Women: Statement by Ambassador Herman Schaper on "Women, peace and security
H.E. Herman Schaper
Permanent Representative of the Netherlands Mission to the United Nations
Open Debate on “Women, peace and security” in the Security Council
New York, 30 November 2012
Mr. President, Excellencies, distinguished participants,
My delegation welcomes this debate and would like to make a few remarks in addition to the EU statement and other statements underlining the importance of women’s civil society organisations in contributing to the implementation of SC resolution 1325.
SCR 1325 and the Dutch National Action Plan 2012 – 2015
The Netherlands has put gender equality at the heart of all its policies for decades. Internationally, we support female leadership, the follow-up of SC resolution 1325, women’s economic empowerment and the elimination of violence against women.
In December last year, the Netherlands launched its second National Action Plan 1325. It covers the period 2012-2015. The Dutch National Action Plan is unique in its kind as it results from and encompasses close cooperation between government, civil society and research institutes. It brings together Dutch government ministries, research institutions and no fewer than 32 civil society organisations, including multinational NGO’s, women’s peace movements and diaspora organisations. The Dutch National Action Plan is based on many different sources of knowledge and experience and is designed to be both ambitious and feasible.
Our second National Action Plan has a thematic and a geographical focus. Thematically, it is fully dedicated to the enhancement of female leadership and political leverage in conflict-affected societies. Geographically, it focuses on six countries - Afghanistan, Burundi, DRC, South Sudan, Sudan and Colombia – as well as on the MENA region.
Practical examples of activities supported by the NAP
The Dutch National Action Plan contains many joint activities benefiting from the complementarity between government bodies and civil society in the Netherlands and their partner organisations in the focus countries. Let me mention a few examples:
- In the DRC, the Netherlands will support the national Women’s Fund to promote participation of Congolese women in the coming elections. We will also support women in Eastern DRC who can play a mediation role in the conflict that is still raging in the Kivu’s.
- Similarly, in Burundi as well as in the Eastern DRC, the signatories of the Dutch National Action Plan will support a program of a regional organisation cooperating with local women’s and media organisations to increase public support for women’s political participation and to strengthen the capacity of women organizations to campaign, including the use of media technologies.
- In Afghanistan, a group of signatories works together with a local telephone and internet provider to start a program connecting rural poor women and men with more ‘modern’ youth in the main towns via an sms-platform (sms-based blogging). The objective is to inform the rural poor better on national women’s issues and foster dialogue between rural poor and urban youth.
- In Libya, we support a capacity-building program for women, so that they can have a meaningful contribution to the development of the new constitution.
Dutch financial support
The Dutch government attaches high priority to the implementation of its second National Action Plan, also in financial terms. For programs in the six partner countries, an amount of 2 million euros per year (2012-2015) is available, and the same amount per year is reserved for the MENA region.
Also, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs established the FLOW fund – Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women - the largest women’s fund in the world. FLOW will invest 78 million euros between 2012 and 2015 in women’s organisations, many of them in conflict-affected states.
Finally, a new fund is being established together with the Dutch NGO HIVOS and accountancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, to strengthen the financial and organizational management of women’s organizations in the MENA-region.
In this way we share and support the commitments made during the Equal Futures Partnership event hosted by US Secretary of State Clinton in september last year.
The pivotal role of women deserves our support
The potential role of women’s organisations in any social or political transformation is huge. Women can and should play a pivotal role in their societies and merit our support to take the lead more effectively. Transition processes like the ones in the MENA region are an opportunity for women to translate their influence in formal roles. The same is true for women and their organisations that work in fragile countries. Women across the world involved in peace building, reconciliation and democratization will continue to find the Netherlands at their side.