Abu Dhabi: Under the patronage of Mother of the Nation Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, Abu Dhabi will host a high-level International Conference on Women, Peace, and Security next week.
Organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, the General Women’s Union, UN Women, the League of Arab States and the Abu Dhabi Ports Group, the conference will take place from September 8 to 10.
The conference will review the achievements and challenges relating to the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which emphasises the importance of equal participation of women and their full involvement in all efforts to maintain peace and security in conflict areas around the world, and also in post-conflict construction. The conference also will also seek to achieve consensus on specific procedures to implement the UAE’s National Action Plan.
On this occasion, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said that the UAE’s organisation of the conference stems from its belief in the important and pivotal role that women play in all fields and their contribution to society’s prosperity.
Sheikh Abdullah recognised the UAE’s firm commitment to achieving gender equality and enhancing the role of women in society and extended his appreciation to Sheikha Fatima for her pivotal role in supporting women as true partners in the progress of the UAE and for her patronage of this high-level conference.
The minister emphasised the important role the UAE plays in supporting the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda within the frameworks of the United Nations, especially in light of its current non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council.
350 women military-trained
Mohammed Ahmed Al Bawardi Al Falasi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, stated the leadership of the UAE, especially Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, had supported and endorsed the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2018 between the General Women’s Union and UN Women.
“All stakeholders worked to develop the military capabilities of women and their knowledge of the foundations of peacekeeping. The Ministry of Defence has supported the training of more than 350 women from various Arab, Asian, and African countries at the Khawla Bint Al-Azwar Military School with great success and we will continue to implement these training programmes to maintain security, peace, and stability,” he said.
Noura Al Suwaidi, Secretary-General of the General Women’s Union, said: “We are pleased to express our full confidence in the capabilities of the participants in the conference’s activities to come up with a practical set of outputs and recommendations to enhance the activation of the influential role of women in building peace around the world.”
Bringing decision-makers together
Dr Mouza Al Shehhi, Director of the UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC, said: “Advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda is a priority for UN Women, as women have long been doing important work in peace building in many conflict zones, but there is a sharp contrast with their participation in formal peace negotiations, where women still largely do not play any formal roles. Between 1992 and 2019, on average, only 13 per cent of negotiators were women, although studies show that women’s participation increases opportunities for sustainable peace and lead to agreements containing more provisions that benefit women and men equally. The conference aims, through its various sessions, to bring together decision-makers and stakeholders from different countries to analyse the role of women in peace and security, in line with the objectives of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.”
The conference will highlight the great efforts made by the UAE on the level of Women, Peace, and Security, and setting specific procedures to implement the UAE’s national plan to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
It will also focus on discussing ways to achieve the ambitious goals set by the UN to increase the participation of women in UN peacekeeping forces, such as increasing their percentage in units with military missions to about 15 per cent, and in forces with police missions to 20 per cent by 2028.
Women in uniform
In 2000, the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 was adopted, establishing the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, and recognised women’s leadership in promoting international peace and security as well as their contributions to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding. Progress has been achieved throughout the years.
In 1993, women made up one per cent of deployed uniformed personnel. However, after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the number of women in peacekeeping personnel rapidly rose. Female staff officers and military observers climbed from 12.3 per cent to 17.8 per cent between 2018 and 2021, while female police officers increased from 22.3 per cent to 30.4 per centand women in established police units increased from nine per cent to 14.8.