In New York, a new UN body - but where are the women?

24 October 2005
In New York these days there is a flurry of activity around the so-called Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). This proposed body will be a new addition to the UN family, the place where countries emerging from conflict, but not yet on the steady path to development, would be monitored. It is an attempt by the member states of the UN to address the pesky problem of countries slipping back into conflict. I have all sorts of issues with the way in which the international system generally deals with conflict affected countries, but in this particular instance, I want to draw attention to the fact that despite all the talk and activities around 1325 - the discussions of the PBC are again free of any mention of women.  The countries leading the pack, Denmark and Tanzania, are not unfriendly to the principles of 1325, yet they fail to ask the questions or bring up the issues when they invite senior UN officials to discuss peacebuilding priorities. And so, once again, the UN is moving headlong into promoting peace and development, leaving behind at least half the world's population.... what are the chances of success??
On another note, Rosemary's point about the media is interesting. I don't think that the coverage on peacekeepers abuse is counterproductive to our message - it is outrageous that peacekeepers  and civilian humanitarian staff exploit those who they are meant to protect.  The question is why does the media fail to report on the positive work that is being done by ordinary people? why is rape and violence news, and peacebuilding never worthy of coverage?  Maybe if the public demanded news about these things, the media would take some action.

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