Nicola was delighted to be able to attend the Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit, which was Co-Chaired by the UK Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon William Hague MP, and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and took place at the ExCel Centre in London 10th– 13th June.
This Summit is the largest gathering ever brought together on the subject of sexual violence in conflict, and Nicola took the opportunity to meet with other delegates, international organisations and representatives from across the world. Nicola also Chaired a panel event to discuss how best to achieve gender equality in conflict-affected areas, and attended the launch of the new National Action Plan (NAP) for Women, Peace and Security which was signed by the Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon William Hague MP, the International Development Secretary, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, and the Defence Secretary, Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP.
The Summit, attended by representatives of international Parliaments and civil society from the UK and conflict-affected countries aims to:
Through her work as Chair of the Associate Parliamentary Group (APG) for Women, Peace and Security, Nicola has been working closely with the Gender Action for Peace and Security group (GAPS) to ensure that the new National Action Plan (NAP) provides the framework for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) on Women, Peace and Security.
Nicola was pleased to Chair a panel discussion on ‘The Needs and Voices of Women: What Women, Peace and Security Should Mean to the World’ along with: Hannah Bond, Director of GAPS, Tovian Estella Nelson, Founder and President of the Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC), Mandira Sharma, a leading human rights activist from Nepal, and Heather Cole, Technical Advisor from the International Rescue Committee.
The panel discussed the importance of ensuring women are part of the peace process and how this can be achieved through integration and consultation, and took questions from the audience about how to overcome the dangers and barriers to gender equality.
Speaking afterwards, Nicola commented:
“We know that gender-based violence is both a cause and a consequence of conflict and I was delighted to be able to attend this important Summit which has shown widespread commitment to ending this horrific form of abuse.
The launch of the new National Action Plan is a key step in strengthening the UK’s ability to reduce the impact of conflict on women and girls and to promote their inclusion in conflict resolution, and I was delighted to see three Secretaries of State come together to sign it. We also had a lively discussion on how we can intervene on a local, national, regional and global level to ensure women’s voices are heard and target resources appropriately.
Sexual violence is not inevitable, and what is clear is that an integrated approach to tackling it is key”