Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the launch of the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks, in New York today:
It is a great pleasure to be here to launch the Global Alliance of Women Mediator Networks. I congratulate everyone involved on this step. And I am delighted that so many of you are here to show your support.
This Global Alliance will further promote women’s meaningful participation in peacemaking — an issue that is very close to my heart. Women’s participation in all decisions that affect their families, communities and countries is a basic right. It is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our road map for peaceful and inclusive societies on a healthy planet. But it is also critical to the success of our efforts to build sustainable peace. There is plenty of evidence that when women are meaningfully involved, peace talks are more likely to address root causes and yield more sustainable results. But we continue to make peace in a way that ignores this. It is time to walk the talk and put women where they belong — at the peace table.
In my travels, I regularly meet women who are actively working to bring peace to their communities and to their countries. In July, I visited Afghanistan together with my colleagues, the heads of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, UN-Women and the United Nations Population Fund — the third visit of its kind.
We heard strong calls for peace from Afghan women. We also heard of the need for greater inclusion and participation of women in the Afghan peace process. Afghan women recognized this as essential not only to secure progress made on women’s rights, but as the only path to durable peace. As one woman told us: “It’s an illusion if you think that you are going to give away people’s rights, and then have any real peace.” Their message to the United Nations and the international community was clear. They have capacity, ideas, political leadership. They need us to use our positions to push the door open and provide the space to contribute.
Next year marks the 25-year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, and the 20-year anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security. There is global recognition that we are not moving fast enough to realize the vision of these landmark agreements on gender equality and women’s empowerment. This network is one way to speed up progress towards our goals.
The United Nations has long recognized the importance of pursuing inclusive peace processes, understanding the gender dimensions of conflict and working with civil society organizations. We have worked successfully with regional networks of women mediators in several peace processes. We worked with the Mediterranean Network of Women Mediators and the Nordic Women Mediators network to facilitate the participation of Libyan women political leaders in the Palermo Peace Conference in November 2018.
Together with the African Union, we also supported members of the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation — Femwise — to undertake advocacy and solidarity missions to Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. I commend the Member States and regional organizations that are supporting the work of these regional networks and urge others to join.
The Global Alliance’s most valuable asset is its members, many of them gathered here today: women experienced in mediating conflicts at the local level; women who have led or participated in formal peace processes; women with expertise on peace processes and their implementation. Exchanging and sharing this experience will enrich all concerned — mediation networks, communities, countries and regions engaged in mediation efforts. The Global Alliance should finally put an end to the excuse that there is a lack of women qualified to participate in peace processes.
I encourage all delegations to lead by example, by appointing more women leaders and more women mediators, including to bilateral and regional mediation initiatives. The United Nations will do its part by ensuring women play meaningful roles at all levels and all stages of peace processes, including implementation and monitoring. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Global Alliance and its member networks.