The International Conference on Women, Peace and Security (ICWPS) was inaugurated by 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), and the "Mother of the Nation".
During her speech, Sheikha Fatima welcomed Dr. Sima Sami Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women, who is on her first official visit to the UAE as Head of UN Women.
Co-organised by the General Women’s Union, UN Women and Ministry of Defence, ICWPS, the event is taking place in Abu Dhabi from September 8 till 10.
The opening session saw participation from several high-profile officials, including Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, Dr. Sima Sami Bahous, Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations (UN), Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (Arab League) and Head of the Social Affairs Sector, Dr. Nayef Falah Al Hajraf, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Abdullah Al Hamli, CEO, Economic Cities and Free Zones, Abu Dhabi Ports Group.
Al Bowardi said, "The convening of this conference is a result of the existing cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the UAE Ministry of Defence, the General Women’s Union, UN Women and the League of Arab States, emphasising the efforts of the UAE to advance the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and our support, as a major partner, in implementing it, and empowering women in the military and security fields, in addition to their other roles."
Noura Al Suwaidi, Secretary-General of the General Women's Union, said, "In line with the vision of the General Women’s Union, we seek to proactively empower women in all sectors and fields, including peace and security, and to strengthen dialogue and drive partnerships that help us achieve security, stability, and development for societies worldwide."
Dr. Bahous said, "UN Women and its partners around the world are striving to advance the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, but we need the international community, including all regional organisations, to stand in solidarity with us, so that we can fully fulfill the commitments we made to women and girls in conflict areas and survivors of violence. We must listen carefully to the voices of women; this is our only way to restore balance, and gain opportunities for peace that will not be achieved without this synergy, so let us stand together for our common values. The peace and security we aspire to will only be possible when women play a central role."
Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Ports Group, expressed his deep gratitude to Sheikha Fatima for her patronage of this important event, which symbolises the position of the UAE and its leadership on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
Day one of the conference featured three panel discussions. The first session, titled "Women Driving Peace", focused on the current global landscape of the WPS Agenda, assessing barriers and the importance of converting resolutions to solutions. The session showcased the leadership of women in conflict and post-conflict zones, presented the most prominent successes and challenges, facing the successful implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
The second session, which was held under the title "Women Transforming Security: Changing the Landscape of Peacekeeping", reviewed the status of women in UN peacekeeping forces, the main obstacles and challenges, in addition to celebrating women's contributions to the security sector, highlighting success stories and experiences of some of the cadets.
The final session covered inclusive peace processes and how the participation of women in political processes and conflict resolutions is proven to result in more sustainable and longer lasting peace.
Day two conference programme will include four sessions, and will be inaugurated by Dr. Mouza Al Shehhi, Director of the UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC, while the third day will witness a high-level Ministerial Conference on Promoting Women’s Role in Conflict-affected and Post-conflict Societies, led by League of Arab States with the participation of international decision-makers, senior officials, diplomats and advocates concerned with Women, Peace and Security.
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