Advocacy Documents

International Women’s Day Statement to the Conference on Disarmament

Document type:
8 March 2003
Body submitted to:

Read by Enrique Roman-Morey Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament
at the Plenary Session of the Conference on Disarmament
on 6 March 2003


Distinguished Members of the Conference on Disarmament,

Every year since 1984, International Women’s Day has been marked by women’s organizations in Geneva with a seminar on disarmament issues, and with a statement to the Conference on Disarmament. The statements and reports from these seminars on gender and small arms, missiles, the militarization of space, nuclear deterrence, war and the media and feminist approaches to security have been widely distributed to inform women’s organizations about disarmament issues, and peace and disarmament organizations about women,s perspectives on these matters. This year the seminar examines the economic consequences of war and how women’s rights are undermined by ineffective disarmament and their systematic exclusion from decision-making.

In October of 2000, the Security Council emphasized the relevance of gender issues to its work. Since then, it has celebrated the passage of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security each October. The Council acknowledged in Resolution 1325 that women deserve a place at the negotiating table, not only because women are affected by war differently than men, but because it is our human right to participate in society. Women have a right to participate in decisions on peace and security, but internationally and in the vast majority of the world,s national capitals women are systematically barred from enjoying this democratic right. It is impossible to lay the groundwork for a culture of peace without giving due consideration to women.

While NGOs try to make the best use possible of the symbolic importance of International Women’s Day and October 31st, none of us are satisfied with flowery congratulations for two days of the year. Women would rather the CD and the Security Council demonstrate a genuine understanding of gender issues through routine consideration of women’s experiences and perspectives, rather than a superficial annual gesture. Gender issues are relevant every day.

A gender perspective on disarmament challenges existing analysis and solutions for disarmament, and demands that people are put in the centre of the picture: women and men, as victims, survivors and perpetrators of weapons related violence. This is human security in action and we commend those governments that have committed themselves to advancing this concept and practice.

Decisions and experiences in relation to weapons involve human beings operating in their social and political environment, and therefore have clear gender dimensions. Women and men alike have concerns about the impact of weapons from small arms to weapons of mass destruction. We applaud the Department for Disarmament Affairs for recognizing this fact and undertaking a gender action plan to be launched at the Disarmament Commission. This move forward should also provide guidance to member states on how to integrate gender perspectives into your work in the CD.

Disarmament has become a household word, with the largest global demonstration for peace in history occurring on February 15 in over 700 cities illustrating ordinary people’s belief that disarmament is an alternative to, and the best way of preventing war. Women played a major part in these demonstrations, and have articulated positions and ideas on disarmament. We recognize that there are risks involved in forging new agreements, and in discussing and negotiating sensitive issues of national security, but world public opinion is supportive right now, and this strengthens the hand of those states that are willing to take the risk of placing their national security interests in the context of international security. A failure to act at this time would not be easily forgiven, and we urge you to seize this moment by placing the stated popular will of the world,s people above process and procedure.

Fifty seven years ago Article 26 of the UN Charter charged the Security Council with responsibility for generating a plan for the regulation of armaments with the least diversion of the world’s human and economic resources. This recognizes the timely and crucial need for a long term and broad based vision for peace. We are still waiting for the plan. We hope that the Conference on Disarmament is not going to follow this example. How many more years can the CD justify hovering in this limbo of indecision when the agenda that faces you is getting ever larger?

Some of you may see NGOs as mere “focus groups” with critical voices that are never satisfied, but you would be wrong to dismiss us so lightly. We are at the intersection of international bodies such as the CD and the constituencies we represent. We receive multitudes of phone calls and letters on a daily basis, from ever more desperate and angry people who want to know what member states of the CD are doing and why nothing is happening. As NGOs who defend the UN and its central commitment to disarmament, it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to explain the role of the CD because you are not dealing with nuclear disarmament as you have committed to do so, often and in so many forums. You are not advancing international commitment to the prevention of an arms race in outer space, and you are not negotiating a Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty, and you are clearly not dealing with any of the other pressing disarmament priorities. The most practical way forward would be for all states to immediately agree to the proposal by the five former Conference Presidents, Ambassadors Dembri, Lint, Reyes, Salander and Vega (CD/1693).

