia  which established Women, Peace and Security Committees in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji. In addition, UNIFEM piloted a valuable Gendered Early Warning Indicator pilot project in the Solomon Islands in 2005. It is with great regret that some of these projects have ceased or stagnated of late. The analysis undertaken in these countries as part of this initiative continues to be used and built on by development organizations as it provides valuable information for building national strategies and action plans for conflict prevention, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction and more importantly for ensuring that the instrumental role that women can and do play in these processes is recognized and taken into account. Sustainability of funding is vital to ensure the success of all our UNSCR 1325-related programs.

Mr President,

Efforts to implement UNSCR 1325 in the Pacific are part of a long-term commitment. In 2000, the Biketawa Declaration mandated the Pacific Islands Forum to respond to issues of security at a regional level and reiterated the belief in the liberty of the individual under the law; in the equality of rights for all citizens regardless of gender, race, color, creed or political belief; and in the individual's inalienable right to participate by means of a free and democratic political process in framing the society in which he or she lives. Moreover, the landmark Pacific Plan, adopted by Pacific Island Leaders in October 2005, adopted a broad definition of security to include human security as one of four priority goals for the region, and included a crosscutting strategic objective to improve gender equality.

Next year, women from all over the Pacific region including non-Forum countries and territories will come together at the 10th Triennial Conference on Pacific Women and 3rd Ministerial Meeting in Noumea, New Caledonia, to review progress on the Pacific Platform for Action on the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality 2005-2015. In 2004, this gathering of Pacific Ministers, government officials and civil society representatives, recognized Peace and Security as a critical and emerging issue and added it to the Pacific Platform of Action. They called on governments to: promote peace by integrating peace and conflict resolution content into educational programs; implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325; promote peace by integrating traditional methodologies of reconciliation in the peace process; recognize and enhance women's inclusion in early warning systems, conflict prevention peace processes and negotiations and post conflict reconstruction; recognize the need to address the processes of peace and justice in decision-making and conflict resolutions; make use of regional and international organizations to conduct gender sensitivity training for peacekeepers so as to ensure that they are sensitive to issues on the ground; utilize the provisions under the Biketawa Declaration to proactively monitor national security situations with the view to averting potential conflicts and resolving possible conflicts by peaceful means; and develop and finance national disaster mitigation and response plans to protect against loss of life and property in times of natural disasters. The meeting in May 2007 will provide an opportunity for the Pacific's women leaders to review progress toward these goals.

While these processes continue, it is also important to ensure that countries in our region embrace UNSCR 1325 as a framework for the development of national peacekeeping policies, given the reputation of some of our member countries as quality providers of international peace-keeping forces, and the increasing involvement of Forum member countries in regional assistance missions.
Additionally, the recently concluded Summit of our PIF Leaders on Wednesday, 25 October 2006, agreed that greater attention needed to be given to implementing international conventions on human rights (specifically, I note that the Pacific Plan initiative 12.5 specifically refers to UNSCR1325) as essential tools to underpin improvements in institutional governance. Our Leaders also supported the recommendations of the Forum Regional Security Committee and other regional bodies working to enhance regional safety and security, including a focus on broader political and human security issues, and the need to match them with national efforts.

Finally, Mr President, allow me to also take this opportunity to congratulate Fiji on its recent election to the newly formed Peacebuilding Commission, which we trust will provide further impetus to the full implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the Pacific. In this regard, we also welcome the creation of a senior Gender Advisor Position at the peace building support office to ensure that gender is mainstreamed into all aspects of the Peacebuilding Commission's work.

Thank you, Mr President, for organizing this important debate.