“If we are serious about peace, we must take women seriously.” That is the big idea behind the Global Campaign on Women, Peace and Security dubbed “Women Seriously!” launched June 12th at the global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict held at ExCel London.
The campaign was initiated and is being led by a Filipina, Irene Morada Santiago, who served as the executive director of the NGO Forum on Women in China in 1995, and is currently chair emerita and CEO of the Mindanao Commission on Women based in Davao. It is co-convened by a group of eminent leaders from around the world including a Nobel Peace Laureate, activist and former diplomats who are committed to women playing a leading role in peace and security.
Joining Santiago in the Conveners’ Group are 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee of Liberia; Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury of Bangladesh, who was president of the United Nations Security and Council when Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security was passed; Ambassador Swanee Hunt, former US Ambassador of Austria and founder chair of The Institute for Inclusive Security; Ambassador Melanne Verveer, inaugural U.S Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues and current executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security; Baroness Mary Goudie, senior members of the British House of Lords and member of the board of Vital Voices; Ms. Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, Director of gender and development UNDP, and former Ugandan Member of Parliament; Ms. Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold co-president of PeaceWomen Across the Globe and Former member of Swiss National Council and Council of Europe; Ms. Luz Mendez, former negotiator of Guatemalan Women (UNAMG) executive board; and Ms. Madeleine Rees, secretary-general of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WIPL).
Women will no longer be the “underside of history.”
“2015 is the 100th anniversary of WIPL, the 15th anniversary of Resolution 1325 and the 20th anniversary of the Beijing conference and NGO Forum. It is a time of commemorations,” said Santiago, who is the global campaign’s lead convener.
She stressed that women will no longer be the “underside of history.” The time is now for women to be taken seriously. “No more waiting.” she added. The campaign will run for 16 months, culminating in October 2015 during the 70th anniversary of the UN.
The global campaign will create “a broad-based movement of informed and concerned citizens” who believe that women are indispensable to peace” and who recognize that women are more than just victims in conflict. They are also agents of change, representing untapped potential for creating a more peaceful, secure and just world.
The campaign will leverage social media to mobilize thousands, if not millions. A wide-reaching social media campaign will target youth, NGOs, and women and peace organizations to engage in individual and collective actions.
“Women’s Peace Tables” will be established across the globe particularly in conflict-affected countries to share strategies for bringing about positive change and to increase the visibility of women’s experience in negotiating peace.
An Experts Workshop on Women, Peace and Security will be convened in April 2015 to assess the progress made by the campaign, to create a manifesto for policy and action that will be submitted to the U.N General Assembly, and chart the course for sustainable and equitable peace worldwide. The culminating activity will be dialogues at the UN and a celebratory event commemorate Beijing+20.
UK Foreign Secretary William Haugue, who co-chaired the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, met with the conveners’ group group before the launch and declared that he will “do everything” he can to support the campaign/ “The Government of support the campaign. “The Government of the United Kingdom will support this,” he said.
Secretary Haugue’s co-chair, UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie, who was present during the meeting, also endorsed the global campaign are congratulated the conveners for this global effort.
The global campaign launch was supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Government of Germany.