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Millennium Development Goals – Debate at the House of Lords, November 2012

Wed, Nov 28, 2012

Featured, Human Rights

22nd November 2012

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Baroness Goudie: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Nicholson, for securing this most important debate at a very important time.
We have to ensure-through the UN, which has to agree to this-that all countries have to sign up to the millennium goals. We know that not all have done so. We also know that countries do not have to accept funds set aside for them through the goals. The World Bank has frightening figures showing that certain countries in Africa and Latin America are not taking up money that is available for education. I look to our Prime Minister and the negotiating team to ensure that this issue is addressed. We cannot force people, because that is not done, but we must make sure that there is a mechanism whereby they feel that they can take up the money, but not in a corrupt way.
I should like to consider the issues of natural disasters and conflict, because it is in those areas that health and education are abandoned. We know about the Security Council’s resolution that all women should have an opportunity and a right to be at the peace table and at the table when natural disasters happen. At present, women are not there and are far from being there. They are given just lip service. If women were there and were part of the millennium goals in the areas of conflict and resolution, things would be far different in terms of health and education. If we are not feeding children in the first 1,000 days of their lives, however much money we throw at or put into these countries, it will not help with education. We have to ensure that children get the correct food to enable their brains to grow. We have all seen the pictures of the brains of children of four or more that are not growing properly.
As regards natural disasters, schools are one of the places used for shelter because they are the best built and have the right facilities. However, the schools are then closed because of their use as shelters, and people cannot be educated. Education comes first after health and it is vital that schools are part of the refugee camps we establish following terrible disasters. At present, the schools come later, if they come at all. We cannot make up education. Also, if a child is out of school for a long period in certain countries, they never go back to school. That country then loses GDP and that child ends up working in forced labour. A girl is sold for marriage or for other activities. It is absolutely important to keep education at the front. If we educate a women and she educates her children, their countries will benefit from their achievement of economic, social and political empowerment. There has to be a clearer vision for reducing inequality in education, and that should be a successor to the framework of the millennium goals. A number of Members have already made the other points that I wanted to make.

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Women, Peace and Security – UN Security Council Resolution 1325

Women, Peace and Security 

 

UN Security Council Resolution 1325 was the first of its kind to specifically address the unique impact of conflict on women, and women’s important contributions to conflict resolution and sustainable peace. Passed in 2000, it marked a watershed moment when the international community formally recognized the integral role of women and gender to peace and security. UNSCR 1325 has remained an essential tool for encouraging governments to fulfill their obligations to ensure women are included as agents for peace and security in all processes, and its framework has inspired further action by the UN and civil societies and governments around the world to mainstream gender into their work on conflict resolution.

 

Following UNSCR 1325, subsequent Security Council Resolutions further defined the importance of women’s roles in conflict and peacebuilding. Resolutions 1820, passed in 2008, and 1888, passed in 2009,  recognize sexual violence as an issue of international peace and security and reiterate the need for a comprehensive response to sexual and gender-based violence. In 2010, Resolution 1960 created specific steps needed for the prevention of sexual violence, and Resolution 2106 in 2013 looked specifically at accountability for crimes of sexual violence. The most recent resolution on women, peace and security, UNSCR 2122, aims to strengthen measures to improve the participation of women in all phases of conflict resolution and prevention.

 

UNSCR 1325 and successive Resolutions are an important show of international support that ensure women, peace and security are on the agenda for international organizations and governments across the globe, but there are many steps between the passage of such resolutions and their full implementation on the ground.  One tool that helps bridge this gap are National Action Plans(NAPs), written plans that specify how a country will mainstream gender, and the principles of 1325 into its defense, development and diplomatic activities. Over 36 countries in the world have drafted NAPs, and that number is growing every year.

 

In addition to government- and UN-level documents and programs, it is important to consider the work women do in more informal, Track II diplomatic and peace negotiations. Around the world, women are active as civil society leaders, and in many cases, such as Liberia, Northern Ireland and the Philippines, their grassroots work has played a major role in peace processes.

 

For more resources on women, peace and security, visit The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and SecurityPeaceWomenUSIP, and The Institute for Inclusive Security.

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