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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Meeting su “Women, Peace and Security and Mediation”

Discorso pronunciato dal Sottosegretario di Stato, Sen. Benedetto Della Vedova, alla riunione del Consiglio di Sicurezza in formato Arria sul tema “Women, Peace and Security and Mediation” —

Honorable Minister Baroness Anelay of St Johns,

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to be here today to discuss with you how to further progress the crucial role of women in Mediation. The international community unanimously agrees that the world’s crises cannot be resolved and peace cannot be achieved without the involvement of women. Nevertheless, the inclusion of women and gender issues in peace processes is still not viewed by most conflict parties and male mediators as an essential component of the peace process. The number of women mediators and special envoys is ever more lagging behind. That is why Italy, together with the United Kingdom, has organized this meeting to promote women’s participation in peace and security decision-making environments, including Mediation. We would like to thank our British colleagues very much for making this Arria meeting one of the highlights of the UK’s Security Council Presidency. We would also like to thank all countries and organizations actively engaged in mediation that are present here today for their support, and especially UNWOMEN, who have been instrumental in shaping this meeting.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

As the Global Study on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security reaffirmed, women’s meaningful participation in peace processes contributes to the success and sustainability of peace and security initiatives. When it comes to Peace and Security, we have enthusiastically supported Resolution 1325 and other relevant resolutions from the outset, including Resolution 2242, for which I would like to acknowledge the important role of Spain.

Making more use of women’s capacity as change makers when it comes to conflict prevention, mediation and preventive diplomacy, will lead to higher peace dividends and dispute settlements. The establishment of networks of women mediators across regions is an important step to increase the number of women in peace negotiations led by the UN or other international or regional organisations. The aim of these networks is twofold: prevention and mediation on the one hand, and capacity building on the other. Women can help countries prevent possible conflicts and strengthen the process of national reconciliation by ensuring a gendered and inclusive perspective on issues of security, justice and governance – often among the root causes of violent conflicts. On the other hand, such networks are a concrete way for women to acquire and develop further capacity and expertise to successfully contribute to mediation efforts as official UN mediators or mediation experts.

Today we look forward to hearing from women mediators’ networks about their experiences, roles, lessons learned and challenges. We are very grateful that Dr. Specioza Wandira from the African Union is here today to brief us on the recent initiative of the African Women Mediators Network. We hope to also hear about the Nordic Women Mediators Network and other networks from you, members and non-members, of the Security Council. We are honored to have among us some remarkable senior women mediators. We need their stories that deserve more global attention, and we are happy that Ms. Sigrid Kaag, United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon found time to be with us.

I would be very happy if, during today’s meeting, we could shed light on the reasons that prevent women being appointed as mediators. In order to maximize the effectiveness of these networks, we will need more collaboration and coordination among existing networks of women mediators. We are particularly grateful for the presence of Mrs. Kyung-wha Kang, the newly appointed Senior Adviser on Policy of the Secretary-General, who will focus on the importance of women’s participation in conflict resolution at all levels and what more we, as the UN and Member States, can do to support it.

As an active participant of the MedMed Initiative (Mediation in the Mediterranean) on the promotion of mediation in the Mediterranean and of the Group of Friends of Mediation, Italy would like to use this momentum to join forces in the establishment of a Mediterranean Women Mediators Network. Stability in the Mediterranean basin is a prerequisite for security in the whole region, and therefore should be high on the international agenda. The idea is not to duplicate but to foster synergies and coordination between different initiatives that have as a common goal strengthening the role of women in peace processes.

Our main partner for this Mediterranean Women Mediators Network is the Italian antenna of WIIS (Women in International Security), an organization dedicated to advancing the leadership and professional development of women in the field of international peace and security. Ms. Irene Fellin, President of WIIS Italy, will give a more detailed overview about the initiative, its aim, scope and synergies with existing initiatives.

I am pleased to confirm that Italy is working on a foundational event of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network that will take place in Rome in the fall. We are already working on this project with UNWOMEN, DPA, and the civil society, but today’s debate will certainly help us refine the concept and identify additional partners willing to contribute to the initiative. I am eager to hearing your views, ideas and suggestions.

Thank you.