High Level Official Launch of the Rapid Response Window of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund

High Level Official Launch of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund - Rapid Response Window

Intervention by Mrs Sophie Wilmès, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, Foreign Trade - Belgium


Distinguished representatives,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured to speak at the launch of the Rapid Response Window of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.

We all know the reasons why women’s participation is essential. We all pledged to increase our efforts for the advancement of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Attention for this agenda is increasing: we see a steady rise in the number of National and Regional Action Plans, commitments, debates, resolutions and reports.

Yet, more than 20 years after the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325, progresses on women’s participation in peace processes are slow, uneven and insufficient. Something had to be done.

During its mandate as an elected member of the Security Council, Belgium worked to strengthen the normative Women, Peace and Security framework. Belgium also actively promoted participation of women in Security Council meetings. We remember Ms Wafa’a Alsaidy intervention, who urged countries to end support to military operations in Yemen. There was Ms Nujeen Mustafa, describing the challenges for women with disabilities in armed conflicts. And many other women.

Peace agreements are shaping the future of a country. Women should be at the table. Women should be listened to. Their inclusion and meaningful participation is crucial to build durable peace and sustainable societies. And they should be supported.

I am therefore encouraged by the new tool launched today and congratulate the UN for its conception. The fund is flexible and answers to a very clear need. It is embedded in local contexts and offers concrete opportunities to women and women’s organisations.

It is one of those tools where you wonder how it can be it was not developed earlier.

For all those reasons, Belgium is proud to be a donor of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund and its Rapid Response Window. We hope this contribution is going to have a leverage effect on other contributions and increased action.

We owe it to Wafa’a Alsaidy, to Nujeen Mustafa and the many other women leaders, peacebuilders and human rights defenders worldwide whose voice should be heard.

Thank you.