HL Deb 21 February 2005 vol 669 cc154-5WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are taking to encourage greater consultation by United Nations personnel with national mediators, regional organisations, nongovernmental organisations and civil society as a whole, not least women, in conflict resolution and other peace processes. [HL1236]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

The Government give firm support to United Nations (UN) conflict resolution and peacebuilding. In doing so, we encourage the UN to engage with a broad range of actors.

We have prompted and supported UN co-operation with regional organisations, particularly in Africa. In Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire, Economic Community of West African States peacekeeping troops have deployed in support of UN efforts. The UN and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development worked closely together in the Naivasha peace process which culminated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan on 9 January 2005. We are supporting the UN in the development of its relations with the African Union (AU) and welcome the latter's co-operation with the UN's special political mission in Darfur.

We have used the joint Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Department for International Development (DfID)/Ministry of Defence Global Conflict Prevention Pool to support a range of projects that strengthen the UN's capacity to anticipate, analyse and address the causes of conflict. Many of these projects have been taken forward in collaboration with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the International Centre for Transitional Justice, the International Peace Academy and the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum.

We have been active in encouraging the UN to ensure that it takes account of gender and other human rights aspects in its conflict work. The UK has promoted the expansion of mandates for all current UN peace support operations to authorise the deployment of specialist staff or advisers to deal with all issues of conflict resolution including gender, the special needs of children and human rights. DfID has provided £96,000 to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations to develop a training manual on gender related issues in most aspects of peacekeeping, such as political and civil affairs and strategies in effective gender mainstreaming.

The Global Conflict Prevention Pool has financed several initiatives in support of implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. These include, for example, supporting the UN's Development Fund for Women in its efforts to gather information on women's peace-building and gender justice initiatives, and also work with the Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, an NGO that supports grass-roots activities in countries where there are multinational peacekeeping operations. More detail of how the UK has supported implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is contained in our response to the UN Security Council in May 2004, which can be found on the following website: www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/ responses11325/UK-E.pdf

Looking forward, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has welcomed the report of the UN Secretary-General's high-level panel, published on 2 December 2004, which makes a wide range of recommendations aimed at improving the international response to threats to global peace and security. The Government will be giving the UN Secretary-General firm support in taking this agenda forward, in particular the establishment of a UN Peacebuilding Commission to ensure proper co-ordination and sequencing of peacebuilding activities, including issues of local consultation.