Press release 215/2013
9 October 2013
Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja talked about women’s participation in mediation at an international high-level seminar held in Kirkkonummi on Wednesday, 9 October.
Minister Tuomioja pointed out that, when seen internationally, women are greatly under-represented in peace processes and mediation. During the past two decades, globally only four per cent of the signatories of peace agreements have been women. In its foreign and security policy, Finland applies various ways to promote the full and equal participation of women in peace processes and mediation.
Tuomioja emphasized that gender equality and the empowerment of women are necessary elements of sustainable social development. Tuomioja also reminded the international community of the fact that the strengthening of equality has been one of the most important factors in Finland’s own success story.
The seminar was part of the three-year Gender and Mediation project concerning women’s participation in mediation. During the three years, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will use about 550,000 euros of development cooperation funds for the project. The initiative for the provision of training came from the UN Secretariat. The goal of the training is to strengthen international efforts to guarantee women’s participation in peace processes and to draw attention to the gender perspective in these processes. At the same time, presentations by leading experts and discussions provide the opportunity to reflect on solutions to barriers to women’s participation.
Among the guests invited to the seminar were persons involved in major mediation tasks, especially Special Representatives working under the UN Secretary-General. Attendees and presenters at the seminar also included other recognized professionals in mediation. Among the participants were Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the UN, Lisa Buttenheim, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cyprus, Abou Moussa, Special Representative for Central Africa, and Augustine Mahiga, the former Special Representative for Somalia.
Enhancing the participation of women in peace processes has been the international community’s objective especially since UN Security Council Resolution 1325 was adopted. In practice, the implementation of the objective has been slow. Finland has gained a prominent profile as an advocate for women’s participation, and mediation has also been taken into account in Finland’s National Action Plan 1325.
The seminar was organized by Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), an organization established by President Martti Ahtisaari, which together with the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the UN Mediation Support Unit is responsible for carrying out the project. The first Gender and Mediation seminar was held in Oslo earlier this year. President Ahtisaari also gave an address at the international high-level seminar held in Kirkkonummi. .
Additional information: Katja Kalamäki, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 351 780; Director Katri Viinikka, Unit for UN and General Global Affairs, tel. +358 295 351 244