1. The ROK government puts ‘Strengthening its role as a responsible major country to lead democracy and peace’ as one of its policy tasks and strives to make further contributions to global issues such as protection and promotion of human rights, conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
2. Wars and armed conflicts remain a major threat to world peace and security. Women and girls are the largest victims of conflict as they are exposed to threat to various forms of human rights violation and survival. Since the adoption of the landmark Security Council Resolution 1325* in 2000, the United Nations has recognized and responded to sexual violence in conflict as one of the most urgent issues in the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda by establishing the UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2007 and establishing the mandate of the Special Representative of Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Recently the UN has placed great emphasis on not only protection and support of women from sexual violence in conflict but also women’s role in sustaining peace.
* UNSCR 1325 (2000) is the first resolution of the Security Council on the WPS Agenda, which emphasized the importance of response and prevention of sexual violence in conflict and the critical role of women in peacebuilding efforts.
3. Despite the efforts to tackle sexual violence in conflict by the international society including the UN, the WPS Agenda remains as a major issue which needs more support and more concrete action from the international society. Recognizing the valuable role of women for global peace, the ROK government launched the new initiative of “Action with Women and Peace” in June 2018 to join the common endeavors of the global community against this insidious form of human rights violation and abuse.
4. This initiative has two main pillars. The first pillar is to support projects that address the needs of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations, prevent sexual violence, and enhance the capacities of communities. These projects are conducted through close cooperation with international organizations such as the UNFPA and UNICEF while applying the ROK’s own experience of addressing sexual violence in conflict to international projects. The KOICA private-public cooperation project enables our civil society to participate in projects and helps experts in civil society grow into international experts. The ROK government will contribute a further 8 million dollars by 2020 to support these projects.
The second pillar is to convene an annual international conference solely dedicated to discuss issues of critical importance to Women, Peace and Security agenda, including sexual violence in conflict. The first conference will be held on July 2-3 in Seoul, and the ROK government hopes this conference contributes to further enhancing the WPS agenda globally, in the run-up to the 20th Anniversary of the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 next year.
The ROK government appointed 20 experts and representatives from civic groups and academia, who are offering advice during the entire process of implementing the initiative, as members of the advisory committee on the initiative. By establishing close cooperative relations with relevant civil society and academia, the ROK government plans to develop the initiative and increase its related projects and activities.