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Slovenia in favor of integrating gender perspective into the OSCE's politico-military dimension

Statement by Ambassador Andrej Benedejčič, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Slovenia, on "The Role of Women in Conflict Resolution" at the 826th Meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation, Vienna, 20 July 2016

Mr. Chairperson,

I would like to welcome the Minister of State and the Prime Minister's Special Representative, The Right Honorable Baroness Anelay, at today's meeting of the FSC.  I would also like to use this opportunity to thank her for moderating the panel on ending sexual violence in conflict at last year's Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia.

My country fully subscribes to the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union.  In addition, I would like to make a few remarks in my capacity as the new Chair of the OSCE MenEngage Network.  I agree with the noble Baroness that promoting women's participation in conflict resolution and in political life more broadly is the right thing to do for the society at large.  In fact, in Slovenia we have been able to observe in practice, especially with KFOR in Kosovo and with ISAF in Afghanistan, that increasing the number of women in crisis management processes and peacekeeping missions leads to better quality of mediation.  We have also witnessed the important contribution that women make to our defense system as a whole.  Throughout the past decade, the percentage of female members of the Slovenian Armed Forces has remained between 15% and 16%, making it one of the top-ranking militaries in terms of female representation in its ranks.  I am also happy to report that, as of last year, the Slovenian Ministry of Defense is once again headed by a woman.   

I share the view of the noble Baroness that UNSCR 1325 issues should feature prominently throughout OSCE decision making and that there needs to be focus on an exchange of best practices to help promote their implementation.  I would therefore like to inform you that I intend to invite to Vienna the Senior Officer for Equal Opportunities from our General Staff with a view to raising the awareness of the importance of gender mainstreaming in the security sector.  She is not only active within the Slovenian Armed Forces, but also in our neighborhood.  Last year, for example, she carried out trainings in the field of gender equality for the leading representatives of the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense and the Army of Montenegro.  Her experiences should be therefore interesting for all of us.

Before concluding, I would like to underline the importance that my authorities attach to integrating the gender perspective into all OSCE dimensions and to reiterate Slovenia's support for the development of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.  In this connection, let me point out that promoting the role of women in conflict resolution and strengthening the efforts for their protection in conflict situations is one of the goals of the new Slovenian National Program on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men for the period 2015–2020. 

Finally, I would like to commend the Polish FSC Chairmanship for convening this Security Dialogue, which represents an important contribution in the efforts to integrate gender perspective into the OSCE's politico-military dimension.       

Thank you.