I met Hillary Rodham Clinton today. Two weeks ago, in Washington, I met Melanne Verveer, Hillary Clinton’s appointee to a new position reporting to her: Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. I was attending a conference, or seminar really – there were only a dozen of us from nine different countries – to look at some of those irritating issues of no significance compared with guns and bombs and things, like human trafficking, women’s rights as human rights, getting women to participate in peace talks in the world’s hotspots, maternal and child health, the disproportionate effect of climate change on women, etc etc.
Then I went to New York. There the UN Security Council was discussing Resolution 1325. I can see your eyes glazing over already! That is a ten year old resolution of the UN calling for action on women’s engagement with security and peace. Like having women at peace negotiating tables in the world’s hotspots.
I mean, how can you negotiate peace in the Congo or Afghanistan or Burma without having some of the victims of rape as a weapon of war being engaged in reconciliation processes? Hillary Clinton made a statement with Ban Ki-Moon (UN Sec Gen) about Resolution 1325 and then went on to make a joint statement a few days later with the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs on the same theme before they headed off to a conference on it in Denmark.
So I knew what I wanted to talk to SOS Clinton about: how NZ could work more efficiently and effectively with the US in the Pacific on issues like encouraging women to participate in decision-making, elected or otherwise, how to improve maternal and child health, how we could combat HIV and AIDS which are epidemic in the Pacific, how we could build an enduring peace in our difficult areas. So I did.
You know what she said? “This is music to my ears.” I knew it would be.