UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
United Nations Development Programme
Sustainable human development
OFFICE OF THE UNDP RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE IN RWANDA
B.P. 446, Kigali, Rwanda
Tel: (250)763.81, 769.06
Fax: (250)762.63 or 73360
March 3, 1997
(The following statement was released at the end of the Pan-African Conference on Peace, Gender and Development held in Kigali 1 - 3 March, 1997)
The Director of UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa pledged that her agency stands ready to help women take their rightful place in national affairs, "to move from talk to action, from plan to implementation, from hope to achievement."
Speaking at the Pan-African Conference on Peace, Gender and Development in Kigali, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, an Assistant Administrator of UNDP, said Rwanda is at a critical point in its transformation from crisis to recovery. "A critical component in this transformation will be the leadership by women. Until now, much of the leadership in Africa has been parochial, partisan and based on narrow, personal interest. This style of leadership, monopolizing power and privilege, lies at the heart of disharmony and conflicts in our societies."
Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf said women suffer excessively not only in war, but during peace. "The monopolization of power and privilege manifests itself in a variety of ways -- in unequal access to the resources of the country: land, income, social services; in denial of the right to self-determination and the exercise of political choices; in the disproportionate allocation of national resources for military purposes and in the exclusion of women from decision-making. In effect, poverty is the direct result of this monopolization of power and privilege.
"For women," she said, "the impact is immediate and devastating as the feminization of poverty increases. It must, therefore, be a central concern."
Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf said in slightly more than two years (Rwanda) has made great strides in recovering from the genocide and war which devastated the country: "Basic services have been restored, people are returning in larger numbers to productive endeavors, the economy is beginning to respond to the policy stimuli which have been consistently applied.
"This represents a painful but remarkable passage from an abyss of death, destruction and violence to a point of recovery, reconstruction and possibly reconciliation. Rwanda has thus risen from the ashes of genocide and war and is climbing the long path to sustainable peace."
Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf said, "In all of this women have been both victims and victors." Nevertheless, she added, "As Rwandans engage in the arduous task of rebuilding a ravaged country, the prime movers are women."
The platforms which come from the work of the Pan-African Conference, she said, will provide the vision for women of the world.
(For more information, contact John McMillan, UNDP, Kigali)
Nairobi, 4 March 1997
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Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 10:50:10 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <email@example.com> Subject: Conference on Peace, Gender and Development held in Kigali Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970304104624.16291A-
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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