CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
First, we join others in complementing the two chairs for setting the important issue of Women, Peace and Security on the Joint FSC - PC agenda.
We thank the speakers for sharing their perspectives and experience on this topic. Norway believes that inclusion of both women and men in all aspects of life is the only way to a safe, secure and prosperous future.
Our human capital is vital for our prosperity. In this respect, all talents are needed. The best heads and hands, regardless of gender or other identities, are needed to secure and sustain the competitiveness of the economy, the rate of success in negotiations, the efficiency of our police and armed forces and the quality of leadership at every level. It is a matter of increasing the talent pool, but also about ensuring that we have access to different perspectives and experiences.
Our civil servants, our police and troops should reflect the population they are set to serve. Mixed teams build ownership and enhance creativity. They increase trust and credibility and thus also efficiency. Our experience is that making good use of qualified women in the defence sector, ensures that the armed forces are capable to operate effectively in meeting challenges from multiple, complex threats and destabilizers.
Presently Norway is implementing its fourth national action plan on women, peace and security. This demonstrates our strong commitment to the cause. But it also reflects that this agenda must be pursued systematically and over time to give results.
Universal conscription is one step on the way for Norway. Currently 29% of the conscripts are female, the overall number of women in the Armed Forces is 19%.
Surveys show that harassment and sexual violence still constitute problems within our forces and that we still have a good way ahead before full equality between women and men is reached. The Norwegian Armed Forces continue to work tirelessly towards a force where all soldiers feel safe and secure, creating an environment where each member can concentrate fully on using their individual abilities in a strong and united force.
Norway whole heartedly supported the joint statement on the UNSCR 1325 given at the MC in Tirana, supported by 52 participating states. The joint statement lists several areas the FSC could discuss and develop within our mandate. We regret that a OSCE decision could not be reached on this topic.
However, the FSC already has a role in supporting the implementation of this and other related resolutions in the OSCE area. We committed to this on the OSCE ministerial in 2011. Sharing best practices and lessons learned in this field benefits us all. More state parties should voluntarily report through the annual questionnaire on the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security.
We strongly support the work being done as part of the OSCE Scholarship for Peace and Security training program for young professionals. The Women in the First Dimension Network, Men Engage and other networks can also produce good results. These tools must be used to their full potential.
We commend the hard and important work of the OSCE Gender section and the CPC. We must make sure that they have full access to the whole organization and that all of us use their expertise to the full potential.
To conclude Chair,
Gender equality in the Armed Forces makes the Forces better, more competent and more effective.
This also goes for the OSCE as a whole. Equality and inclusion results in more prosperous, sustainable and secure societies.
Let us try to agree on how to move this agenda. A good starting point could be implementation of the recommendations in the Joint Statement from the Tirana ministerial last December.
Equality between women and men is important because it is right, but also because it is smart.