I would like to thank Ireland, Mexico and the other co-sponsors for this meeting and the briefers for sharing their insights.
The evidence shows that women’s meaningful participation in peace processes leads to better and more durable peace agreements. However, twenty years after resolution 1325, we have made little progress in fulfilling our common vision of the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in peace and security matters. Member States have committed themselves to achieve gender equality, while the UN must lead by example.
Let me highlight three priorities for Switzerland going forward:
First, UN-led peace processes must be inclusive: civil society and women-led organizations are often engaged in local humanitarian responses and conflict resolution long before official negotiations are initiated. We need to harness such critical contributions.
Switzerland designed - for example - the Civil Society Support Room in 2016, in cooperation with the Office of the UN Special Envoy on Syria. This is the first institutional mechanism to link civil society to official negotiations in a major peace process. It allowed over 400 Syrian civil society representatives, including many women, to provide possible solutions for peace in Syria.
Second, gender-sensitive agreements are key to strengthen women’s role in conflict transformation and their full, equal and meaningful participation in public life in the long term.
In Colombia, the inclusion of a gender perspective in all stages of the peace process empowered women and put a spotlight on gender equality. Switzerland supported the peace talks with expertise for the ceasefire negotiations and advice on transitional justice. Meaningful participation of women in the implementation phase must remain a priority.
Finally, women must be in the room - and in positions of influence - when negotiations happen. While the UN must set the example with its mediation teams, Member States need to ensure inclusive negotiating delegations. Switzerland launches today its own network of women in peace processes. This will strengthen our own capacities and allow us to exchange with other sister networks of women mediators.
Switzerland has been on the forefront of the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, being among the first to adopt a National Action Plan in 2007. We will continue to highlight the importance of the inclusion of women in all dimensions of peace and security in our first-ever bid for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council.
I thank you.