Panel Discussion urges more involvement of women in peacebuilding

10 Mar 2016

Panel Discussion urges more involvement of women in peacebuilding

Without significant input from women in peacebuilding, the Cyprus peace process can only partially achieve its goals, speakers at a panel discussion to mark International Women’s Day said on 10 March.

Titled ‘How Women Make Peacebiuilding Better’, the discussion – organised by UNFICYP and the Home for Cooperation under the auspices of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Gender Equality – took place at the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia. Moderated by public relations expert Mary Pyrgos, the main speakers were journalist and author Sevgül Uludağ, civil and coastal engineer Xenia I. Loizidou and Fatma Güven-Lisaniler, professor of economics.

“In countries like Cyprus, where the guns have fallen silent, peace means much more than the absence of violence – it means an inclusive political process, a commitment to human rights in the post-war period and an attempt to deal with issues of justice and reconciliation,” said Ms. Lisa Buttenheim, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus, as she opened the event.

“Research comprehensively demonstrates that the participation of women at all levels is crucial for the effectiveness, success and sustainability of peace processes and peacebuilding efforts,” she added. “Mediators, facilitators and leadership in peace operations must be proactive in including women in all aspects of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.”

Ms. Uludağ reminded the audience of the significant contribution women have made over the years to peacebuilding in Cyprus, while Ms. Loizidou spoke about the need for ‘outside the box’ thinking and innovative approaches to peacebuilding. Ms. Güven-Lisaniler called for meaningful involvement of women in the peace process, noting that homogeneity in peacebuilding risks arriving at an ill-defined solution.

The well-attended discussion was concluded by a lively interaction with the audience and a reception at the Home for Cooperation. The event is the second in a series of discussions aimed at illuminating the gender challenges in Cyprus, and contributing to improvements in how these challenges are addressed. The first event was a discussion on sexual violence, held in December 2015.