Women's access to peace and security processes was the main topic of discussion today at a women leaders' conference attended by Mrs. Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs. The working group was organized by Ms. Benita Ferrero Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations, on the occassion of International Women's Day this Saturday 8 March 2008.
Around 50 women took part in discussions on how best to include women in the promotion of stability and peace. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and its broader global impact were highlighted specifically. It was particularly noteworthy that five representatives were present from the International Women´s Commissin for a Sustainable Palestinian-Isreali Peace. Two of their representatives had visited Iceland in February.
In her address, Minister Gísladóttir discussed the Foreign Ministry's new priorities regarding Resolution 1325. She underlined the importance of increasing women's participation in peace processes. Experience has shown that women look after the welfare of women and girls in conflict areas, as well as understand their points of view. The Resolution would provide a good opportunity to harness the potential of women to achieve peace.
Meeting participants also discussed the importance of strong networks, as exemplified by the working group itself. Among the participants were national leaders, ministers and leading women from non-governmental and international organizations. They included Ms. Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, Ms. Yulia Tymoshenko, Prime Minister of Ukraine and Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State of the United States.
The Foreign Ministry's Plan of Action regarding Resolution 1325 is available here.