NEW YORK, MARCH 27 – Peace cannot be achieved without the involvement of women. Addressing the UN Security Council on Monday, the Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Benedetto Della Vedova announced that the foundational event of a new Mediterranean Women Mediators Network will be held in Rome next fall.
“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”, Della Vedova said. The special Arria Formula Security Council meeting was co-organized by Italy and the United Kingdom. Baroness Anelay, UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN and Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, spoke on behalf of the UK. Other briefers were Kyung-wha Kang, Senior Advisor on Policy to the Secretary-General; Dr Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe, member of the Panel of the Wise of the AU and coordinator of the Network of African Women Mediators for Peace; Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator for Lebanon; and Irene Fellin, president of Women in International Security, Italy.
“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 organizations”, the Italian Deputy Minister said.
The emergence of regional networks of women, notably the establishment in 2015 of the Nordic Women Mediators Network, which was inspired by a South African initiative, to promote inclusive peace processes is a positive development. The Arria-formula meeting discussed ways to strengthen the role of women in peace processes, with a particular focus on the creation of a Mediterranean Women Mediators Network, which is set to be launched in late 2017. The main partner for this 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. Fellin, President of WIIS Italy, gave a more detailed overview about the initiative, its aim, scope and synergies with existing initiatives.
To read the full speech of Mr. Della Vedova, click here. (@OnuItalia)