Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process consults with representatives of women’s organizations in Gaza on their participation in decision-making on peace and security issues.
This week Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, accompanied by Bo Schack, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, and Sabine Machl, UN Women Special Representative in Palestine, met with representatives of women’s organizations in Gaza to discuss a broad range of issues and challenges facing Palestinian women, and in particular their participation in decision- making on peace and security issues.
The meeting, organized by UN Women and funded by the European Union Partnership for Peace, and in the framework of the Open Days on Women, Peace and Security, allowed direct dialogue between women’s representatives and Mr. Mladenov on the issues of the exacerbation of violence and the protection of Gazan women; and the impact of the humanitarian crisis and the need for greater support for the participation of Palestinian women’s civil society in the current recovery and reconstruction process in Gaza.
While women’s employment and participation are critical steps towards reinvigorating the reconstruction process in Gaza, the participants reinforced the role the blockade of the Gaza Strip plays in obstructing any effective development. They called on the United Nations to continue in its work in advocating for the lifting of the blockade.
Women representatives stressed in this regard the impact of movement and access restrictions on the representation and participation of Gazan women in international fora.
In addition, they called forgreater attention to, and use of, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by the Palestinian Government as a way to support broader women’s participation in decision-making, including in negotiation committees discussing the termination of the political divide and efforts towards achieving national unity.
Mr. Mladenov noted that women in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially those affected by the closure of Gaza, should be supported for their “courage, strength and power to provide for their families” under the difficult circumstances.
He committed to strengthening the partnership between the UN and civil society to work together on enhancing peace and security for women – particularly on the need to support entrepreneurship and small businesses; to ensure equality, protection and justice before the law; to focus on rebuilding damaged schools; and to increase psycho-social support to women and children.
Note to editors:
1. Adopted 15 years ago, UN resolution 1325 calls for increasing the role of women in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution and to ensure their equal participation and involvement in all efforts for the achievement, maintenance and promotion of peace and security.
2. The Open Days enable direct dialogue between women civil society leaders and activists and senior UN representatives to highlight concerns, priorities and recommendations on key context-specific issues relating to conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacebuilding and relief and recovery.