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New UNFPA Report Links Peace, Security and Development to Women’s Rights and Empowerment

Friday, October 22
On 20 October 2010 UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, published “the State of World Population 2010”. According to the Report, when women have access to the same rights and opportunities as men, they are more resilient to conflict and disaster and can lead reconstruction and renewal efforts in their societies.

The report’s release coincides with the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council’s landmark resolution 1325, which aimed to put a stop to sexual violence against women and girls in armed conflict and to encourage greater participation by women in peace building initiatives.

“When women and girls suffer deep discrimination, they are more vulnerable to the worst effects of disaster or war, including rape, and less likely to contribute to peacebuilding, which threatens long-term recovery,” said UNFPA’s Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid at the launch of the report.

Through the stories of individuals affected by conflict or catastrophe, the report shows how communities and civil society are healing old wounds and moving forward. However, more still needs to be done to ensure that women have access to services and have a voice in peace deals or reconstruction plans.

Security Council resolutions guide the international community’s response to conflict and establish the framework for actions to protect women and assure their participation in peace building and reconciliation, “but they are not a substitute for grass-roots efforts to empower women and to build long-term resilience to crises of any sort,” Ms. Obaid wrote in the foreword to the report.

“Governments need to seize opportunities arising out of post-conflict recovery or emerging from natural disasters to increase the chances that countries are not just rebuilt, but built back better and renewed, with women and men on equal footing, with rights and opportunities for all and a foundation for development and security in the long run,” the report argues.

While conflict and disaster can worsen inequalities between men and women, Ms. Obaid said, “recovery from conflict and disaster also presents a unique opportunity—an opportunity to rectify inequalities, ensure equal protection under the law, and create space for positive change.”

UNFPA started its assistance to Georgia in 1993 with the contraceptive supply project and the basic agenda to address the reproductive health concerns of the population.

UNFPA supports the Georgian Government in the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and MDGs, which lays the foundation towards improved reproductive health, poverty reduction and economic empowerment of the population.

UNFPA established its full fledged Country office in Georgia in 1999 and expanded its operations by funding programmes and stand alone projects with its primary focus on Reproductive Health.

UNFPA activities and programmes are country-specific and tailored to meet Georgia’s needs in the area of reproductive health, population and development and gender, through addressing the topical aspects ranging from the quality and accessibility of RH services and availability of quality data for development to gender equality and prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, including in conflict and post conflict environments.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.