Dear Mr. Hikmat Hajiyev, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of the Department of Foreign Policy Affairs of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Dear Amb. Farid Shafiyev, Chairman of the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center)
Dear Dr. Hijran Huseynova, Chairwoman of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Dear Ms. Sabina Aliyeva, Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Dear Mr. Tural Ganjaliyev, Head of the Azerbaijani Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
On behalf of the United Nations, it is my pleasure to address you today at this International Conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
The adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 in October 2000 by a unanimous vote was a milestone event in recognizing the role of women as active agents in peace and security issues.
It marked for the first time the Security Council addressed the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women;
It recognized the under-valued and under-utilized contributions women make to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution, and peace-building.
The resolution consists of four pillars namely:
1) The role of women in conflict prevention,
2) their participation in peacebuilding,
3) the protection of their rights during and after conflict, and
4) their specific needs during repatriation, resettlement and for rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction.
The women, peace and security agenda is supported by a robust legal and normative framework which includes up to 10 Security Council resolutions.
Remarkably, one of these texts, Resolution 2122, was put forward by Azerbaijan during its presidency at the UN Security Council in 2013.
These resolutions stress the importance of women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts to promote peace and security.
They give guidance on the prevention of conflicts and the incorporation of gender perspectives in all areas of peacebuilding.
They also stress the need to ensure that people in conflict areas are protected from grave human rights abuses, including from sexual violence.
Resolution 1325 also has relevance for Azerbaijan as the country witnessed the dire consequence of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on women and girls .
The conflict resulted in massive displaced of population and has since prevented more than 620,000 Internally Displaced People to return to their places of origin.
Women were disproportionally affected by this crisis as it separated them from their families and support networks.
At the same time, Azerbaijani women have been at the forefront of efforts to rebuild displaced communities and broken lives.
Therefore, their active participation and increased representation in the peace process will further promote resilience and prepare the ground for lasting peace.
The achievement of gender equality is one of the most important, but least acknowledged prerequisites of peace.
Only when women and men are acknowledged as equal partners, with equal rights, can there be an enabling environment for an enduring peace.
Let me also recall that gender equality and women’s empowerment lie at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is based on a global plan of action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and an ambitious pledge to leave no one behind.
Agenda 2030 recognizes that realizing gender equality is critical to reaching all goals and targets. Progress towards the SDGs will not be achieved if women are not able to influence decisions and take an active role in building peace.
Two goals in particular speak directly to you as decision-makers; SDG 5 on Gender Equality and Empowerment of all Women and Girls and SDG 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, which calls for responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making in all peacebuilding efforts, including women.
Let’s use the 20th anniversary of this landmark Security Council resolution 1325 as an opportunity to shape the agenda for the next decade with new commitments and priorities.
One way to translate these commitments into actions is by developing a National Action Plan for implementation of the Women, Peace and Security resolutions.
So far about 80 countries have already adopted their action plans with specific national and local objectives.
We encourage Azerbaijan to develop its national action plan and the United Nations is ready to provide any support in this regard.
The resolution’s history and passage is notable for the level of involvement by NGOs and civil society, which helped draft the resolution.
I hope that this conference will be a milestone event for renewed engagement with international and national stakeholders, including civil society organizations representing displaced persons and conflict-affected women, to achieve this objective.