Women’s Alliance for Peace Advisory Council
Remarks by the High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations
Thursday, 14 May 2020
Dear President of Mujeres por Africa,
Dear members of the Advisory Council,
It is a pleasure to welcome you to the first meeting of the Women’s Alliance for Peace Advisory Council. I hope that you, your families and loved ones are all in good health in these unprecedented times. For obvious reasons, we had to hold this meeting virtually, but it is my sincere hope that we will be able to meet in person when conditions allow.
First of all, let me convey my gratitude and appreciation to the members of the Advisory Council for accepting the invitation to be part of this important initiative. I am fully aware of your multiple commitments and responsibilities and it is an honor to have a group of such distinguished and accomplished women to provide advice to advance the role of women as mediators.
As I noted in my invitation letter to all of you, one of my priorities when I took up my position as High Representative almost a year and a half ago, was to include a fifth pillar on the work of the UN Alliance of Civilization to promote the important role that women have as peace mediators in conflicts with a sociocultural and interreligious dimension.
The inclusion of women’s empowerment in the work of the UN Alliance of Civilizations is also in consonance with the UN Secretary-General’s vision on prevention.
This fifth pillar is now part of the UN Alliance of Civilization’s Action Plan 2019-2023, together with the traditional four pillars of youth, mediation, migration and media.
In this context, last year, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, in a partnership with the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, Finn Church Aid and the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), has been supporting religious and traditional peacemakers in the Central African Republic in their peacebuilding, peacemaking and reconciliation efforts. The ongoing work includes the future development of a mapping of local religious and traditional leaders in CAR territory to continue working on conflict prevention and conflict resolution capacity-building efforts directed towards grass-roots actors, youth groups and women. The mapping will identify influential traditional women and how they can actively participate in peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts.
Also in 2019, and in order to advance the cause of women as peacemakers within the mandate of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, my Organization and Fundación Mujeres por Africa established the Women’s Alliance for Peace, as a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goals 5, 16 and 17, and with the clear objective of supporting the role of women as peace mediators and negotiators in conflicts with a sociocultural and religious dimension.
The Women’s Alliance for Peace will collaborate in the implementation of projects in the field related to women as peacemakers and sociocultural mediators and negotiators.
In this context, the Advisory Council will provide advice on the strategic direction of the Women’s Alliance for Peace; on priorities and activities so initiatives and projects provide value-added and are complementary of the work of other UN entities; and on leveraging partnerships with relevant actors in the implementation of initiatives and projects. Your expertise and commitment to the advancement of women will be essential in this regard.
For the purpose of this meeting, and in order to help focus the discussion, we provided you with a number of guiding questions and I very much look forward to your feedback on those issues and on other matters that you would like to raise in your interventions.
Obviously, in the current context and in account of the uncertain future ahead of us, we all need to rethink our modus operandi while ensuring that our initiatives and activities continue to have an impact in the field. That is why the first question that we included for your consideration is the impact of COVID-19 in Africa since the strategy and priorities of the Women’s Alliance for Peace will have to be established in the light of this can this evolving and unpredictable situation.
Your recommendations on the specific role that the Women’s Alliance for Peace can play in the context of Africa ensuring that future projects and initiatives are not duplicative but rather have value added would be very appreciated as well.
We should also take a close look at partnerships and how we can leverage partnerships with other actors in the field. Your advice through your active work and engagement with different stakeholders over the years would be very welcome.
I very much look forward to listening from you and to benefiting for your counsel in order to start working together to ensure that women play a central role in mediation efforts in Africa.
Thank you very much.