The pivotal role of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict rehabilitation was highlighted during Wednesday’s meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) under Turkey’s FSC Chairmanship, which focused on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. The speakers urged the implementation of the Resolution, recognizing that equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts for maintaining and promoting peace and security is of utmost importance.
“Turkey has set the Women, Peace and Security agenda as one of the priorities of its FSC Chairmanship” said Ambassador Rauf Engin Soysal, Chairperson of the Forum and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Turkey to the OSCE, as he opened the meeting. “Turkey continues to attach utmost importance to the gender perspective as an integral part of the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security. To create sustainable peace and stability, issues relating to gender equality and the empowerment of women should be addressed.”
The first speaker to address representatives of participating States was Ayşe Cihan Sultanoğlu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and the UN’s Representative to the Geneva International Discussions, who said that Resolution 1325 was the first UN Security Council Resolution about women.
While there is no gender equality anywhere in the world, she said, an increasing number of countries are adopting Women, Peace and Security action plans. A sustainable peace requires the inclusion of everyone in society, and women’s participation to peace processes and mediation is critical, she added.
Addressing the meeting via video, Cdr.Ezgi Kaptan İşçi, Chief of the Protocol and Communications Branch of the Turkish Fleet Command, spoke about how the Resolution is implemented in the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF).
“Within the TAF, women are employed only as officers and non-commissioned officers. Although our numbers are not as high as some other countries, we serve in all services and ranks” she said.
Ambassador Neil Bush, Head of the United Kingdom’s Delegation to the OSCE, explained how the Resolution is implemented in the OSCE context, especially in the Security Committee and the MenEngage Network, both of which he chairs.
“As Chair of the Security Committee, I will ensure gender-balanced panels throughout our meetings this year,” he said. “As the Chair of the OSCE MenEngage network I am determined to continue to progress work to raise awareness of the influence all of us can have in speaking out against inequality and in ending gender-based violence. The Network will continue to work towards ensuring gender parity at all job levels in the OSCE; robust action against gender discrimination; a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment and sexual exploitation and abuse; and full and effective women’s participation in the areas of conflict prevention, resolution, and mediation.”
Amarsanaa Darisuren, OSCE Senior Adviser on Gender Issues, spoke about a recent study the Section conducted jointly with the London School of Economics Centre for Women, Peace and Security, that examined the development and implementation of National Action Plans on Resolution 1325 in OSCE participating States. She also informed Forum about Gender Equality Review Conference in 2020 June.
“The representatives of security sector institutions interviewed for the study recognized that implementing the activities outlined in the National Action Plans have benefitted their everyday work, from increased intake of women to increased gender expertise and improved human resources policies”, she said. “On 29-30 June, the Albanian Chair of the OSCE, in cooperation with the Gender Section and ODIHR, will organize the third Gender Equality Review Conference here in Hofburg.” she said.
Marina Wyss Ross, Deputy Head of the Swiss Delegation to the OSCE and Chair of the Informal Group of Women in the First Dimension (W1D), spoke about the newly formed W1D Network – an informal OSCE network that aims to highlight, connect and amplify issues related to women active in the politico-military sphere. She presented a list of female experts on politico-military topics, which was prepared by the Network and which will be accessible to delegations of all participating States and the OSCE Secretariat.
“The aim of this list is to allow incoming and current Chairs in the first dimension to identify female experts for panel discussions and other speaking opportunities on security-related topics,” she said.
(Photo by: OSCE/Micky Kroell )