Australia brings women's voices to New York on peacebuilding

Media release

6 September 2013

Today in New York Australia will host a forum on the importance of women's participation for sustainable peacebuilding.

Coming during the month of our Presidency of the United Nations Security Council, the forum will bring together members of the Council and the UN Peacebuilding Commission with women who have led peacebuilding efforts and broader representatives of civil society.

The forum will be co-hosted by the NGO Working Group for Women, Peace and Security and will be chaired by Australia's Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, Penny Williams.

The Security Council, through resolution 1325 (adopted 31 October 2000), recognised conflict has a disproportionate impact on women.

"Women are drivers of change in their communities. Women are at the fore of maintaining families and communities during conflict, and leading grassroots efforts to rebuild social and economic structures in the aftermath of conflict," Ambassador Williams said.

"Engaging women directly in peace processes and the design of post-conflict strategies is often the best way to prevent a relapse into violence. Harnessing their insights and potential is critical to achieving long-term stability and economic development."

The event will also launch "Women Building Peace" a publication from London-based NGO, Conciliation Resources that draws together first-hand accounts of women's peacebuilding experiences in Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Papua New Guinea (Bougainville), Northern Ireland, Angola, Sudan, Indonesia (Aceh) and Somalia.

Australia will develop a number of practical recommendations from this event for the Security Council and Peacebuilding Commission to consider in their work.

Promoting the valuable role women can play in addressing peace and security challenges is a key priority for Australia during its term on the UN Security Council. Since starting on the Council in January Australia has worked closely with other members to highlight the importance of protecting women from sexual violence in armed conflict and to ensure the mandates of the new peacekeeping mission in Mali and UN political mission in Somalia take appropriate account of women, peace and security.