Noel Kututwa

Senior Women Protection Adviser for UNAMI


National Civil Society Conference on the Second National Action Plan on 1325

                                                03-04 February 2020, Erbil                                                                              


Excellency, Mr. Rebar Ahmad, Minister for Interior, Kurdistan Regional Government,

Excellency, Ms. Pakhshan Zangana, Secretary-General, the High Council for Women’s Affairs, Kurdistan Regional Government

Dr. Ibtisam Aziz, Director-General, Directorate for Empowering Iraqi Women, Government of Iraq

Mr. Mohamad Thir Al Timemi, Director-General, Directorate of NGOs, Government of Iraq

Mr. Vincent-Guillame Poupeau, Head of the Erbil Liaison Office, EU Delegation to Iraq

Ms. Boriana Jonsson – Executive Director, EuroMed Feminist Initiative

Dr. Azhar Al-Sheikly, Alliance 1325

Honorable Members of Parliament and Heads of Blocs,

Honorable Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps,

Distinguished Civil Society Representatives,

Distinguished Guests, Colleagues and friends,

 We commend the Government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Iraqi civil society actors for taking the initiative to convene this conference.

The Government of Iraq endorsed the National Action Plan on 1325 in April 2014, making Iraq the first country in the Middle East and North Africa Region to launch such a plan. The current efforts to finalize the second National Action Plan on 1325 presents a great opportunity to build on the lessons learnt in implementing the first NAP including by using innovative ways to translate the vision of 1325 into actions to improve the lives of ordinary Iraqi women including the youth.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325. It’s a time for governments, the international community, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders to reflect on what has been done and what remains to be done to fully address the women, peace and security agenda.

We are aware that funding for the full implementation of the first National Action Plan was a challenge. We hope that this will not be the case with the second National Action Plan. The Federal Government needs to allocate sufficient funding to underpin the second national plan. We stress that budgetary and fiscal shortfalls should not diminish the responsibility of the Federal Government to fulfill its obligations to protect and promote women’s rights.  We urge the international community to support the Government in implementing the second National Action Plan.

Comprehensively addressing the issues covered by the Action Plan necessitates examining the realities of women on the ground, including the legitimate demands by protestors including young women and civil society activists for better governance, opportunities for inclusion in the economy, and political life and better protection and promotion of women’s rights. Women’s participation in the protests including in the conservative south is unprecedented. The protests have launched a grassroots activism that has, in turn, amplified the women, peace and security agenda.

Robust institutions to guarantee women’s protection and their full participation in political, security, and administrative arrangements are needed, including essential affirmative quotas for women in governance structures.  It is equally important to advance the role of women as actors in peacebuilding.  In this regard, I urge the Government of Iraq to consider integrating the women, peace and security agenda into the proposed electoral, legal and institutional reforms to address the legitimate demands of the protestors.

Importantly, ongoing efforts to finalize the second National Action Plan should capture the historic moments exemplified in the youth protests and capitalize on the opportunities presented therein by identifying ways to work with the youth in advancing the women, peace and security agenda.

As the United Nations, we will continue to provide the needed support as requested. As UNAMI, we have embarked on a number of initiatives to support the Government and civil society efforts to advance implementation of 1325. These include the establishment of a Women's Advisory Group composed of 20 Iraqi women - academics, activists and former political leaders. Further this year, we will implement projects to strengthen women's political participation under our Local Peace Initiative Funds.

Thank you.