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UN must include more women in peace talks: UAE Filed on February 18, 2020 | Last updated on February 18, 2020 at 05.37 am
UN, include, women, peace talks,  Gender parity, Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, UN Charter

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Today, less than 10 per cent of women are negotiators and mediators in peace and conflict situations.

Gender parity is not enshrined even in the founding document of the United Nations, and the UN should step up efforts to include more women in conflict resolutions for lasting peace, Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, UAE's Permanent Representative to the UN, has said.

"The UN Charter forged at the end of World War II actually describes the secretary-general as a 'he'. If you look at where we (the UN) have come today, you can see where we have had to move the dial. Documentation does matter," the UN ambassador said during a session at the Global Women's Forum on Monday. Nusseibeh said the current secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, pursues a feminist leadership and is committed to ensuring 50-50 gender parity at high levels of UN agencies.

However, the UN has to step up efforts to include more women in conflict resolution and negotiations for lasting peace, she said.

"Today, less than 10 per cent of women are negotiators and mediators in peace and conflict situations, and it is for the UN and the Security Council to step in and make sure it is a higher figure."

She said studies have proven that peace agreements could last 35 years or more by adding women to the negotiating table.

"Women bring the full spectrum of considerations when they negotiate a peace settlement. It's not just about power sharing, it's also about access to justice, social services, medical health and facilities, and education. That is why it is such a core part of the UAE's foreign policy objective."

The session also featured Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Mehairi, Minister of State for Food Security; Rania Al Mashat, Egypt's Minister of International Cooperation; Mimoza Kusari Lila, Kosovo's former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Industry. CNN's Business Emerging Markets Editor, John Defterios, moderated the discussion.

Closing gender gap

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the event, the ambassador said the 50 per cent quota system implemented by the UAE in its parliament was an effective and quicker way to close the gender gap.

She said that while a good number of women stood for FNC elections, "societally, structurally perhaps, they did not have the same access as men had to social networks and to other means of communicating. So in order to close that gendered gap in society, the leadership decided to go the quota route".

"I think the quota route is a really effective bridge to bringing up women to the decision-making table, whether or not that happens through the natural process."

The ambassador said the rest of the world can emulate the UAE example when it comes to institutionalising gender parity.

"In the UAE, a legislative framework exists. There is a constitutional framework that says men and women are equal and should be paid equally. There is leadership with an attitude of inclusion that men and women complement each other whether in the Cabinet, judiciary, police or education sector. There is partnership role for men and women in society."

Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a journalist by profession and a humanist by passion. Her cluttered desk is not indicative of her state of mind.

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