Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Women: Statement by Mr. Peter van der Vliet : The Netherlands’ Commitment to the implementation of UNSCR 1325


Statement by Peter van der Vliet

Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN

Side event to the 56th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women

Investing in Women, Investing in Peace - Financing 1325, Gender Equality and Peace

New York, 28 February 2012



Ladies and gentlemen,

Women, peace and security

In April 2011, Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a Joint Statement on “Supporting Women's Political Empowerment in Emerging Democracies”. In their statement, they note that in processes of democratization, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and security, sustainable solutions are not possible if women’s voices are discounted or ignored. Experience shows that integrating women into transition, reconciliation and peacebuilding processes from the start helps promote long-term peace and stability. Where women are oppressed and marginalized, societies become more dangerous and breed intolerance. The subjugation of women is a threat to the common security of our world, because the suffering and denial of the rights of women, and the instability of nations, go hand in hand. There is also a mountain of data that correlates investment in and inclusion of women with positive outcomes in poverty alleviation and greater prosperity.

In the last decades there have been waves of turbulent developments where people demanded democratic change: in Eastern Europe after 1989 and in development and peace proceses in various countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa. Since the beginning of 2011, dramatic events sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have seen millions of men and women march in the streets demanding change. Both women and men have suffered under repressive governments in this region. Moreover, women have coped with discriminatory laws and deeply entrenched gender inequality. According to UNDP’s Arab Human Development Reports, the gender gap is one of the three reasons for the slow progress in human development indicators in the MENA region.

The international community has an important role to play in promoting a political role for women at all stages of political transition and peacebuilding. In doing so, we advance our collective security and prosperity around the globe. As my minister says, “Women’s rights and opportunities are not just nice to have. They are a global security imperative. Women represent 50% of human capital. It is in every country’s own interest to make sure that women are actively involved in society and the economy, and in political decision-making. They must be part of the power structures – that is what empowerment is about. That is why Security Council Resolution 1325 (and its successors: 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960) are so critically important for women’s roles in peace and security.

Dutch NAP 1325 I + II

The Netherlands adopted its first National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2007. It led to a stronger focus on the role of women in our work on peace and security. It had a specific focus on physical safety and legal certainty for women and men. For example, the fight against sexual violence as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo received more attention.

Also, the first action plan emphasized the complementary role of government bodies and civil society in the Netherlands and the importance of country ownership. An example is the Security Sector Development Programme in Burundi. Based on research of a Dutch NGO with support from the Dutch ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, the Burundian ministries of Defense and Public Security decided to have gender as one of the policy priorities in the Security Sector, including by conducting workshops in gender action and strategy planning and the formulation of clear targets. This led to specific empowerment programs for female military and to a high number of female applicants for the Burundi police force.

Another example of collaboration between countries is the successful gender training course for civilian and military personnel sent out on peace operations. This course is the fruit of collaboration between the Spanish and the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence.

Just a few months ago, the Netherlands launched its second National Action Plan 1325. It has been was signed by more than 30 civil society organizations, four research institutes and three government ministries (Foreing Affairs, Defense and the ministry of Education, Culture and Science). The Dutch action plan 1325 is in line with the three pillars of our foreign policy: security, freedom and prosperity. In today’s world, these issues are closely interconnected. Violations of individual freedom may sooner or later generate instability. Security and freedom are vital to economic growth. Conversely, growth in the private sector helps foster stability and freedom.

The second National Action Plan is dedicated to promoting female leadership and political participation in conflict-affected societies. We believe that peace and security are linked to active, powerful roles for women. It was good to see that the Nobel Prize Committee this October honoured three extraordinary women for their commitment to democracy and human rights: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman.

Joint financing

But expertise, experience and will power alone are not enough. Without money, plans are merely good intentions on a piece of paper. Without money, National Action Plans are policy documents that never get implemented. Catherine Mabobori already referred to the Secretary General's report to the Security Council on 1325 implementation in October 2010, where he says: "the ultimate success of national action plans depends on their funding and the commitment to ensure their full implementation.“ Therefore, the Dutch National Action Plan includes a chapter in which many partners, from civil society as well as the government, set out the resources they commit to the implementation of the plan. These commitments consist of financial ánd human capital. Financially the Dutch signatories (ministries and NGO’s) have committed more than EURO 10 million per year for the period 2012-2015. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reserved EURO 2 million per year for joint activities of Dutch signatories and women’s organisations in 6 fragile and post-conflict states (Afghanistan, Burundi, Colombia, DRC, South Sudan, Sudan) and another EURO 2 million for the MENA –region.

All action undertaken under the auspices of the Dutch NAP partnership must be financed by at least two different actors. The Dutch government is therefore pleased to contribute to the multi-stakeholder finance mechanism in Burundi, up to one million euro over four years - next to Cordaid, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) and the Burundian Ministry of National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender. Hopefully, this new mechanism will also enhance multi-stakeholder decision-making with equal involvement of women and men.

I also hope that this wonderful initiative be serve as an example for many NAPs around the world.

Thank you.