Dear Mr. Mayor Ron Huldai, Dear Members of the City Council of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Honored Guests!
On behalf of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, it is my pleasure to say that we are very pleased to be part of this special event for the adoption of the 1325 Security Council Resolution by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Council today. This is an important day for Tel Aviv and Israel, and also for the history of UNSC Resolution 1325, which was an essential milestone towards achieving a gender-sensitive and indeed a comprehensive peace and security policy.
As you may know, our foundation is affiliated to the German Green Party Alliance 90/ The Greens (“Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen.) We are part of an international network encompassing more than 100 partner projects in 60 countries. We have been continually working in Israel for over 15 years, committing ourselves to the development of a democratic civil society. Therefore, supporting the values of gender and gender equality is one of our main issues. We aim to politicize gender issues, pool our efforts, expand existing networks and build new ones, and we are trying to illuminate differences as well as shared points of view in both theory and practice. Staying true to our values, the foundation has been supporting the 1325 UN Security Resolution throughout the world. In Israel, among our various partners, we are proud to be working for the past 7 years with “Itach Maaki”, to who is doing an amazing work concerning gender and gender equality, especially during the last three years in promoting a 1325 Action Plan for Israel. Itach Maaki, together with “Woman Wage Peace” at the Van Leer Institute and “Agenda” have been leading the process for a future National Action Plan since the beginning of 2012. The proposed Action Plan was launched at a high-profile international conference held one year ago, on October 31st 2013, in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, which was one of the first events I attended, when I came to Israel last year. And I must say, as somebody who myself has promoted a National Action Plan for Germany over years: Congratulations!
It’s a very good document, which will, if it’s going to be adopted and implemented by the Israeli Government, recognize women`s inclusion as a central aspect of Israeli conflict prevention and resolution by making proposals in all 3 areas of the resolution 1325: participation, protection and prevention.
As a Member of the German Bundestag and also as a Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, I have been advocating the UNSCR 1325 and the follow-up resolutions (1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960), both within Germany and internationally. I have been trying to initiate a National Action Plan for Germany since 2002, but Germany proved to be very slow and far behind others in the European implementation process. Many states in Europe, such as Denmark, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Spain or the Netherlands have responded significantly faster to the call of Kofi Annan for National Action Plans in 2005. As the Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, I visited in 2003 the UNSC in New York when the Security Council debated about the UNSCR 1325 and supported its implementation worldwide. In 2007, I introduced the first and – and until then – only motion on 1325 to the German Bundestag. Because the conservative government at this time still resisted adopting a National Action Plan for Germany I submitted in 2010 a further request. Only in November 2012 finally the German Federal Government passed a National Action Plan, but unfortunately a very weak one. In other words: 10 years of continuous and persistent work in cooperation with many women`s organizations from the civil society were necessary to finally having a National Action Plan passed by the German Government. It was not just about overcoming the resistances in the Government. First of all, almost all the parties represented in the German Parliament (except to the Greens), that is to say – all the political elites – had to be won over the Resolution.
And I must say: This is still extremely difficult, since until today the area of security policies is in most of the states, with perhaps the exception of Sweden and a few others, a so-called exclusively male domain – eine “Männerdomäne” – a field, which is traditionally dominated by men. As a consequence, the answers to global crises also tend to be very “male” and especially in the peace processes or in post conflict societies women most of the times are neither involved nor consulted when it comes to problem solving. This means, that despite the 1325 Resolution and the follow-up resolutions, the involvement of women in those processes is still far away from being self-evident. This is proved to be a fatal mistake, which needs to be changed immediately.
The so far history of the 1325 however teaches us: Without the untiring commitment of the women from both the civil society, and also from “lone fighters” in the parliaments all over the world – the resolution and its implementation would not be where they are now. And we women can all together be proud of that today.
But in the history of the 1325 Resolution it was always obvious: We also need strong supporters and allies. And that’s why it is so wonderful, that a metropolis like Tel Aviv as the first municipality will adopt the 1325 Resolution. It could be a good example and an inspiration for many others. Therefore, I really would like to congratulate the City of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and its council members for being the first city, worldwide, to adopt the 1325 Resolution to its municipality. All woman in this city can benefit from your decision may they be Mizrahi, Ashkenazi, Arab, or migrants. And I hope that your pioneering decision will inspire others around Israel and the world. I wish that your city and your actions will become a role model for other municipalities in Israel, and also abroad. And concerning Israel: I hope that it will enhance the efforts for adopting an Action Plan and implementing the 1325 Resolution finally at the national level.