One of the salient issues of today is terrorism, which is manifesting itself in more sinister and varied ways than ever before. Terrorism, facilitated by weapons of every kind, is a pressing disarmament issue whose complexity stems from the fact that the physical weapons of terrorists are secondary to their methods of operation. Because they will stop at nothing to achieve their means, greater investment in disarmament and the safeguarding of toxic materials, rather than unilateral policies and doctrines of war must be considered in long-term solutions to the dangers posed by terrorism. The CD has a profoundly important role to play in this monumental task.

For centuries there has been the reaction to take up the banner of militarism in the face of threat. Evaluation of this paradigm, so contagious and so destructive to the frustrated victims of the injustices of our society should begin here – because it is what happens here that breeds justification for the resort to violence. Eleanor Roosevelt, well remembered for her work in the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights once said, “nobody won the last war and nobody will win the next.”

Every time there is a public reinforcement of the notion that military strength and the willingness to use it are key elements of security, every time disarmament or choosing not to rely on threat or use of force for security are dismissed as weak or womanly options, the power of the terrorist is reinforced.

Transparency in Armaments was added to your agenda in 1992, and reduction in military spending is part of the Decalogue. Increased
accumulation of armaments and military spending has not increased world security. For nearly a hundred years, women,s organizations have been at the forefront of researching, exposing, and protesting the enormous resources devoted to weapons and war. Our research allows us to assert that the ability of military violence to achieve its stated aims is routinely over-estimated, while the extent of its costs are overlooked. Our studies show that just one quarter of the world,s approximately $839 billion in military spending would allow nations to provide decent housing, health and education to their citizens. It would also allow governments to provide energy, to clean up the environment, ameliorate the AIDS pandemic, stop global warming, ease the debt burden, disarm nuclear weapons, collect and destroy hundreds of millions of small arms and de-mine the world. Perhaps most importantly at this fragile moment, the careful redistribution of resources that are currently absorbed by the global killing machine might convince the most desperate and angry of the world,s people that they do not need to resort to terrorism to achieve their goals.

Even in times of grave uncertainty a comprehensive strategy can and must be guided by the rule of law and true respect for human rights. We endorse the High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello’s statement: “The security of states.. flows from the security of the human being.”

Women urge the CD to:

1. Agree to a program of work in this first part of the 2003 session. While the proposal outlined by the former Presidents does not meet our expectations of the CD, the deadlock of the last six years has considerably altered our expectations of this body. The program outlined would at least see the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty. This is more urgent than ever due to the increased dangers posed by toxic materials of the nuclear age, which should stop being produced immediately. The Proposal should also include discussion on arrangements towards a binding agreement on negative security assurances, and an exchange of information on nuclear disarmament toward potential future work of a multilateral character.

It would be our hope that the elaboration of a regime capable of preventing an arms race in outer space could be elaborated rather quickly due to the investment, research and development by one member state in this field, which are significant enough to trigger an arms race should other member states join that race.

2. Because it is unacceptable for a handful of CD member states to hold the time and concerns of the majority in contempt, a coalition of willing states should begin informal deliberations on the above five areas, thereby utilizing the time and expertise available in Geneva constructively, and generating draft documents and draft treaties as food for thought for when political will finally reaches a critical mass.

3. Conduct a serious review with the aim of developing new mechanisms for a more inclusive role of NGOs in the life and work of the Conference on Disarmament. This review should consider the modality for participation, and assistance with the important “partnership” role that NGOs can play and the essential opinion-formulating role of civil society, vital for the success of your work. NGOs stand ready to work with you in the conduct of this review and the development of appropriate mechanisms.

