Excellencies, distinguished participants,
I would like to commend Uganda as President of the Security Council on the initiative to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Resolution 1325. Allow me to greet very warmly President Michelle Bachelet, to congratulate her on her appointment as head of UN Women and to assure her of Portugal’s full support in her demanding tasks. Portugal, obviously, shares the views that will be expressed by the EU later on regarding the implementation of this resolution but let me underline some aspects of particular significance to my country.
As so many before me have said today, Resolution 1325 is a landmark. A landmark in recognizing the urgent need to mainstream a gender perspective in the prevention, management and resolution of armed conflicts and in all stages of the peace building processes.
Portugal believes that important progress has been accomplished in the implementation of 1325 and the other important resolutions that have followed. However, we all recognize that significant challenges still remain. On the one hand, women are still underrepresented at all levels of peacekeeping and peace building efforts and they are poorly represented in formal peace negotiations. On the other hand, violations of the human rights of women are still a dominant feature of conflict and sexual violence is too often widespread both in conflict and in post conflict situations.
It is our shared understanding that women are indispensable actors of change and development. Therefore, it is fundamental to overcome the traditional view of these actors as mere vulnerable victims in need of protection and to implement measures that guarantee that their perspective is taken into all stages of peace building processes by the international and local actors involved. Indeed, women have a crucial role to play in rebuilding war torn societies and in promoting social cohesion.
In this context, we should seize this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring women’s effective participation in peace and security and to translate this commitment into enhanced action. This open debate of the Security Council and the many side- events that are taking place this week are an excellent opportunity to review the progress achieved in the implementation of 1325, to recognise our main achievements but also our shortcomings and discuss how we can boost its impact on the ground. Portugal will certainly continue to pursue the objectives set out in this resolution and to increase its own accountability. We stand ready to contribute to this process in the forthcoming months in the Security Council. In this area, like in many others, the international community has to move in a concerted way with an integrated approach.
Portugal strongly believes that National Action Plans constitute an important mechanism to accelerate progress in implementing this resolution.
In this regard, we have adopted a National Action Plan in August 2009 which translates our commitment to the implementation of 1325 and corresponds to the consolidation of a gender equality perspective into national politics.
We have established under this Action Plan five main strategic objectives, translated into thirty specific objectives, for which implementation, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are identified and developed. These are:
• To increase women's participation and mainstream gender equality in all phases of peace building processes and at all levels of decision-making;
• To promote capacity building of those involved in peace building and development aid efforts on gender equality and gender-based violence, as well as other aspects covered by UNSCR 1325 and 1820;
• To promote and protect women’s human rights in conflict areas and post-conflict scenarios, having in consideration the need to:
• Prevent and eliminate all gender-based violence perpetrated against women and girls;
• Promote the empowerment of women, both political and economic, and their participation in all post-conflict activities;
• To invest in and disseminate knowledge on issues concerning women, peace and security, including training and awareness raising actions among decision makers and the broader public;
• And finally to promote the active participation of civil society in the implementation of 1325 resolution and the National Action Plan.
As I have stressed before, Portugal remains available to engage with the UN and other international actors in sharing experiences and good practices that allow us to move forward in this decisive area.
I thank you for your attention.