On 15 September, Baroness Stern, Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security chaired a meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to share views and expertise on the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) and the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.
The meeting provided an opportunity for UK parliamentarians, civil society organisations and members of the diplomatic community to engage with Ministers from across Government on both WPS and PSVI issues. The challenges and opportunities highlighted during the discussion will be used to inform the UK’s position on the High Level Review of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which will take place in October this year.
The meeting demonstrated the Government’s joined-up approach in these areas, allowing Ministers from key Departments to evaluate the success of the UK’s work so far, and share expertise with civil society experts in the field, in order to inform future activity.
In attendance were Baroness Anelay, Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict; Lt General Gordon Messenger, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Strategy and Operations) and MoD Military Champion for WPS and PSVI; Baroness Verma, International Development Minister and Baroness Stern, the Vice-Chair of the All Parliamentary Party Group on Women, Peace and Security. The meeting was attended by civil society organisations, parliamentarians and members of the diplomatic community in London.
Following the meeting, Baroness Stern said:
There is substantial cross-party support in both houses of Parliament for the Government’s policy on women, peace and security. We welcome the UN High Level Review this October and shall be glad to see the UK Government making commitments to increase women’s participation in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peace-building, backed by political will and UK capacity.
Baroness Anelay said:
To achieve our ambitious goals on Women, Peace and Security, we need political will. Our National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security sets out our tri-Departmental ambition. I am proud of what we have achieved so far both in terms of influencing the international debate and in terms of tangible project work in priority countries and we need to continue this momentum. The High Level Review provides a unique opportunity for change. Global attention is focussed, and we must make the most of this to implement fully the provisions of SCR 1325.
Baroness Verma said:
Putting girls and women at the centre of our work will ensure we are tackling some of the most difficult issues in some of the most challenging places across the world.
Britain will not stand by while millions of girls and women suffer needlessly. That is why over the last five years we have improved access to security and justice for over 10 million girls and women, and why we will continue to drive international efforts to help millions more live free from violence and inequality across the globe.
General Messenger said:
It is our duty to use our operational experience and global reach to fight for fundamental human rights of women and girls and make an impact. We are not looking for a short-term solution to this overarching problem; we are building up a culture through training and engagement, one that reaches far beyond our borders, where WPS and PSVI are an intrinsic part how the MOD and others operate.