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High-level meeting on Women in Mediation

High-level meeting on Women in Mediation

How can women’s meaningful participation in peace processes be increased? This was one of the key questions raised and discussed at a high-level meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York 11 May. The meeting was co-organized by the partner countries and operational partners of the Nordic Women Mediators’ Network


Published: 14.05.2016

How can women’s meaningful participation in peace processes be increased? This was one of the key questions raised and discussed at a high-level meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York 11 May. The meeting was co-organized by the partner countries and operational partners of the Nordic Women Mediators’ Network (NWMN).

– Women’s meaningful participation in mediation and conflict prevention is much more than a gender issue, it is a matter of sustainable peace, said Børge Brende, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, in his introductory remarks at the high-level meeting co-organized by Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark, together with the operational partners from the Nordic countries; FBA, CMI, NOREF, PRIO and UNU-GEST, and hosted by the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN.

More than 15 years after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, formal peace and mediation processes have lagged behind in effectively engaging and meaningfully involving women, both as negotiators representing parties to a conflict and as members of the teams facilitating peace processes. Still, there is no lack of examples of women’s important contributions:

-In 2014, Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer became the first female chief negotiator to affix her signature on a comprehensive peace deal involving two negotiating parties. And the Philippines was the first Asian country to implement a National Action Plan for 1325, said Ambassador Lourdes Ortiz Yparraguirre, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the UN.

– We have discussed these issues for more than 15 years, it is time to take the next step, said Elisabeth Rehn, Finnish Minister of State and NWMN member.

Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, gave a video greeting during the meeting, together with Rim Turkmani, member of the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board. Sweden supports a number of women in the Syrian talks, and Foreign Minister Margot Wallström shared some of the words of advice she has given them:

 -Make sure you have a central role in the process, and if it is not given to you, take it. Focus on the substantial issues, demand information about the process, identify who is important, and stay united, show solidarity.

The importance of discussing men’s role was highlighted by a number of participants, including NWMN members Greta Gunnarsdottir, Iceland’s Ambassador for Human Rights, and Karin Landgren, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Liberia.

The Foreign Minister of Iceland, Lilja Alfredsdottir, made the closing remarks of the well-attended meeting by acknowledging that while there is still a long way to go, the Nordic Women Mediators’ Network now aims at bringing a number of qualified women to the forefront to increase the number of women in peace processes.