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Ministry News

“5th International Conference on Action with Women and Peace” Takes Place

Date
2023-12-04
hit
8291

“5th International Conference on Action with Women and Peace” Takes Place

1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs successfully hosted the “fifth International Conference on Action with Women and Peace” on November 30.

 

2. The conference marked the fifth of its kind held as part of the “Action with Women and Peace Initiative” launched by the Foreign Ministry in 2018 to contribute to international discussions on women, peace and security (WPS). The event brought together about 40 guest speakers and some 300 participants, including relevant government officials of major countries as well as members of international organizations and civil societies, who engaged in in-depth discussions on ways to promote discussions on the WSP agenda at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

 

3. In his opening remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin stressed that it is important to protect women and for women to participate in peace processes in order to build sustainable peace at a time when the world faces an escalation in conflicts and crises. He went on to relay the commitment of the Republic of Korea (ROK) government as a global pivotal state to realizing the WPS agenda.

 

4. Foreign Minister Park went on to share the ROK government's plan to make efforts to advance the WPS agenda at the UNSC as one of its members from 2024 through 2025 as well as its plan to protect women under conflict and support women's participation in peace processes with the Action with Women and Peace Fund, which will be launched next year to seek changes not only through the UNSC but also in conflict-affected regions.

 

5. Foreign Minister Park Jin also commended the courage of female human rights activists who are working to improve the human rights situation not only in North Korea but around the world.

 

6. Foreign Minister Park's opening remarks were followed by congratulatory remarks by high-level officials of such countries as Bangladesh, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Norway, Qatar, Slovenia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States, as well as major international organizations including the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), who underscored the need for women’s participation in peace building across the world.

 

7. In her congratulatory remarks, Co-founder and Deputy Chair of the Elders Graça Machel, who has been leading the protection of women and the promotion of women's participation in politics, pointed out that although it has been more than 20 years since the adoption of UNSC Resolution 1325 in 2000, women’s role in conflict resolution and peace negotiation processes is still limited. Tawakkol Karman, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, likewise underlined in her congratulatory remarks the need for the international community to muster commitment to implementing the WSP agenda.

 

8. The opening session was followed by session I on “Promoting the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda at the UN Security Council,” session II on “Promoting and Protecting Women’s Participation in Frontline Peace Processes,” a special session on “Human Rights Situation in North Korea in the Context of the WPS Agenda” and a youth session on “Impact of Online Gender-based Violence on Women and Peace.”

 

9. Session I was chaired by President of Ewha Womans University Kim Eun Mee and joined by speakers from international organizations such as the UN Women, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the African Union (AU), as well as the International Peace Institute (IPI), the NGO Working Group on WPS, academic circles and civil societies. The participants discussed specific ways for each UNSC member state to bolster the implementation of the UNSC norms including stepping up the application of the WSP agenda in conflict situations.

 

10. Session II was chaired by Senior Program Director of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) Jasmin Nario Galace and attended by members of civil societies of the Philippines, Malaysia, Kenya, Liberia, Indonesia and the ROK who have contributed to women's participation in peace processes and to the promotion thereof on the ground. The session covered the need to strengthen the link with people on the ground so that the WSP agenda can advance based on the voices from women working at conflict frontlines.

 

11. In particular, this year's conference included a special session on women's human rights situation in North Korea in the context of the WPS agenda. Ambassador for International Cooperation on North Korean Human Rights Lee Shin-wha delivered a keynote speech followed by remarks by Representative of OHCHR Seoul James Heenan, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and Girls, its Causes and Consequences Reem Alsalem, former Gender Adviser for the UN Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights in the DPRK Siobhan Hobbs, author of The Hard Road Out Chai Seh-lynn and Associated Press’ former Pyongyang Bureau Chief Jean Lee, who relayed voices of women in North Korea and women defectors therefrom.

 

12. For the first time ever, this year's conference featured a youth session to learn about perspectives of youth, future leaders of the WSP agenda. Invited to the session as guest speakers were activists from the Philippines, Vietnam and other Indo-Pacific countries as well as winners in the 2023 Global Youth Video Competition. They discussed impact of online gender-based violence on women and peace and youth's efforts to tackle such violence.

 

13. The conference, held ahead of the ROK's membership of the UNSC from next year, is seen to have served as an opportunity to inform the international community of the ROK government's commitment to contributing to the WSP agenda and to enhance the understanding of the youth and other people of the ROK on the agenda.