ASEAN Workshop

Enhancing the Roles of ASEAN Women in Sustainable Peace and Security

Within the ASEAN framework, on 24 November 2020, Norwegian Mission to ASEAN and the Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi, in coordination with the ASEAN Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, held a workshop on Enhancing the Roles of ASEAN Women in Sustainable Peace and Security.

This hybrid event has gathered over 50 participants including many high-level officials from both sides. Keynote speakers included Deputy Foreign Minister, Vietnam ASEAN SOM Leader H.E. Nguyen Quoc Dung; State Secretary of Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs H.E. Marte Ziolkowski; Member, High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation and Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Dr. Noeleen Heyzer; Norway’s Ambassador to ASEAN H.E. Morten Høglund; Norway’s Ambassador to Vietnam H.E. Grete Løchen; Former ASEAN Secretary General, H.E. Ambassador Le Luong Minh; Senior Advisor to the ASEAN 2020 National Secretariat , Vietnam’s Representative at the ASEAN Women Peace Registry (AWPR), H.E. Ambassador Nguyen Nguyet Nga; many high-ranking international guests including , Resident Representative, UNDP Viet Nam, Ms Caitlin Wiesen; ASEAN Embassies in Vietnam, and international guests taking part online.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Foreign Minister, Vietnam ASEAN SOM Leader Mr Nguyen Quoc Dung, affirmed that promoting gender equality and women empowerment remains a top priority of the ASEAN cooperation and of Vietnam as the ASEAN Chair in 2020. He also stated that ASEAN has been attaching importance to women’s role and contribution to the peace processes and in the construction of the ASEAN community.

ASEANState Secretary of Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Marte Ziolkowski is addressing online

In her response, State Secretary of Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms Marte Ziolkowski also noted the ASEAN’s remarkable commitment to the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda and confirmed that Norway has committed to work for women’s rights and inclusion, particularly when it takes its seat as elected member of the Security Council next year. The State Secretary also confirmed that Norway “will work closely with partners in our efforts. Women, peace and security is an area where we have seen cross-regional alliances work in practice. Regional actors, like ASEAN, the AU, SADC and IGAD have adopted the agenda as a priority. There are strong partnerships between civil society and Governments. Partnerships that we have seen from our experience are crucial for driving the agenda forward, for successful implementation”.

All the keynote speakers shared their observations, experiences and assessment of the comprehensive efforts of the ASEAN and international community to promote the WPS agenda, and emerging challenges particularly in the new context. Everyone agreed on women’s crucial role and active contributions to the sustainable peace and security processes, socio-economic growth and particularly in the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

At this event, Dr. Torunn Tryggestad, Director of the PRIO Center for Gender, Peace and Security shared Norwegian experiences with the Women Mediators Networks including Nordic Women Mediators Network, and its cooperation with the ASEAN Women Peace Registry and the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks. Her presentation was received by the audience with strong interest. 

It was agreed that in the coming time, it is necessary to adopt a more comprehensive, inclusive and innovative approach to the cooperation programmes and initiatives on WPS both at the national and international level including within the ASEAN.  This is essential in the context of Covid-19, which has changed everyone’s ways of working, however, could not change the imperative of ensuring women’s inclusion in peace and security.

In her thanking speech from Oslo, Ambassador Grete Løchen highlighted all the take-away messages from the Workshop reaffirming women’s important role in all stages and levels of peace processes, and that there remain much to be done to facilitate women in making contributions to this cause. She said “Inclusive peace processes is not only the right thing to do. It will make our peace efforts more effective and promote sustainable and lasting peace”.