Yesterday was a really big day here at UN headquarters. At lunchtime there were three different 1325 events happening at the same time, which was rather frustrating- a women and elections panel, a National Action Plans panel hosted by the UK Mission and a DPKO panel... so the NGO WG tried to distribute itself- I myself went to the elections panel, which was excellent. The Under SG spoke, as did the DPA's Electoral Assistance Division and Mr. Anders Johnson, the SG of the IPU, who gave a really fantastic presentation, as did Sweeta Noori of Afghanistan, one of our October Advocacy Program participants.
The Arria Formula in the afternoon went very well and was positively received by Security Council members. Vina spoke very well on behalf of the NGO WG. Women Waging Peace spoke as well as did two of our participants- Goretti from Burundi and Basma, who was speaking on behalf of our Iraqi participant Hanaa Edwar, who was unable to join us as she was not granted a US visa!
It was a huge success for us- there were questions and answers by SC members afterwards and everyone felt relieved as we ran off after the Arria to attend our reception and launch of our shadow report on 1325 'From Local to Global: Making Peace Work for Women'. Our coordinator Gina did a fantastic job hosting this, we had Ambassador Chowdhury of Bangladesh (who was so instrumental in getting 1325 passed 5 years ago) speaking, Vladimir Petrovsky (former Under SG) and Cora Weiss, our NGO WG colleague and Director of the Hague Appeal for Peace. Our 5 years on report looks pretty good I have to say and the launch was a nice way to end this busy day.
The speeches at the Arria Formula should be on our NGO WG on WPS website next week, for those of you who are interested.
I know both Margarita from Colombia and our Burmese participant Ohmar are interested in posting on the blog, so i hope we'll find some time for them to voice their experience of being at the UN and what is happening in their home countries tomorrow. The situation in both of these countries is appalling and underreported esp. Burma- what Ohmar has been saying about Burma is just worse than i could have imagined- they have the highest rate of child soldiers in the world- 70, 000!!! Millions are displaced and fleeing into neighboring countries, and women and girls are subjected to GBV and sexual violence at an alarming proportion. Moreover this is fuelling the HIV AIDS infection rates which are signalling an epidemic.
Today,we had a press conference at UN Headquarters at which Ohmar spoke as did Goretti about Burundi and Rachel Mayanja the SG's Gender Advisor and Maha Muna of UNIFEM, one of our bloggers, who i hope will be able to comment on these events from her perspective as Manager of UNIFEM's Governance, Peace and Security Programme.
Before I forget, we had an absolutely amazing event early today hosted by the Canadian Mission looking at 1325 and R2P (the Responsibility to Protect) and how this international norm which has been gaining ground must incorporate gender perspectives and draw on provisions in 1325... we had the World Federalist Movement speak, as well as the authors of the report looking at the intersection between 1325 and R2P Jennifer Bond and Laurel Sherret- my hat goes off to them!