It is an honour for Norway to co-host this distinguished prize. But first and foremost, I would like to congratulate our awardee, Major Seynabou Diouf.
Well-qualified policewomen and men constitute the backbone of the rule of law in any society.
They form the foundation on which public trust in authorities rest.
And the same applies to UN peacekeeping operations.
Major Diouf, and her colleagues who work in the field, are the international community’s most important representatives.
They build trust within, and among, host countries.
The essential role of women in building sustainable peace is indisputable.
Be it female participation in public institutions writ large, or specifically among the ranks of uniformed personnel.
The police are society’s only civilian institution authorized to use force.
They are one tool in the complex, cross-sectional fight against criminality. One which spans: prevention, public order, criminal investigation, crime intelligence and counterterrorism.
Such a critical institution must reflect the diversity of the society it serves in order to maintain its trust.
Gender is among the most important factors in this regard.
Women comprise half of society’s population.
They are therefore an indispensable part of all aspects of police work.
It is crucial that their numbers in the police force match that of society as a whole.
In Norway, there has been a broad, and shared, commitment over several decades to increase women’s participation.
Not just within the police, but generally across all sectors of employment.
Typically male-dominated jobs have slowly but surely adjusted to a new, more inclusive working environment.
Certain things have been easy to change, such as uniforms and gender-sensitive equipment.
Other things require more work, such as ensuring women’s job security during and after pregnancy.
From Norway, to Senegal, to the UN itself, all changes in culture and practice are impossible to realize without political will.
In this respect, Norway welcomes that on the international level, the Secretary-General’s gender parity strategy has been one of the top priorities of the ongoing UN reform initiative.
The purpose of this award is first and foremost to honour accomplished policewomen who have a record of exceptional service.
And Major Diouf is a most worthy recipient. Having proven extraordinary commitment, professionalism and skill through the course of a remarkable career.
One spanning a wide variety of police positions, across numerous UN missions.
In a broader perspective however, this award also extends beyond recognition of its exceptional recipients.
It is also about recognising positive role models. Who in turn will help pave the way, and inspire, even more qualified policewomen to serve the UN.
This overarching goal cannot be achieved solely through policies and resolutions here at UN headquarters- although such work is also important.
To truly take effect, the UN must pursue the objective of gender parity across every level of its operations.
From central leadership, all the way down to field operations. Where we rely on exemplary practitioners such as Major Diouf.
And with that, on behalf of Norway, it is my honour to congratulate her for this highly important and deserved award.