Joint statement in connection with the Security Dialogue on Women, Peace and Security

Forum for Security Cooperation 21.6.2023. As delivered by Vesa Häkkinen, Permanent Representative of Finland to the OSCE.

Madame Chair,

Finland aligns fully with the statement by the European Union, but please allow me to make a few additional remark on behalf of my country, as well as on behalf of Belgium, Iceland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the United States of America.

I would like to thank our excellent panelists for the interesting discussion. We salute Bulgaria for placing Women, Peace and Security on the agenda, and for linking the discussion to the OSCE’s conflict cycle.

Women, Peace and Security about involving everyone in building and maintaining security. In line with the motto of our chair, North Macedonia: it’s about people.

A year ago, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of its peaceful neighbor, Ukraine.

In the face of this horrendous attack on their lives, homes and families, women were among the first responders. They have been defending their country and providing support to their fellow citizens.

At the same time, we know that women and girls are particularly vulnerable during conflict and displacement.

Women, Peace and Security is about recognizing the agency of women in conflict settings, and doing what we can to support it.

But it is also about recognizing vulnerabilities, and focusing on providing protection and support.

Russia’s war has underlined the need for us to do more to support the women of Ukraine, also in the OSCE.

Madame Chair,

In my brief remarks today, I would like to focus on one of the questions in your excellent concept note:

How can we strengthen the implementation of Women, Peace and Security Agenda throughout the OSCE’s work on crisis management?

The OSCE has clear commitments on implementing UNSCR 1325 throughout the entire conflict cycle. At the Stockholm Ministerial in 2021, fifty-three of our participating States recommitted “to the WPS agenda as a cornerstone in achieving comprehensive and sustainable peace in the security in the OSCE area.

We also have very useful tools to help us with this implementation. I would like to mention in particular the 2019 OSCE Toolkit on the Inclusion of Women and Effective Peace Processes as a very useful guide.

Effective peace processes are inclusive peace processes. This goes beyond including different parts of societies, but also bridging work done in different sectors to advance sustainable peace.

Besides peace processes, the Toolkit gives practical guidelines for including women in security issues more generally.

The Toolkit is centered on three main elements, with actionable proposals for each:

- The direct and meaningful participation of women in peace processes;
- Linking different processes for more inclusive and robust outcomes;
- And the inclusion of gender perspectives in conflict analyses

As we consider what can we do to strengthen the implementation of the WPS Agenda, the Toolkit gives us practical answers. It entails recommendations concerning training, appointments, conflict analysis, data collection and inclusion of civil society. It features easy-to-use checklists and questions for practitioners.

The toolkit has not received the attention it deserves. It was published right before the world went into lockdown due to the Covid pandemic. We encourage all OSCE structures and participating states to consider how to apply the Toolkit.

We think it is useful to show that in the OSCE, we do not need new consensus commitments to be able do more on Women, Peace and Security. The Toolkit is full of examples of how we can do more within our current mandates.

Madame Chair,

Women are still underrepresented in all fields of the security sector, in non-proliferation and disarmament, in civilian crisis management and peacekeeping forces.

There is abundant evidence to show that more equal participation of women pays off. It will ensure longer-lasting results in peace processes and security sector reforms.

We remain committed to keep WPS high on the OSCE agenda, as embracing women participation and gender perspectives are ways to deliver for the communities and people.