Speech/statement | Date: 15/03/2018 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
By Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide (New York, 15 March)
Speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms Ine Eriksen Søreide at a side-event on the women, peace and security index, CSW, New York.
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Excellences, ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues and friends,
I am so glad to be able to take this "roadshow" to New York.
When a conflict is looming, women's rights and security are often threatened long before any gunshots are heard.
And as tensions rise, the abuse of women's rights increases.
We know this.
Yet we have rarely monitored respect for women's rights and security with a view to predicting conflict.
Repeatedly we see that conflict stops development.
This index is the first to be built on the principles of the SDGs.
It encourages a holistic approach to both rights, development and security.
Conflict prevention must be part of our strategy for development and the SDGs give us an important platform for integrated action.
The Index has eleven indicators, measuring aspects of women's lives such as parliamentary representation, partner violence and legal discrimination.
These indicators tell us about threats to women, about access to justice – or the lack of it.
They tell us about opportunities and obstacles to participation in all parts of society.
Only one indicator measures organised violence and insecurity due to armed conflict.
Yet, ten of the twelve countries that rank lowest on the index are on the Security Council's agenda.
In areas of conflict, it is clear that women suffer on all levels, but it is hard to establish cause and effect precisely.
At the same time, what we know about women's contribution to development and prosperity, to resilience and peace, suggests that gender equality is a key factor for both national and international security.
When women do not have full access to justice and are not fully included in society, this is a violation of human rights.
But it is also an issue of security.
Women's influence and participation is vital for building sustainable peace and resilient communities.
This is why Norway strives to include women in all our mediation, peacebuilding, peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts.
There is no other alternative: if we are to achieve the world we want by 2030, it simply must be gender equal.
The index is the first to combine data on women's inclusion with data on justice and security.
For too long, security and gender experts have worked in parallel without truly engaging across topics. There is a real need to break down the silos.
So, by Putting this index together with the data from other indices, we are gaining a more complete picture.
Commitment from all the key stakeholders is needed to take this work forward.
It is therefore encouraging that Security Council members, UN leaders and individual countries have already acknowledged the index and are using the data.
Wars and conflict worldwide are taking a huge toll on women's lives. But, women, peace and security is not merely a women's issue.
I have been working on this agenda for nearly 10 years.
One of the points I often make is that it must not be a 'side show' – it must be the main event.
And making sure that this agenda is fully integrated into peace efforts and security policy is not the responsibility of women alone.
On the contrary, one of the most important action points is to engage men. They are immensely important agents of change. Only then will it be possible to make lasting changes.
This index provides us with vital knowledge on how women – and men – can work as effectively as possible to prevent conflict.
We are pleased to have supported the first version of the index, and we are looking forward to continued cooperation with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and PRIO on the next index, which is to be launched in the autumn of 2019.