Mr. Deputy Prime Minister Kategaya, President of the Security Council, Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am overwhelmed to see such a full house of decision-makers, experts and advocates come together for this very important cause.
Security Council Resolution 1325 is a milestone, not only in our struggle for gender equality, human rights and the empowerment of women – but for political legitimacy, social stability and economic efficiency for society at large.
This is Norway’s experience – and our conviction. Norway and the Nordic countries would not be as prosperous, nor as stable as we are today, without the full participation of women.
Experience prove that gender equality and full participation of women, is a precondition for growth, development and peace. And those countries who neglect that need, pay for it by slowing down on their path to progress.
Societies that fail to tap the full talents of 50 percent of their population are less likely to achieve political legitimacy, social cohesion and economic growth – the essential building blocks of peace.
I am particularly proud to co-host this event with Deputy Prime Minister Kategaya of Uganda, who tomorrow will preside over the tenth anniversary ministerial meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
Mr. Deputy Prime Minister, your leadership and that of Uganda is needed and appreciated. It is important for sustainable peace.
Because we still have a long way to go before the letter and the spirit of Resolution 1325 and its follow-up resolutions on women, peace and security are respected and fully implemented.
Deeply rooted impediments, conservative and archaic attitudes, still leave women at the margins of society, depriving them of human rights - to health, to education, to formal ownership of land, inheritance and other economic assets.
As a result, women are made vulnerable, exposed to violence and abuse, denied a voice and access to decision making processes. This is particularly true for countries in conflict and post conflict situations.
In fact, I am convinced that absence and abuse of women contribute to the level of tension and conflict in any society.
We therefore need to do better, immediately.
On protection, we must hold peace accords to a higher standard – to ensure that a peace deal will truly bring peace for all, and not allow sexual violence to thrive on the impunity that is created through a lack of domestic prosecution and international indifference!
On participation, we can no longer accept that women are left at the margins of economic, social and political life. This goes for all countries around the world, but it also is a challenge for the United Nations itself.
Women focus on issues that men often overlook: Time and again, women play critical roles in the transition from war to peaceful development by focusing on healing the schisms; on health services, education, water; on the grievances, ethnic tensions or the flawed institutions that produced the violence in the first place.
We therefore can no longer accept that only 3 percent of UN peacekeeping soldiers and only 7 percent of UN police are women. Nor can we accept that only 5 percent of participants in peace processes are women.
Ladies and gentlemen,
For these reasons, we are here to commemorate, if not to celebrate, the tenth anniversary of Resolution 1325.
However, we do have a reason to celebrate this evening – the establishment of UN Women, and the appointment of Under-Secretary-General Michelle Bachelet as its Executive Director. Congratulations!
I trust that you will take an active role in monitoring and supporting Member States and the UN System, to ensure accelerated implementation of all the resolutions on women, peace and security.
We welcome your immediate leadership on this issue, including the new strategic partnership with the Department of Political Affairs, to increase women’s participation in peace processes and improve the gender balance at all levels of mediation.
And I am proud to announce here this evening, that my government will provide the funding to UN Women for this project in 2011; one million US dollars.
We look forward to working closely with you, at the helm of the UN’s efforts to ensure all women of the world the power and position they deserve – for the sake of society as a whole!