Abu Dhabi will host a high-level International Conference on Women, Peace, and Security from 8 to 10 September. The conference is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, the General Women’s Union (GWU), UN Women, the League of Arab States, and the Abu Dhabi Ports Group.
The event will be held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF).
The conference will review the achievements and challenges relating to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which emphasises the importance of the equal participation of women and their full involvement in all efforts to maintain peace and security in conflict areas around the world and post-conflict construction. The conference also seeks to achieve consensus on specific procedures to implement the UAE’s National Action Plan.
On this occasion, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said that the UAE’s organisation of the International Conference on Women, Peace, and Security stems from its belief in the important role that women play in all fields and their contribution to societies’ prosperity.
His Highness recognised the UAE’s firm commitment to achieving gender equality and enhancing the role of women in society and extended his appreciation to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak for her pivotal role in supporting women as partners in the UAE’s progress and for her patronage of this high-level conference.
Sheikh Abdullah underscored the UAE’s support for the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda under the United Nations framework, especially in light of its current non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council.
Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, said, “We are emphasising the importance of the integration of women in peace and security as a priority to build sustainable and comprehensive peace around the world. Through joint cooperation and continuous work over the years between the Ministry of Defence and UN Women, the League of Arab States, and the GWU, we became more certain that the role of women is essential in conflict recovery because women are a key partner in peacekeeping and post-war negotiations. They are also integral to various development programmes to build stable and secure families in war and conflict areas, which contributes to the success and stability of peace agreements.
Al Bowardi added, “The leadership of the UAE, especially Her Highness Sheikha Fatima, has supported and endorsed the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2018 between the General Women’s Union and UN Women. All stakeholders worked to develop the military capabilities of women and their knowledge of the foundations of peacekeeping. The Ministry of Defence has supported the training of more than 350 women from various Arab, Asian, and African countries at the Khawla Bint Al-Azwar Military School with great success, and we will continue to implement these training programmes to maintain security, peace, and stability.”
Noura Al Suwaidi, Secretary-General of the General Women’s Union, said, “This high-level conference is aligned with the UAE’s vision to strengthen its strategic partnership with UN Women and build the capacities of women in the region and around the world and enable them to play an active role in championing peace and security. We hope that through this important conference we can contribute to creating an empowering environment for women and raise awareness about the link between gender and peacebuilding and its sustainability under the leadership, patronage, and directives of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima.”
She added, “We are pleased to express our full confidence in the capabilities of conference participants to devise practical outputs and recommendations to enhance the influential role of women in building peace around the world.”
Dr. Mouza Al Shehhi, Director of the UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC, stated, “Advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda is a priority for UN Women, as women have long been doing important work in peacebuilding in many conflict zones, but there is a sharp contrast with their participation in formal peace negotiations, where women still largely do not play any formal roles. Between 1992 and 2019, on average, only 13% of negotiators were women, although studies show that women’s participation increases opportunities for sustainable peace and leads to agreements containing more provisions that benefit women and men equally.”
She added, “The conference aims to bring together decision-makers and stakeholders from different countries to analyse the role of women in peace and security in line with the objectives of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. It is established that strengthening the role of women in building peace is an entry point for the advancement of societies that suffer from conflicts and enhances stability during post-conflict construction, and we hope to agree to specific measures to accelerate women’s meaningful participation.”
The conference, sponsored by Abu Dhabi Ports Group, will see the participation of international decision-makers, senior officials, diplomats, and advocates concerned with Women, Peace and Security issues in the Arab region and worldwide.
It also emphasises the significance of women’s role in mediation processes, thereby supporting women leaders on the ground, especially in Africa and Asia, and aims to discuss ways to promote gender equality in the humanitarian field and mobilise women’s participation in conflict prevention while increasing their participation in peacebuilding. The conference will also highlight the UAE’s efforts in Women, Peace, and Security and outline specific procedures for the UAE’s national plan to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
The conference will address ways to achieve the ambitious goals set by the United Nations to increase the participation of women in UN peacekeeping forces, such as increasing their percentage in units with military missions to approximately 15% and in forces with police missions to 20% by 2028.
Moreover, it will build consensus on specific measures to promote equality and equal opportunities, highlighting the challenges facing women participating in peacekeeping operations and ways to enhance their full involvement in all efforts to maintain security at all levels of decision-making and protect them from violence, including sexual and gender-based violence.
The conference emphasises the need to involve women leaders from civil society in the National Action Programme to implement Security Council Resolution 1325 and overcome obstacles to women’s integration in decision-making.
The conference reviews the GWU’s efforts, under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, in supporting the Women, Peace and Security agenda globally, which resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Defence, the GWU, and UN Women. The “Initiative of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak to Empower Women in Peace and Security” was launched as a result, in addition to the UAE’s National Plan to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Fatima bint Mubarak Centre for Women and Peace and Security, as well as the website of Her Highness’ initiative.
In 2000, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 was adopted, establishing the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, thereby acknowledging women’s leadership in promoting international peace and security, as well as their contributions to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding.
In 1993, women made up 1% of deployed uniformed personnel. However, after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the number of women in peacekeeping roles rapidly rose. Female staff officers and military observers climbed from 12.3% to 17.8% between 2018 and 2021, while female police officers increased from 22.3% to 30.4%, and women in established police units increased from 9% to 14.8%.