A tribute to United Nations Peace Keepers and the Women of Peace in Myanmar

By Norwegian Ambassador Tone Tinnes.  Ambassador Tinnes has served as the Norwegian Ambassador to Myanmar since 2016 and she will finish a four-year term to Myanmar in August. Norway is also this year a candidate for the UN Security Council in 2021-2022.  29 May is the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. This day gives us a chance to pay tribute to their contribution and to honor the more than 3900 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948. The challenges faced by our peacekeepers are this year even greater due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The theme “Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace” is chosen to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.  I would like to use the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers to shine a spotlight on the women who play a critical role in working for peace in Myanmar. During my four-year service as the Norwegian Ambassador to Myanmar, I have been fortunate to meet many of these remarkable women. They have left everlasting impressions of courage, wisdom and hope. In the Norwegian foreign policy, Myanmar is given priority in terms of cooperation within the framework of UNSCR 1325 Women, Peace and Security.  Peacekeeping and the peace process are part of the same continuum. The cooperation with Myanmar on the promotion of women’s inclusion and meaningful participation in the peace process has been very rewarding. This is not only important work, it is also necessary: Women’s participation in conflict prevention and resolution improves outcomes, before, during and after conflict. Evidence tells us, if women’s organizations participate in peace agreement discussions – agreements are 64% less likely to fail.   Norway is a longstanding and consistent supporter of UN peacekeeping. Like Myanmar, Norway also had one of its nationals serving as the Secretary-General - Trygve Lie was UN’s first Secretary-General. Norway is now a candidate for a seat in the Security Council in 2021-22. If Norway in June is elected to the Council, our commitment to global peacekeeping and women, peace and security will be further highlighted. We want the UN to succeed in undertaking this increasingly challenging endeavour.  We also fully share the belief that mandate implementation will be enhanced with more female peacekeepers and a better gender balance at all levels. Norway is convinced that for UN member states to be able to deploy women internationally, a strong national base of female candidates is necessary. We have made this a priority for many years, and we see clear results. We need to actively promote women for leadership positions, both nationally and for UN operations. This is important both to access the valuable resources that women represent, and to provide role models that can encourage more women to follow suit. 29 May we express our gratitude for the hard work being done by UN Peace keepers. I would like to reinforce this gratitude with a special acknowledgment to the women in Myanmar who, at the grassroots and in their communities, continue to work for peace and reconciliation. Their contribution is invaluable and should be strengthened by including more women into the peace and decision-making processes. Photo Credit- UN

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