Why Hillary Clinton is at the UN Today

The Security Council today is celebrating the 10th anniversary of a landmark resolution on the importance of integrating women and gender perspectives in the UN’s peace and security efforts. Resolution 1325 was passed on October 31 2000, and since then there has been a concerted effort to give women a greater role in peace and security and incorporate gender specific issues to UN peacekeeping, conflict mediation and peace building efforts.

A very visible example of these efforts are the all-female police units that the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations have deployed to various missions.  (When I was in Liberia in 2008, heavily armed Indian Police-women were a near ubiquitous site.)

There are a number of less visible examples, including that nearly every report to that a UN official delivers to the Security Council these days contains a section specific to gender and what the UN is doing to address problems like sexual violence.   This has been a top priority for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the United Nations.  In 2008, Clinton led a Security Council session that officially recognized rape as a war crime. Today, she will address the Council again for the anniversary.  (I believe she will be the only “Foreign Minister” to do so).

1325 has galvanized much of the UN bureaucracy and also, apparently, the United states senate as well. In advance of today’s security council session, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a report, “UN Resolution 1325: More Action Needed,” which urges the UN and its member states to strengthen the resolution.

I will post updates during the meting.  In the meantime, the Security Council session is scheduled to being at 10 am in New York. You can follow the action here.
UPDATE: CARE International says “The original idea behind UNSC 1325 –involving women in peace building–has gained little traction.”  According to a new CARE-International report, only one in 40 signatories of peace deals signed in the last decade were women.

UPDATE II:  Hillary Clinton’s remarks as delivered:

Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the 10th
Anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and

Thank you very much, First Deputy Prime Minister, and I want to thank
you and the Government of Uganda in its role as Council President for
convening this important meeting on the occasion of the 10th
anniversary.  This gives member states, as well as NGOs, an invaluable
opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved over the past decade,
but more importantly, to look very honestly at what remains to be done
to fulfill the promise we made to women a decade ago.  We promised that
women would be treated as agents of peace and reconciliation, not just
as victims of war and violence.

I would like to thank Secretary General Ban for his leadership.  He has
defined a vision for women’s empowerment and protection that is guiding
this organization, and he is helping to build the institutions that can
advance our collective mission.

And we are very fortunate to have with us today the UN
Under-Secretary-General Michelle Bachelet, the first head of UN Women.
I am delighted by her appointment and very grateful for her commitment
and the excellent presentation that she has already delivered.  I also
want to recognize Special Representative of the Secretary General
Wallstrom, who is working very hard and needs the support of all of us
to implement Resolution 1888 concerning sexual and gender violence.
These women are both dedicated advocates for women’s rights and
participation.  And I also want to thank Under Secretary General Le Roy,
whose Department of Peacekeeping Operations has taken groundbreaking
steps to implement Resolution 1325.  Thank you for increasing protection
measures for vulnerable women and children and for integrating gender
advisors into all missions.

And finally, I would like to honor our colleagues in civil society, many
of whom are on the frontlines – literally on the battle lines – in the
fight for gender equality in conflict zones around the world.  Thanks in
particular to Bineta Diop and Mary Robinson, co-chairs of the UN Civil
Society Advisory Group for Women, Peace and Security, who have been
tireless advocates for peace and for women’s inclusion.

So here we are at the 10th anniversary of the UN Security Council
Resolution 1325, and we’re here to reaffirm the goals set forth in this
historic resolution, but more than that, to put forth specific actions,
as my colleague, the foreign minister of Austria, just did in such a
commendable set of proposals.  The only way to achieve our goals – to
reduce the number of conflicts around the world, to eliminate rape as a
weapon of war, to combat the culture of impunity for sexual violence, to
build sustainable peace – is to draw on the full contributions of both
women and men in every aspect of peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peace

Now, women’s participation in these activities is not a “nice thing to
do.”  It’s not as though we are doing a favor for ourselves and them by
including women in the work of peace.  This is a necessary global
security imperative.  Including women in the work of peace advances our
national security interests, promotes political stability, economic
growth, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Just as
in the economic sphere, we cannot exclude the talents of half the
population, neither when it comes to matters of life and death can we
afford to ignore, marginalize, and dismiss the very direct contributions
that women can and have made.

President Obama’s National Security Strategy recognizes that “countries
are more peaceful and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal
rights and opportunity.  When those rights and opportunities are denied,
countries lag behind.”  Well, it is also true when it comes to issues of
human security – accountability for sexual violence, trafficking of
women and girls, and all of the other characteristics of stable,
thriving societies that provide maternal and child healthcare,
education, and so much else.

Now, in defense, diplomacy, and development, which we consider the three
pillars of our foreign policy, we are putting women front and center,
not merely as beneficiaries of our efforts but as agents of peace,
reconciliation, economic growth, and stability.

In Afghanistan, for example, our diplomatic efforts have been rooted in
the notion that respect for the rights of women, as protected in the
Afghan constitution, is an essential element of democracy and stability.
The United States has backed women’s inclusion at all levels, including
in the recently formed High Peace Council, because we believe the
potential for sustainable peace will be subverted if women are silenced
or marginalized.

Our military has also begun to play an active role.  In Namibia, for
example, the U.S. military helped train nearly 600 peacekeepers on
women’s issues who were then deployed to Chad.  This type of
military-to-military engagement helps ensure that soldiers understand
their obligation to protect women and girls in conflict areas and
receive the training to know how to do that.

From Nepal to Guatemala to Uganda, our development agency, USAID, is
promoting women’s roles in politics, supporting their participation in
local peace committees, and helping develop plans to implement 1325.  In
fact, in the future, every USAID project to prevent or manage conflict
will study its effect on women and will include them in the planning and

But the United States and none of the member states can do this work
alone.  We need the international community.  We certainly need
organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross, which
trains women to treat landmine victims in Afghanistan, and the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees, which works with men and boys to promote
support for women’s rights, and the UN itself, which is building up new
capacities to combat sexual violence.  These and other partners are
absolutely essential to fulfilling the promise of 1325.

There is no starker reminder of the work still ahead of us than the
horrific mass rapes in Democratic Republic of Congo last summer.  Those
rapes and our failure as an international community to bring that
conflict to an end and to protect women and children in the process
stands as a tragic rebuke to our efforts thus far.  And we all must do
more and we must think creatively.  And yes, we may have to challenge
some conventional wisdom about how best to end the impunity of those who
not only conduct these horrible violations of human rights, but those
who permit them to do so.

While visiting Goma last year, I pledged $17 million to help prevent and
respond to sexual and gender-based violence.  This money is now flowing
to provide medical and legal services for survivors.  In addition, the
U.S. military’s Africa Command has trained a battalion of Congolese
soldiers to work to prevent sexual violence, help victims and prosecute
perpetrators.  We know that that is still not happening, and we know
that, unfortunately, there is not yet the will, either in DRC itself or
in the UN or in the international community, to help bring about an end
to impunity.

Looking ahead, I am pleased to announce two important steps the U.S. is
taking to advance the goals of Resolution 1325.  First, the United
States will commit nearly $44 million to a set of initiatives designed
to empower women.  The largest portion, about 17 million, will support
civil society groups that focus on women in Afghanistan.  The women in
Afghanistan are rightly worried that in the very legitimate search for
peace their rights will be sacrificed.  And I have personally stated,
and I state again here in the Security Council, none of us can permit
that to happen.  No peace that sacrifices women’s rights is a peace we
can afford to support.

Fourteen million dollars will also go to nongovernmental organizations
working to make clean water more available in conflict zones, because in
these areas, when women and girls go looking for water they are at
higher risk of being attacked.  Similarly, I had the honor of announcing
the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves last month – another initiative
that by our support can protect women who will not have to go out
seeking firewood or other forms of fuel if we can revolutionize the way
they’re able to cook food for their families.

Another 1.7 million will help fund UN activities, including Special
Representative Wallstrom’s office, and 11 million will help expand
literacy, job training, and maternal health services for refugee women
and girls.

In addition to this new funding, our second step will be to develop our
own National Action Plan to accelerate the implementation of Resolution
1325 across our government and with our partners in civil society.  And
to measure progress on our plan, we will adopt the indicators laid out
in the Secretary General’s report.  We will measure whether women are
effectively represented in the full range of peace-building and
reconstruction efforts; whether they are protected against sexual
violence; and whether they are the focus of conflict prevention, relief
and reconciliation efforts.  Measuring our progress will help ourselves
be held accountable and identify those areas where we need to do more.

Now, the National Action Plan and the new funding I’ve announced are two
important steps, and we will pursue them with total commitment.  But as
several have already said:  Action plans and funding are only steps
toward a larger goal.

The presidential statement that we hope will be adopted calls for
another stock-taking in five years.  But we better have more to report
and we better have accomplished more between now and then, otherwise,
there will be those who will lose faith in our international capacity to
respond to such an overwhelming need – because, ultimately, we measure
our progress by the improvements in the daily lives of people around the
world.  That must be our cause and empowering women to contribute all
their talents to this cause is our calling.

And I thank the member states and the NGOs and others represented here
for joining us in this mission.