Nordic Women Mediators Annual Meeting in Iceland
Statement of Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs
18. Nóvember 2021
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Nordic Women Mediators annual meeting here in Iceland.
We are proud to be your hosts this year and grateful for your participation.
Gender equality and women‘s empowerment are at the core of Iceland‘s Foreign Policy and Strategy for Development Cooperation.
This includes the Women, Peace and Security agenda, which Iceland is firmly committed to - both at home and in international fora.
Iceland developed its first National Action Plan in 2008 and was, together with the other Nordics, among the first countries to do so.
We have also underlined the importance of National Action Plans in our international development cooperation and worked with our partners in designing their own Women, Peace and Security strategies.
In Mozambique, for example, we worked with UN Women and Norway, to help develop the country’s first National Action Plan in 2018.
And we have recently begun the same process with the Government of Malawi, working in partnership with UN Women and local civil society organisations.
Through our Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme we have also been training gender experts from crisis affected areas, to strengthen their professional capacities to implement projects related to gender equality in their home countries.
As you all know very well, one of the fundamental aspects of the Women, Peace and Security agenda is the critical importance of women’s participation at all levels of decision making.
Indeed, we need to make sure that we are not only counting numbers. Women must have the opportunity to participate in an active and meaningful way.
The Nordic Women Mediator Network’s mission helps drive this agenda, by promoting the inclusion of women in all phases of peace processes, as a key element in achieving sustainable peace.
The Network can also make an important contribution when it comes to ensuring that the Women, Peace and Security agenda becomes integral to peace-building efforts right from the outset, but not reverted to as an afterthought.
Let me conclude by thanking you all for your commitment and for all that you have done to help drive progress on this important agenda.
I wish you a fruitful meeting.