Peace And Women Are Building Blocks

Today’s event offered a forum in which panelists shared their views on how to best incorporate women’s leadership in contexts of fragility and conflict and ensure that they are not left behind.

Unlike the MDGs, which included no separate provision for peace and security, the 2030 Agenda (with the introduction of the SDGs) has dedicated an entire goal for peace and security (SDG 16). As Ms. Cabrera-Balleza remarked, “Goal 16 is very important and has been long fought for. How can we talk about sustainable development in a country that is at war?”  She highlighted the importance of including women and civil society in the implementation of the new agenda. We must take the SDGs out of New York and the UN and bring them to the countries affected and in need of sustainable development. We must ensure that they are also owned by local people and communities. To do this, we must translate the SDGs from UN language to one that is broken down and fathomed at local levels. Partnering with local community media is crucial to dissipating the information. We should also give space to women so that they can take the lead in decisions. The “Add Woman or Stir Approach” can no longer be viable.

Ms. Gbowee noted that the 2030 Agenda is one that incorporates almost every thematic area that affects our world. The SDGs are all interconnected and must be achieved together. Further, we must not let the SDGs become trending issues that will later lose relevance. It is time to push and speak the hard truth. She pointed out that women-centered movements have lost their strength and become overly diplomatic. As she stated, “You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe.”

Meeting: “Women’s Leadership in SDG Implementation in Situations of Conflict and Fragility: Lessons from Somalia and Liberia.”

Date/Location: Wednesday, March 16, 2016; 3:00-4:15 p.m.; Conference Room A

Speakers: Ms. Rosemary Kalapurakal, Moderator; Ms. Sarah Poole, Deputy Director, BPPS, UNDP; Hon. Sahra Mohamaed Ali Samatar, Minister of Women and Human Rights Development; Ms. Leymah Gbowee, Liberian Women’s Rights and Peace Activist, 2011 Nobel  Peace Prize Winner; Ms. Zahra Said Nur, Women’s Rights Activist, Founder of Talowadaag-Somali Women’s Movement; Ms. Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, International Coordinator, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders

Written By: WIT Representative Emilie Broek

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Humanitarian Assistance in Complex Emergencies

As part of the ECOSOC humanitarian affairs segment, a meeting was held to discuss how to respond to the needs of people in complex emergency situations. Beginning the meeting, H.E. Mr. Dabbashi, gave a statement on how to provide more sustainable solutions for internally displaced persons (IDPs), and stated how partnerships between international and local actors must be strengthened in order for humanitarian aid to have the greatest effect.

Following, Ms. Amos, the USG for Humanitarian Affairs, stated that 75% of crises requiring humanitarian response are due to conflicts or complex emergencies, and 33.3 million people worldwide are displaced in their own countries due to conflict. Furthermore, she emphasized the importance of talking with armed groups in conflict zones in order for aid workers to be able to gain access to the effected civilians.Image

Next, Mr. Ramos Horta from the UN peacebuilding office spoke about how civilians oftentimes bear the brunt of casualties from conflicts, especially in Syria, Central African Republic, and Iraq. In these areas conflict and violence against civilians are leading to massive displacement, loss of livelihoods, restriction of movement, sexual violence, and long periods of insecurity. Mr. Ramos Horta emphasized that shifts in global geopolitical and economic power must be accompanied by a growing responsibility of these actors to respond to humanitarian crises, and that this humanitarian action must be complimented by more intensive investment in peacebuilding, conflict prevention, mediation of political settlements, and post conflict recovery.

Following, Mr. Al-Kholani spoke about the growing crises in his home country, Yemen, where thousands of IDPs are in vulnerable situations due to conflict. Yemen has created a single governmental authority, the Executive Unit for Internally Displaced Persons, to handle their IDP crisis. Dr. Philip Spoerri from the Red Cross then spoke about using the international humanitarian law (IHL) framework to protect civilians in armed conflict, and to restrict the flow of weapons. IHL imposes obligations on both state and non-state actors, and the biggest challenge to IHL is that in conflict situations it is often blatantly ignored.

 

Meeting Title: Economic and Social Council Humanitarian Affairs Segment: Panel Discussion on “Serving the needs of people in complex emergencies”
Speakers: H.E. Ibrahim O. Dabbashi (Libya), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council; Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau; Mr. Ahmed Al-Kholani, Director of the Executive Unit of Internally Displaced Persons and Camps Management, Yemen; Dr. Philip Spoerri, Director for International Law and Cooperation, International Committee of the Red Cross; Mgr. Dieudonne Nzapalainga, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bangui; Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, President of the Islamic Council in the Central African Republic; Reverend Nicolas Guérékoyame-Gbangou, President of the Central African Republic’s Evangelical Alliance
Date: 25 June 2014
Location ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations HQ, New York
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

Sustainable Support for Peace Building: the domestic and international aspects

Image
Today marked the annual session of the Peace Building Commission to discuss both the domestic and international elements of sustainable support in the peace building process. H.E. Mr. Patriota opened the dialogue by highlighting the weaknesses in current international aid, specifically the lack of political, technical, and financial assistance in helping these countries secure hard earned peace and stability.

Deputy Secretary General Mr. Eliasson focused heavily on the Commission’s need to sustain international attention beyond the immediate moment of acute crisis. While fighting may have stopped, the scars and public mistrust stemming from these conflicts often continue to be felt. To heal these scars, countries must restore and maintain public faith in the legitimacy of the state and trust in a peaceful road ahead. This requires that governments deliver public services, such as health care, education, and safe water, in a quick and equitable manner. But H.E Mr. Eliasson stressed that simple international aid rarely helps build this new social contract. Instead, it can weaken national ownership if not done in the right manner.

Mr. Eliasson highlighted three concrete areas of assistance for the international community to place high levels of importance on. First, support the development of the country’s own capacities and resources, primarily those that enable them to raise revenues. Second, fight the illicit flow of money, which resulted in losses totaling almost $1 trillion in developing countries last year. Finally, develop a predictable and more stable framework of support to facilitate peacebuilding in these at risk countries. H.E Mr. Ramos-Horta, former President of Timor-Leste, closed the meeting by commenting on his own experience in the successful peacebuilding process of Timor-Leste. Enabling the leaders of the region, both civilian and military, to engage in honest conversations that bridge the existing divide is essential to recovery. The international community must also help cultivate national ownership and national leadership, as foreign actors cannot stand in as the political leaders of an emerging country.

 

Meeting Title: Peacebuilding Commission annual session: Sustainable support for peacebuilding, the domestic and international aspects
Speakers: H.E. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Chair of the Peace Building Commission and Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations; Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General; H.E. José Ramos-Horta, United Nations’ Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace-building Office in Guinea-Bissau former President of Timor Leste General;
Location: United Nations HQ, New York City
Date: 23 June 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Zachary Halliday
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark