Official visit to Mozambique: Seminar on Women, Peace and Security
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning, everybody!
It is a great pleasure for me to be back here in Maputo. My wife and I were here on a visit in 2002 - that's a while ago, so it's really good to be back.
Back then we met quite a few impressive women and men who really made a difference in people’s lives, by strengthening the opportunities and improving the health situation – particularly for vulnerable women and young people. I feel confident I am going to meet more remarkable people here today, as we are gathered to discuss an issue of great importance to global stability and development: Namely the involvement of women.
In any society, the involvement of women is key to successful development. When women are – more or less systematically – prevented from participating in the political, social and economic life of their country, the whole population loses out.
The inclusion of women on all levels is also an essential part of a peace building process. That is what this seminar is all about. And it is very encouraging to see so many of you here today.
Over the last few years, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Action together with UN Women has made remarkable progress in furthering the women, peace and security agenda here in Mozambique. Norway is honoured to be a strategic partner of Mozambique in the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
This year, we are marking the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the resolution. This was an important milestone, as the resolution acknowledges the adverse effects of armed conflicts on women and girls. But it also reaffirms the important role that women have in the prevention of conflicts and in peacebuilding. Furthermore, it stresses the importance of women’s equal participation in peace processes.
In situations of armed conflict, women are affected in different ways than men. Women are also often the ones who are responsible for securing their families’ livelihoods, both during and after a crisis. It is important to recognise the various factors at play in these situations, and to integrate a gender perspective into our responses. We must ensure that women are involved in the important discussions and actions that shape their own future.
In the 20 years since the first resolution on women, peace and security was adopted, we have seen more resolutions and important breakthroughs in this area, at various levels. At the same time, there is still much work to be done.
The photo exhibition I visited here today made a deep impression. The images portray the hardship and challenges of conflict situations, but also the strength and resilience of many women who have endured conflict. I would like to commend the photographers for their powerful images, which help to broaden our perspective. I hope you all have an opportunity to visit the exhibition.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I represent a small, egalitarian country, which has a tradition of engaging in voluntary and solidarity work, both at home and abroad. This may explain, at least partly, why Norway has gained credibility as a facilitator in conflict resolution processes. This is a role that we are continuously seeking to develop in our bilateral partnerships, but also through our work in the UN.
Mozambique has made important advances for peace over the last two years and I would like to congratulate everyone who has participated and made this progress possible. Norway remains committed to supporting the crucial work to secure lasting peace in your wonderful and diverse country.
Peace building is hard work. It requires patience. The ability to listen. It requires reconciliation. It requires Ubuntu. This astonishing ability to seek solutions together and to move on – which so many of us can learn from.
I wish you all the best for this seminar. I hope you gain valuable insights and have interesting discussions that will give new energy to this important work.