17:00 and it is ON.
The conference “Coping with Crises, Ending Armed Conflict - Peace Promoting Strategies of Women and Men” started with a short but strong video with staggering statistics around the UNSC Resolution 1325. From the number of countries that signed the resolution (the many) to those who have developed Action Plans (the not so many) to the very low percentages of funding and women representatives appointed as a result of it, the audiovisual opus suceeded in both making clear the relevance of the resolution and pointing out the main challenges it faces, setting the tone for the interventions that would follow.
Barbara Unmüssig, President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation (hbs) Berlin welcomed the participants with a short remembrance of Bertha von Suttner and her work, which led her to mention the initiative “1000 Women for the Nobel Prize” (more on that later, read on). Unmüssig briskly talked about the antecedents leading to the adoption of the 1325 Resolution by the UN Security Council –and 1888 and 1889 after that- but focused primarily on what will without a doubt be the focal points of the next three days: What has really been done? What is left to do? And, more importantly, how can we do it?
The President of the hbs regretted the fact that Germany still doesn’t have a concrete action plan based on Resolution 1325 and said that sadly Deutschland “is everything but an example” to other countries. But at this time the mood in the hbs -in a conference room packed with enthusiasts and activists from all over the globe- was everything but pessimistic, and the next presenter would set a more celebratory ambiance among the audience.
Ute Scheub, from the German Women’s Security Council, took the opportunity to warn us against “embedded feminism” and enfatized that 1325 is not a “women resolution”, a statement that would be heard time and time again in most of the following presentations. Scheub thanked the conference for realizing the importance of analizing sexual violence inflicted by men over other men, a subject that is not often addressed when speaking of Sexual Gender Based Violence.
She then took the time to present the project 1000 Peace Women Accross the Globe (PWAG), which encompasses a thousand women working for peace all over the world that were collectively nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Scheub, one of the thousand, had at least two good news to share with the audience. One was the “No Women- No Peace” exhibition which conmemorates the 10th anniversary of the UNSC Resolution 1325 and is presented now simultaneously in Berlin and New York and will afterwards be shown in Bern. The second was the imminent launch of Vision News, an internet site that will focus on the “visions” that women activists share for the future of women all over the world (we are looking forward to hearing some examples on the third day of the conference). The site will be launched on october 31st. Learn more about these and other projects, make sure you visit the 1000 Peace Women Across the Globe site at: www.1000peacewomen.org