Thank you for taking the time to hear our perspectives on disarmament. Your commitment to doing so each year on this day should not, however, be marked with statements thanking women for their interest, which implies that our work on disarmament issues is invisible for the other 364 days of the year. For us, International Women’s Day is more than symbolic. It is an opportunity to remind you that your ongoing and serious engagement with issues of global security requires the systematic integration of gender in your work, when that work actually begins anew. As the world’s sole multilateral disarmament negotiating body, you can only be said to represent us and remember, women constitute at least 50% of those you represent if you engage with and reflect our perspectives in your work.

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بناء وتعزيز طريقة عملنا مع بعضنا البعض

لاتخاذ الأفعال وإحداث تأثير في العالم ، نحتاج أيضاً إلى النظر في كيفية عملنا معاً. خلال المكالمات الإقليمية والعالمية المنتظمة خلال عامي ٢٠٢١ و ٢٠٢٢ ، تستكشف العضوات الفجوات التي يجب سدها ، والسياسات التي نحتاج إلى تغييرها ، والسياسات التي نحتاج إلى وضعها ، وأساليب العمل التي نحتاج إلى ضبطها ، والمزيد. نسعى إلى إيجاد الحلول معاً ، حتى نتمكن من تحقيق رؤيتنا الجماعية لمستقبل WILPF.

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إن دور المجلس الدولي الحالي هو إنشاء لجنة الترشيح، بينما يتم تنسيق عملية الانتخابات من قبل لجنة الانتخابات التي سيتم تشكيلها في بداية كونغرس.

الدعوة الآن مفتوحة للعضوات الراغبات بالعمل في المجلس الدولي! لدى الأقسام الوطنية متسع من الوقت حتى ١٩ مارس لتقديم الترشيحات للمناصب المنتخبة: الرئيسة ونائبيتين للرئيسة وأمينة الخزانة. كما ويمكن للأقسام الآن الاجتماع في منطقتهم لتسمية ممثلة إقليمية واحدة وممثلة إقليمية بديلة. للمزيد من المعلومات ، يمكن الاتصال بالممثلة الإقليمية الخاص بكن أو أرسال بريداً إلكترونياً إلى


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للمزيد من المعلومات الرجاء التواصل معنا على

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سيُفتَح قريباً

المشاركة في إنشاء البرنامج الدولي التالي​

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يمكن الابتداء باستكشاف هذه الصفحة، أو استكشاف رزمة المشاركة، أو الانضمام إلى إحدى المناقشات القادمة. يمكن أيضاً التواصل مع ممثلتكن الإقليمية، للمزيد من المعلومات حول كيفية المشاركة على المستوى الوطني والإقليمي.

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في حال رغبة أي منكن في استضافة مناقشة،  الرجاء التواصل معنا من خلال:

مشاركة الآراء

سؤال الساعة: ما هو السلام النسوي؟

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Coordinado por la Junta Internacional y los Comités Permanentes, pero implementado por todo WILPF.

Designar WILPFeras que
sirvan como representantes

Cada Congreso Internacional incluye la elección de los miembros de la Junta Internacional. La Junta Internacional es responsable del liderazgo general de WILPF, de establecer los objetivos estratégicos y tácticos de la organización en su conjunto y de garantizar que WILPF se mantenga fiel a sus objetivos, valores y principios.

Es función de la presente Junta Internacional establecer un Comité de Nominación, mientras que el proceso de elección es coordinado por un Comité de Elecciones que se constituirá al comienzo del Congreso.

¡Ya salió la convocatoria para que los miembros sirvan en la Junta Internacional! Las Secciones Nacionales tienen tiempo hasta el 19 de marzo para presentar nominaciones para los cargos electos de presidenta, dos vicepresidentas y tesorera y reunirse en su región para nominar una representante regional y una suplente. Para obtener más información, comunícate con tu representante regional o envía un correo electrónico a

Organiza y asiste el Congreso de 2022

El próximo Congreso Internacional tendrá lugar en línea de 16 al 24 julio del 2022 (a causa de las incertidumbres producidas por la pandemia). Esta vía se abrirá para inscripciones y propuestas de actividades en marzo del 2022.

Envía un correo electrónico a para obtener más información.

