My name is Sarah Mendelson and I am the Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. I want to thank USIP for the leadership they are showing on 1325 and to thank my colleagues at USAID as well. We have many people in this agency and in this administration that have a long standing commitment to this issue.
Secretary Clinton has laid out in her October 16th speech why this is so critical to the United States and the value of women's participation in advancing peace and security.
The US government has made several commitments – including pledges of money to help with implementation. We at USAID are working toward a comprehensive strategy of implementation for 1325 – and under the guidance of Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg, we will be leaders in the donor community on this issue.
My own engagement on this issue goes back to the late 1990s and comes from research I conducted on the trafficking of women and girls in and around peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Kosovo, and then work with a coalition to get policies at the Department of Defense, NATO and the UN prohibiting these crimes.
My work here at USAID focuses on advancing democracy, human rights and governance—and making sure that 1325 is implemented in a comprehensive manner is a critical priority for me and for our team. We are focused on making sure in all our efforts—whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan, Uganda or Guatemala, Columbia or Kosovo -- that the voices of women are present and are heard. Where they are not easily heard, we will amplify those voices. We view the participation of women in political processes and peace processes as critical to development, as well as to security. Similarly, we are actively pushing back on impunity in a number of settings. It is critical to making rights a reality – a goal for the Obama administration. Together with others in the donor community and the NGO community – particularly to our partners on the ground, I know we can make the difference. Thank you.
Last updated: June 01, 2012