Sheikha Fatima says women can help build peace throughout the world

Mother of the Nation's comments delivered on opening day of UN Conference on Women, Peace and Security in Abu Dhabi

Attendees at the International Conference on Women, Peace and Security conference at the Ritz Carlton, Abu Dhabi.  Ruel Pableo / The National
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Sheikha Fatima, Mother of the Nation, on Thursday said women can play an important role in building peace in countries all over the world, in a speech delivered at the opening of a UN conference in Abu Dhabi.

The high-level event held under the patronage of Sheikh Fatima, will promote the role women play in contributing to peace and conflict prevention around the world.

The conference will also review the achievements and challenges in the introduction of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325. This highlights the significance of equal participation of women and their full involvement in all efforts to maintain peace and security in conflict areas around the world — and also in post-conflict construction.

These successive crises contribute to the acceleration of the loss of these [women's] rights in an unprecedented and worrying manner
Dr Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women

In a speech delivered on Sheikha Fatima's behalf by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan, great-granddaughter of Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, she said the UAE would continue to support women as peacekeepers and military personnel.

"We affirm the continued support of the UAE to the global movement to support women in the peace and security sectors," Sheikha Fatima said.

"In this regard, I would like to express my full confidence that women can take their rightful place in leading the action plan to build peace throughout the world, regardless of how intense or accessible it is in reality, and join the ranks of the future makers, the protectors of the present and the writers of history, so they are able to formulate their role for the renaissance and advancement of their homeland."

Sheikha Fatima said she hoped the conference would "provide an opportunity for reflection and study of what our society and the world has reached, as well as opportunities and challenges for a bright future for all without discrimination and exclusion".

"With the help, minds, and potential of men and women, a renaissance will begin, and nations will emerge," she said.

Sheikha Fatima praised President Sheikh Mohamed and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, for "their relentless efforts to support and empower women and girls in all fields, especially the peace and security sectors at the global level to confirm the pivotal position of women and their acclaimed role in this regard".

She said the tireless work of the General Women’s Union, in co-operation with federal and local authorities, civil society institutions and the private sector, has resulted in the launch of the training programme on women, security and peace.

"The programme aims to consolidate tolerance among peoples of the world through innovative initiatives that promote tolerance, love, and giving, leading to the creation of a cohesive society," Sheikha Fatima said.

In March last year, Sheikha Fatima launched a National Action Plan on women, peace and security, becoming the first GCC nation to do so. The Abu Dhabi conference will seek to achieve consensus on specific procedures to carry out the UAE's action plan.

"This was unprecedented at the level of the GCC countries and an extension of the efforts of the UAE to enhance the participation of women in peace and security," she said in her speech.

"The inauguration of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Centre for Women, Peace and Security in Abu Dhabi will follow this."

Unprecedented challenges

Dr Sima Bahous, the executive director of UN Women, congratulated the UAE for being ranked first regionally in the Gender Equality Index for the year 2020 and for its "remarkable performance" during its membership in the UN Security Council.

She said multiple crises around the world at present were undermining the rights of women and girls.

"Today, we are facing unprecedented challenges in which crises are multiple and intertwined at the regional and international levels, generating an unprecedented number of obstacles that are obstructive to the hopes of millions of women and girls for a more just and equitable future," Dr Bahous said.

"They have been affected more than others by the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate emergency crisis, global food crisis and the consequences of wars and conflicts.

"While women's rights are witnessing some progress in some countries, the world is still witnessing a lot of undermining of women's rights, as these successive crises contribute to the acceleration of the loss of these rights in an unprecedented and worrying manner."

Dr Bahous said there were 305 million people in urgent need of immediate humanitarian assistance globally, the vast majority of whom are women and children.

"In June of this year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that there has been an annual increase during the past decade in the number of people who were forced to flee and leave their countries and homes," she said.

"Today, this is at its highest rates as there are more than 100 million refugees and displaced people, of whom women and children exceed 50 per cent.

"UN Women is providing direct support to them and is helping in responding to humanitarian emergencies in conflict areas around the world."

The three-day conference is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, the General Women's Union, UN Women, the League of Arab States and the Abu Dhabi Ports Group.

Updated: September 08, 2022, 12:38 PM