Coordinado por la Junta Internacional y el Comité Directivo del Congreso.
de poco

Ayuda a crear el próximo Programa Internacional

Expresate! El próximo Programa Internacional de WILPF se está desarrollando a través de un proceso de colaborativo, lo que significa que toda nuestra comunidad mundial está invitada a participar en discusiones regionales, nacionales y globales sobre cómo debería ser nuestra dirección estratégica. Involúcrate hoy para compartir tus pensamientos sobre el trabajo, la visión, los valores y las acciones de WILPF. Comienza explorando esta página, consulta el paquete de participación o únete a una de las próximas discusiones. También puedes escribirle a tu representante regional para obtener más información sobre cómo puedes participar a nivel nacional y regional.

Supervisado por la Junta Internacional.

Contribuye como traductora o intérprete

¿Hablas varios idiomas? ¡Si es así, te necesitamos! A medida que avancemos hacia nuestro Congreso Internacional, necesitaremos ayuda con las traducciones de documentos internos y pequeños fragmentos de texto. También necesitaremos ayuda con la interpretación durante los talleres del Congreso y las sesiones de conexión. Buscamos principalmente personas capaces de hablar y escribir en dos o más de los siguientes idiomas: inglés, francés, español, japonés y árabe. Si estás interesado/a en brindar tus habilidades, comunícate con .

Únete a una discusión

Desde julio del 2021, los miembros de WILPF han sido invitados a llamadas globales periódicas para participar en debates destinados a desarrollar la visión, los valores y las acciones para el futuro de WILPF. ¿Quieres organizar una discusión? Ponte en contacto con

Comparte tus ideas

Pregunta del momento: ¿que es la paz feminista?

Développer et renforcer la manière dont on travaille ensemble

‘Future WILPF’ est bien plus que le Programme International. Il s'agit de renforcer notre mouvement, d'équiper notre communauté mondiale afin qu’elle puisse au mieux agir pour le changement, et s’engager ensemble pour une vision collective d’une paix féministe. Au cours des appels nationaux, régionaux et mondiaux qui auront lieu dans la période précédant le Congrès, nous discuterons des lacunes que nous souhaitons combler, des politiques que nous devons changer ou créer. Nous réfléchirons aussi à comment ajuster au mieux nos manières de faire et processus de travail, et plus encore. Ensemble, nous chercherons des solutions, afin de réaliser notre vision collective pour l’avenir de WILPF.

Coordonné par le Groupe de coordination du développement organisationnel, mais mis en œuvre par l'ensemble de WILPF!

Désigner des représentantes de WILPF

Chaque Congrès International comprend l'élection du Conseil International. Le Conseil International est responsable de la direction générale de WILPF ; de la définition des objectifs stratégiques et tactiques de l'organisation dans son ensemble ; et de la garantie que WILPF reste fidèle à ses objectifs, ses valeurs et ses principes.

C'est le rôle du Conseil International actuel d'établir un Comité de Nomination, tandis que le processus d'élection est coordonné par un Comité d'Election qui sera constitué au début du Congrès.

L'appel aux membres pour siéger au Conseil international est démarré ! Les Sections Nationales ont jusqu'au 19 mars pour soumettre des candidatures aux postes élus de présidente, de deux vice-présidentes et de trésorière et pour se réunir dans leur région afin de nommer une représentante régionale et un représentante régionale suppléant.

Pour plus d'informations, contacte ta représentant régional ou envoie un e-mail à

Organiser le Congrès et y participer

Le prochain Congrès International de WILPF aura lieu en ligne du 16 au 24 juillet 2022 (cela est dû aux incertitudes provoquées par la pandémie de COVID-19). Cette voie ouvrira aux inscriptions et aux propositions d'activités en mars 2022.

Pour plus d'informations, écris à

Coordonné par le Conseil International et le Comité Directeur du Congrès.

