Written by Ambassador Anwar K. Choudary
Ambassador Anwar K. Chowdhury is the founder of the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace (GMCoP), Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations (1996-2001) and Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations (2002-2007). ).
The following is based on his opening speech at the Exceptional Women of Peace Awards Ceremony hosted by Pathways to Peace (PTP) On September 13, 2022 (default)
New York (IDN) – Anniversary of the 23rd anniversary of the unanimous action of the United Nations General Assembly for its founding documents on a culture of peace!
23 years ago, on September 13, 1999, the United Nations adopted the Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace, a monumental document that transcends borders, cultures, societies and nations. It was an honor to preside over the nine-month negotiations that led to the adoption of this landmark norm-setting document by the United Nations General Assembly. That document asserts that a set of values, behaviors and ways of life are rooted in a culture of peace.
A statement issued by the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 declared that “the dynamic movement towards a culture of peace draws inspiration and hope from the visions and actions of women.” It further emphasized full respect for women’s human rights; Unlocking the creative potential of women in all walks of life; The equal participation of women in decision-making are all prerequisites for achieving a culture of peace.
The core message of the 1995 manifesto remains equally relevant today.
I was deeply moved by the honor of being the inaugural keynote speaker at the Exceptional Women of Peace Awards today, also on this very special day on September 13th.
Pathways To Peace, PTP, has been working for more than 40 years locally and globally, intergenerationally and interculturally, to support peacebuilding and peacebuilders, and initiatives to co-create a global culture of peace.
Encouraged by the spirit of its co-founder, Avon Mathison, a dear and respected friend, PTP recognizes exceptional leadership for women of all ages, backgrounds and experiences. To celebrate Avon’s inspiring legacy, this year on March 8, International Women’s Day, PTP launched a campaign to honor “exceptional women of peace”. As PTP says, “This award honors the inspiring work of peacebuilders whose courage, leadership, and commitment to peace stand out as beacons of strength and hope.”
My life experience has taught me to value peace and equality as essential components of our existence. They unleash the positive forces of good that human progress needs. My initiatives at the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 on a culture of peace, and at the Security Council in 2000 on the equal participation of women and leadership in the process of prioritizing the United Nations system for the needs of the world’s most vulnerable countries as champions for six years – all show that when head and heart unite Together to do something meaningful and worthwhile for humanity, there is no insurmountable obstacle.
My work has taken me to the farthest corners of the world. Time and time again, I have seen the centrality of a culture of peace and women’s equality in our lives. This realization is now even more relevant amid the increasing militarism, militarization and weaponization that is destroying our planet and our people.
One of the soul-motivating inspirations I have experienced from my work for peace, development and human rights is that we should never forget that when women – half of the world’s seven billion people – are marginalized, there is no chance for our world to be sustainable. Peace in the true sense. It is my strong belief that unless women engage in advancing a culture of peace on equal levels with men at all times, sustainable peace will remain elusive.
Women bring a new breadth, quality, and balance of vision to a common effort to move away from a cult of war toward a culture of peace. I sincerely believe that women’s equality makes our planet safe and secure.
You are all aware of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. It is very close to my intellectual existence and my very small contribution to a better world for each of us. To trace back more than 22 years ago, on International Women’s Day in 2000, as President of the Security Council, I initiated an agreed statement that formally drew global attention to the positive role and contribution of women.
In that statement, the Security Council recognized that peace is inextricably linked to equality between women and men and emphasized the value of women’s full and equal participation at all levels of decision-making. This conceptual and political breakthrough eventually led to the adoption of Resolution 1325.
The adoption of Resolution 1325 opened the long-awaited door for women who have shown time and time again that they bring qualitative improvement to peace architecture and post-conflict architecture. When women participate in peace negotiations and in the formulation of a peace agreement, they have in mind the broader and long-term interest of society.
We remember that when selecting the three winners of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the quote referred to the number 1325 saying, “It stressed the need for women to become equal participants with men in peace processes and in peace work in general.”
Security Council Resolution 1325 is the only UN resolution specifically mentioned in any Nobel Prize citation.
However, there is still much to be done.
Empowering women’s political leadership will have ripple effects at every level of society. When politically empowered, women bring important and different skills and perspectives to the policy-making table compared to their male counterparts. I often emphasize that when women join politics, they want to do something, and when men join politics, they want to become something.
Patriarchy and misogyny are double human scourges that push humanity away from our aspirations for a better world to live in freedom, equality and justice. Gender inequality is a well-established, proven, and indisputable fact – it’s all pervasive. It is a real threat to human progress!
On a somber note, let me caution that across the world we are witnessing a systematic and determined reversal of gains made as well as new attacks on women’s equality and empowerment – yes, all over the world and in all countries without exception.
This global reality is most evident in the fact that the United Nations itself, despite being the greatest champion of equality between women and men, has failed to elect a woman Secretary-General, but has not succeeded in reversing the historical injustice of having the office by men for its entire seven decades. . its existence.
Before I conclude, let me emphasize that feminism is a component of the modern worldview of world politics. It’s about smart politics that includes entire populations, uses all possibilities and leaves no one behind.
Let me reiterate that I am proud to be a feminist. All of us need to be. This is how we make our planet a better place to live for everyone.
Congratulations to the first recipients of the Outstanding Women for Peace Award in 2022.
We must always remember that without peace, development is impossible, and without development, peace cannot be achieved, but without women, neither peace nor development is conceivable. [IDN-InDepthNews – 23 September 2022]
Photo: The late Avon Matteson (left) with Ambassador Anwar Choudary at the opening of the High Level Forum on a Culture of Peace at the United Nations convened by the 66th President of the United Nations General Assembly on September 14, 2012.
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