House of Lords written question – answered on 10th February 2010.

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Photo of Baroness Northover Baroness Northover Spokesperson for International Development, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (International Development)

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) Afghan women, and (b) women of other nationalities, will be at the main table at the London conference on Afghanistan.

Photo of Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Africa and UN)

The spokesperson for the Afghan Women's Network was the only Afghan woman who attended the main London conference. She gave a presentation on behalf of Afghan women and circulated a written statement on this to all conference participants. A delegation of Afghan female leaders was also involved in a series of events in the run up to the conference. They took part in a civil society conference where they made statements, and questioned and lobbied FCO Ministers. Members of the delegation also attended a reception on the eve of the conference, where they used the opportunity to lobby President Karzai, Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton and other Foreign Ministers. In addition, the delegation attended a parliamentary meeting which took place at the House of Commons to discuss gender, peace and security in relation to Afghanistan.

Other conference attendees were Foreign Ministers from ISAF partners, Afghanistan's immediate neighbours and key regional partners together with representatives from NATO, the World Bank, IMF and other international organisations. Three of these participants were women.

The UK is fully committed to gender equality and fullysupports implementation of UNSCR 1325, to protect the rights of women and girls in areas suffering conflict and to incorporate their perspectives in conflict resolution and peacekeeping planning. To encourage the Afghan Government to implement this resolution we are funding various programmes, to promote women's equal participation in governance and to build awareness of women's rights among civil society and policy-makers. This includes funding of £200,000 to support the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission; £737,000 to UNIFEM's Elimination of Violence against Women Special Fund; and £500,000 to a five-year women's empowerment programme.

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