Participer à l'élaboration du prochain Programme International

Fais entendre ta voix ! Le prochain Programme International de WILPF est développé à travers un processus de création collaboratif - ce qui signifie que toute notre communauté mondiale est invitée à participer à des discussions régionales, nationales et mondiales sur ce à quoi notre direction stratégique devrait ressembler. Implique-toi aujourd'hui pour partager tes réflexions sur le travail, la vision, les valeurs et les actions de WILPF.

Commence par explorer cette page, consulte le pack de participation ou rejoigne l'une des nombreuses discussions à venir. Vous pouvez également lui écrire à ta représentante régionale pour en savoir plus sur la façon dont tu peux participer au niveau national et régional.

Supervisé/géré par le Conseil International.

Porte-toi volontaire pour être traductrice ou interprète

Parle-toi plusieurs langues ? Si c’est le cas, nous avons besoin de toi ! Alors que nous nous dirigeons vers notre Congrès International, nous aurons besoin d’aide pour la traduction de documents internes et de petits morceaux de texte. Nous aurons également besoin d’aide pour l’interprétation lors des ateliers du Congrès et des sessions de connexion. Nous recherchons principalement des personnes capables de parler et d’écrire dans au moins deux des langues suivantes : anglais, français, espagnol, japonais et arabe. Si tu es intéressé(e) à fournir tes compétences, veuille contacter .

Rejoins ou anime une discussion

À partir de juillet 2021, les membres de WILPF ont été invités à des appels mondiaux réguliers pour participer à des discussions visant à développer la vision, les valeurs et les actions pour l’avenir de WILPF. Tu souhaites animer une discussion ? Contacte .

Partage tes idées

Question du moment : qu’est-ce que la paix féministe ?

Build and strengthen the way WILPF works together

To take action and make an impact in the world, we also need to look at how we function together. During the regular regional and Global Calls throughout 2021 and 2022, WILPFers are exploring gaps that need to be filled, policies we need to change, policies we need to make, work methods we need to finetune, and more. We seek solutions together, so we can fulfill our collective vision for a Future WILPF.

Coordinated by the International Board and Standing Committees, but implemented by all of WILPF!

Nominate WILPFers to serve as representatives

Each International Congress includes the election of WILPFers to join the International Board. The board is responsible for the overall leadership of WILPF, for setting the strategic and tactical objectives of the organisation as a whole, and for ensuring that WILPF stays true to its aims, values, and principles.

It is the role of the present International Board to establish a Nomination Committee, while the election process is coordinated by an Election Committee that will be constituted at the beginning of Congress.

The call for members to serve on the International Board is now out! National Sections have time until 19 March to submit nominations for the elected positions of President, two Vice-Presidents, and the Treasurer and to meet in their region to nominate one Regional Representative and one alternative Regional Representative. For more information, contact your Regional Representative or send an email to

Organise and attend Congress 2022

WILPF’s next International Congress will take place from 16-24 July 2022 (this is due to the uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic). This track will open for registration and activity proposals in March 2022.

For more information, email

Coordinated by the International Board and the Congress Steering Committee.
Opening Soon

Co-create the next International Programme

Have your voice heard! WILPF’s next International Programme is being developed through a process of co-creation – meaning our entire worldwide community is invited to participate in regional, national, and global discussions about what our strategic direction should look like. Get involved today to share your thoughts on WILPF’s work, vision, values, and actions.

Start by exploring this page, checking out the Participation Pack, or joining one of the many upcoming discussions. You can also write to your Regional Representative to learn more about how you can participate on a national and regional level.

Overseen by the International Board.

Volunteer as a translator or interpreter

Do you speak multiple languages? If so, we need you! As we move towards our International Congress, we will need help with translations of internal documents and small pieces of text. We will also need help with interpretation during Congress workshops and ‘connect sessions’. We are primarily looking for individuals able to speak and write in two or more of the following languages: English, French, Spanish, Japanese and Arabic. If you are interested in providing your skills, please contact

Join or host a consultation

From July 2021 onwards, WILPF members have been invited to regular global calls to participate in discussions aimed at developing the vision, values, and actions for WILPF’s future. Want to host a discussion? Contact

Share your thoughts and ideas

Question of the moment: What is feminist peace?