Source: UN Women The current handbook is intended to provide a quick reference guide to assist headquarters- and fieldbased actors from the United Nations, Governments and civil society working to promote greater participation of women in electoral processes in post-conflict countries. The handbook found its inspiration in the issues and findings of the Expert Group meeting held in Glen Cove, NY, in January 2004, organized jointly by the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of women (OSAGI) and the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs (EAD), as well as in the knowledge and experience accumulated by the United Nations in assisting countries that emerge from conflict. The handbook was prepared by OSAGI and EAD in consultation with a network of experts from within and outside the Organisation.
A General Overview: Why focus on women and elections in postconflict countries? Democratic elections have become a central element ofpeace-building in post-conflict societies. This emphasison elections acknowledges that popularly supported,legitimate institutions can be a key to lasting solutions toconflicts. Only when institutions are democratic andrepresentative of all groups in societyówomen as wellas men, minorities as well as majorities, the dispossessedas well as the affluentóare stable peace and nationalprosperity likely to be achieved.Member States of the United Nations have recognizedthat achieving sustainable and durable peace requires thefull involvement and equal participation of women inconflict resolution and subsequent peace-building. TheUnited Nations Security Council, in its resolution 1325(2000) of 31 October 2000, stresses the importance ofintegrating a gender perspective in the formulation andapplication of agreements aimed at establishing thefoundations for a stable peace (see box 1.2). The BeijingDeclaration and Platform for Action, adopted by theFourth World Conference on Women in 1995, expressesthe conviction that peace is inextricably linked with theequality of women and men.It is clear, given the acknowledged importance of bothdemocratic elections and the role of women in peacebuilding, that enhancing womenís participation inelections in post-conflict countries is essential tobuilding peace and democracy and advancing theequality of women and men. Elections can provide the best possible opportunity to ensure womenís voices areheard, their concerns are addressed, and their potentialcontributions to peace and democracy are maximized.
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