UN head of mission, Colin Stewart, believes the important contribution of women to Cyprus’ reunification in the past has often gone unappreciated.
“We tend to emphasise that women’s meaningful participation needs to be improved – and this remains true.
“But we must also recognise that the number and role of women in past Cyprus talks was nonetheless important, more than in any other UN-facilitated process.
“And this has set a precedent here in Cyprus which is the basis upon which the leaders have committed to continue to ensure women’s participation through their Action Plan,” Stewart said.
Two decades ago, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1325, recognising for the first time the integral role of women’s leadership in achieving sustainable peace and security.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has made the Women, Peace, and Security agenda a “top priority” of the UN system, placing women and girls at the forefront of the peace and security nexus and emphasising their central role in global peace.
“For the United Nations, women’s participation in peacemaking efforts is not merely a matter of inclusion, equality, and fairness; it is also smart peacemaking,” Stewart said.
“It is therefore important for us to not only acknowledge these contributions and their potential to bring about real change but also to highlight them in Cyprus and beyond, to inspire future generations of women to seek an integral role in shaping their future.”
Cypriot leaders agreed on an “Action Plan to ensure women’s complete, equal, and meaningful participation in the settlement process – or an eventual settlement process – in Cyprus and the Security Council welcomed this important step”.
The Action Plan provides practical recommendations to ensure women’s participation – at the negotiating table, in the working groups and on the technical committees; and that a gender perspective is included in the settlement process.
“The development of this plan was carried out by the members of the Technical Committee on Gender Equality – facilitated by the Good Offices Mission and UNFICYP, thereby highlighting the commitment demonstrated by both sides in addressing this matter.”
Stewart added: “Progress on this goal will neither be achieved nor sustained without the unwavering perseverance and leadership demonstrated by all women”.
He addressed a UN event aimed to acknowledge and celebrate women’s contributions as members of the negotiating team, political and legal advisors, members of the working groups and technical committees.
“The United Nations looks forward to supporting the two sides in this effort. The Technical Committee started last week, bringing together members of civil society to explore women’s participation in peacemaking.