Historical archive

Statement at Championing Women’s Participation in Peace Processes

Historical archive

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide's statement at the "Championing Women’s Participation in Peace Processes - High Level Official Launch of the Women Peace and Humanitarian Fund’s Rapid Response Window".

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Norway is pleased to support the Women Peace and Humanitarian Fund’s new Rapid Response Window. Because despite the efforts carried out these past 20 years, there is still – unfortunately – a need for targeted initiatives to include women fully, equally, and meaningfully in peace processes.

There is a disconcerting mismatch between the commitments made in statements and resolutions and the realities on the ground.

Women play key roles in conflict-ridden societies; as breadwinners and community leaders, as first responders and mediators. Women are also combatants and ideologists.

And yet, women remain underrepresented in peace and security efforts. Even women with vast experience are often sidelined as a process moves from the local to the national or international level. The stories of many women peacebuilders remain untold. This means that we miss out on their insights and experience. And young peacebuilders, men as well as women, miss out on potential role models that could inspire them to get involved.

This is why the networks of women mediators and the way they showcase the competence and capacity of women leaders are so important.

This is also why Norway supports women civil society actors in all processes in which we play a role. We have experienced firsthand the importance of involving women in every phase of peacemaking and peacebuilding. This means laying the foundation for inclusive processes from the very start, long before formal negotiations commence. It also means maintaining focus during the ever-important implementation phase after an agreement is signed.

Inclusion can be challenging. As a facilitator, we have often needed to be creative to ensure women’s participation. At times, it is a matter of covering expenses for additional delegates, when all the seats are filled by men. On some occasions, it might even entail allowing someone to accompany the woman delegate where this is a cultural requirement – or covering expenses for childcare.

But to the greatest extent possible, we work to ensure that women’s participation becomes an integral part of the process.

The Rapid Response Window ensures that action can be taken when a process is about to start with few women present. It makes it possible for support to be provided when women are deployed to a process at short notice. Over time, we believe it will also facilitate better processes that will lessen the need for such ad hoc intervention.

I reiterate Norway’s support for this initiative and would like to urge others to join.

Women’s rights and women’s full, equal and meaningful participation are crosscutting priorities in Norway’s peace and security work. And it will be a top priority throughout our tenure on the UN Security Council. To ensure that the peace we build is sustainable, and for all.

Because, as Leymah Gbowee so rightly points out, and as I keep coming back to because she puts it so well: Women are not observers of conflict – and should not be mere observers of conflict resolution. 

Thank you.