Volume 1 No. 5
 


United Nations U.N. RESOLUTION 1325:
A NEW LANDMARK INITIATIVE
FOR WORLD PEACE

And two other U.N. programs:
• U.N. Youth Delegates
• Messengers of Peace

by Bethney Steadman
The United Nations enlists women, young people, and celebrities to assist in its worldwide peace-keeping and peace-building efforts.
 
 

Resolution 1325 Empowers Women

According to eminent peace-futurist Elise Boulding (see Peace: The Untold Story), the United Nations and other bodies involved in conflict resolution have long known that peacemaking efforts coordinated by women are much more effective than those headed by men. But it has taken many years to turn this knowledge into the effective action embodied by U.N. Resolution 1325.

This resolution requires – among other things – that from now on, women will be included in all of the implementation mechanisms of peace agreements – including prevention, management, and resolution of conflict.
Resolution 1325 has resulted from the efforts of countless conferences for the rights of women and children, including most recently the United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace (International Women's Day, of March 8, 2000), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the 23rd Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, entitled "Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-First Century."

The U.N. has a charter to maintain international peace and security, and recognizes that civilians suffer the most in most armed conflicts – especially women and children. And so Resolution 1325 takes special measures to protect women and children, not only from the violence of armed conflicts, but also from gender-based violence such as rape and other forms of sexual abuse. It emphasizes the responsibility of all U.N. member states to end impunity, and to persecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, including those related to violence against women and girls. Of note is the Resolution's stance on recognizing and meeting the particular needs of women and girls in refugee camps and settlements.

But Resolution 1325 goes much further. It calls for increasing the role of women in decision-making in regard to conflict prevention and resolution at all levels: national, regional, and international. Not merely focusing on the protection of women and children, it reaffirms the important role of women in peace building. Under this resolution, the U.N. stresses the crucial need for women's equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the promotion of peace and security.

With the passing of Resolution 1325, more women will be appointed as special representatives and envoys for the United Nations – including many field-based operations – as military observers, civilian police, and human rights and humanitarian personnel.

In addition, the resolution goes on to recognize the need to include a gender perspective in all U.N. peacekeeping operations. And perhaps even more importantly, the resolution emphasizes the need to provide training and guidelines on the importance of involving women in all peace-keeping and peace-building measures and the need for Security Council missions to consult local and international women's groups.

U.N. Sec'y General Kofi AnnanFinally, the resolution invites United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to carry out a study on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the role of women in peace building, and the gender dimensions of peace process and conflict resolution.

Dr. Elise Boulding told us that Resolution 1325 was the culmination of the efforts of hundreds of people for many, many years. It is, she feels, a triumph for the future of world peace.

Resources:
  1. Security Council urges bigger role for women in UN peace operations Oct. 31, 2000: U.N. website
  2. Security Council Calls For Broad Participation Of Women In Peace-Building, Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Unanimous Adoption of Resolution 1325
  3. U.N. Resolution 1325 on women and girls: About Resolution 1325
  4. Resolution 1325: Text
  5. Women 2000 Special Session: "Future Of Planet Depends Upon Women" (5 June 2000): U.N. Secretary-General's Speech
  6. U.N. website


Youth Is Called to Serve in the U.N.

With nearly 20 percent of the world's population being between the ages of 17 and 24, youth participation is a key priority on the United Nations' agenda. For example, in October 2000, eight young people attended the U.N. General Assembly as part of their countries' official delegations, and six of them spoke to the Assembly. This was the third time that youth delegates have come to the General Assembly.

Several of the youth delegates were interviewed about their participation. One of them was 26-year-old Hege Yli Melhus from Norway, who commented, "I feel that UNICEF and other organizations already appreciated the fact that children speak from the heart. I feel that by letting youth become a more visible part of the U.N., more frank discussion will take place."

Young people also will be key delegates in August, when the U.N. hosts the fourth session of the World's Youth Forum. The Forum is expected to make an "assessment of progress made by the United Nations system" and to "prepare concrete recommendations, strategies and tools to empower young people to participate in decision-making, and in evaluation of policies and programs on key youth issues, in order to ensure action at the local, national, regional, and international level."

In an effort to marshal their ideas and energy, the United Nations has created a website focused on educating and linking up the young people of the world.

The U.N.'s
Youth Participation for Development and Peace website helps to connect young people with one another, to educate them about the world and the country in which they live, and to encourage them to offer their opinions and solutions to the problems we face as a civilization. The program's goal is "to enhance the awareness of the global situation of youth and of the rights and aspirations of young people. It also encourages greater participation of youth in decision-making for peace and development."

The website includes an on-line database of demographics about the youth of participating countries (including Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Western Asia), a listing for each country's national youth policy, national youth and student organizations, and U.N. projects on youth. The site offers a library of the main official documents of the United Nations on youth.

Resources:
  1. Youth Participation for Development and Peace
  2. Pachamama: Our Earth - Our Future by Young People of the World



International Celebrities as Messengers of Peace

The Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors is a United Nations program designed to empower celebrities worldwide to focus their influence toward a peaceful world. The program's aims include:
  • ending poverty, racism, drug abuse, and intolerance,
  • promoting peace, disarmament, and human rights, and
  • assisting refugees and children.
The ambassadors are actors, sports personalities, beauty queens, and writers. Through this United Nations program, they are able to use their high-profile status in order to reach and enlighten people and encourage them to get involved. They provide inspiration, raise money, and draw media attention to the work of the United Nations. Most importantly, they bring their own personal stories and passion to the work that they do. Here are some examples of United States ambassadors and their contributions:
  • Former boxer Muhammad Ali is an advocate for people in need. Through this United Nations program he has delivered millions of dollars in food and medical relief to countries in Africa and Asia, and raised $50 million for charities worldwide.
  • Through this U.N. affiliation, Michael Douglas has used his celebrity to urge British politicians to exert more pressure on Russia and the United States to reduce their nuclear arms.
  • Internationally acclaimed actor and human rights activist Danny Glover serves as a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). His missions have taken him to anti-poverty projects in Namibia and South Africa, where he met with President Nelson Mandela and Deputy President Thabo Mbeki.
  • Actress Linda Gray leads a U.N.-sponsored international advocacy campaign for reproductive health care, gender equality, and the empowerment of women throughout the world.
  • Harry Belafonte is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, which provides emergency relief for millions of children worldwide.
  • Mia Farrow, who survived polio as a youngster, is lending her celebrity and her personal experience to eradicating this crippling childhood disease worldwide.
  • UNICEF Special Representative Susan Sarandon observes and publicizes educational programs on HIV/AIDS in Tanzania.
  • UNICEF ambassador Sir Peter Ustinov has worked for the U.N. for thirty years. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says "his qualifications are unbeatable," emphasizing his talent for languages, including French, German, English, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and Greek.

The Goodwill Ambassadors contribute their talents to five U.N. programs: the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the U.N. Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP).

Resources:
  1. Messengers of Peace Who's Who: biographical notes with photos.
  2. 17 June 1992: Agenda for Peace Preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-keeping, Peace Agenda
  3. Celebrities Lend Their Voices to U.N. Causes: aegis.com
  4. Movie stars take message to UN: theage.com.au
  5. Celebrities lend their fame for a cause: indian-express.com
  6. The UN's goodwill hunters: unfpa.org



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