The government for the first time has readied a national action plan to ensure women’s participation in every step of the peace process as well as to meet the United Nation Security Council’s (UNSC) resolution on women and peace and security.

The 18-member steering committee headed by Deputy Prime Minster Sujata Koirala has already approved the plan. It will soon be forwarded to the Cabinet for its approval, according to officials.

Once the Cabinet endorses the document, each ministry will devise a five-year implementation plan to ensure meaningful participation of women in the decision-making level and women’s security, among others.

“This is the first action plan of this kind that guarantees equal, proportionate and meaningful participation of women in decision making level of every conflict transformation and peace building process in the country,” said Sadhu Ram Sapkota, joint secretary at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction.

He said that women in the country have always been vulnerable targets; many of them have been kidnapped, raped and assaulted, whether that is during the armed conflict or post-conflict period.

According to Sapkota, the plan became an essential after the country saw ‘no representation’ of women while signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Nov. 2006 and during high-level discussions thereafter.

The action plan, prepared with the involvement of various ministries, complies with the UNSC resolution of 2000, which had directed the government to ensure women’s participation.

“The plan aims at engaging women and children in peace building process, enhancing women’s representation at the decision making and programme implementation levels, protecting women’s rights by addressing the special needs of women and providing transitional justice through relief package and reparation,” reads the plan.

“The implementation of the plan is important for achieving the meaningful and sustainable peace in the country,” said Bandana Rana, president of Sathi, an NGO working for women’s rights and their empowerment.

Rana, also a member of the technical committee of the action plan, said, “The plan will be instrumental not only to ensure women’s participation in the decision making level but also to end violence against them and achieve sustainable peace here.”

Source: http://www.ekantipur.com/2010/12/05/national/plan-for-womens-uplift/326023/