On 8th June, the APPG on Women, Peace and Security (APPG WPS) hosted an event at the House of Lords in coordination with Embassy of Georgia and Women in Diplomacy Network London (WDN). The event gave an opportunity to hear views on Women, Peace and Security from some of the women Ambassadors with a special focus on the Black Sea Region and East Europe.
Flick Drummond MP opened the event and welcomed everyone to the Houses of Parliament. HE Sophie Katsarava MBE, Ambassador of Georgia to the UK, President of Women in Diplomacy London, also welcomed everyone on behalf of WDN and talked about how she had made Women, Peace and Security a focus for her Presidency.
HE High Commissioner of Maldives, Dr. Farahanaz Faizal, then took the chair. Ben Mellor, Director of India & Indo Pacific Ocean Directorate at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), spoke first and sent good wishes from Lord Ahmad, Minister of Minister for South Asia, North Africa, the United Nations. He also talked about ongoing work to develop the fifth UK National Action Plan on UN Security Council 1325 and other Government’s work on this agenda including the Network of Mediators that has been set up; work through the UK Ambassadors in post and November conference on the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI).
He was followed by HE Linda Scott, High Commissioner of Nambia who spoke about how there were lots of women role models in the countries around the Black Sea. She then went on to talk about the role of Namibia in helping to get UN Security Council 1325 introduced in 2000 and how it was especially important to Namibia as they had 25 years of war. Namibia has established a Women’s Centre for Peace and there is much focus on ensuring that women have adequate representation at international events. She finished by emphasising the importance of educating children to speak about humanity, peace and security.
HE Sophie Katsarava MBE, Ambassador of Georgia to the UK, then spoke. She condemned Russian aggression and explained how Georgia had previously been a victim of this and how two regions of Georgia are still occupied by Russia. In 2011 Georgia implemented the Women, Peace and Security agenda and at the moment their 4th National Action Plan for 2022-2024 is being consulted on. She talked about how Georgia is very committed to this agenda as well as highlighting the importance of consulting civil society. She also spoke about the role of women’s participation which can result in life changing situations and cited an example where women negotiators had managed to alter a Russian dictator in the occupied states to enable children to learn in the Georgian language, rather than Russian which was being imposed.
The final speaker was HE Daniela- Laura Popescu, Ambassador of Romania to the UK. She spoke about the challenges to Europe’s peace and security and emphasised the need for women to design the world. She pointed out that women often have more empathy which is a much-needed tool in a post conflict situation. She talked about excellent Romanian women role models and said that Romania now had 34% of women heads of diplomatic missions .
A Question and Answer session followed, with excellent participation including from the Ambassadors from South Sudan and Slovenia. Baroness Hodgson thanked the speakers and everyone for attending.
The event was very well attended including by a number of women Ambassadors as well as members of the diplomatic community in London.