UNGA71: Women’s Leadership and Gender Perspectives on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism

9/20/2016 // Opening statement by Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, 20 September 2016.

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Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

A very warm welcome to this meeting on the gender dimensions of terrorism and violent extremism. I am pleased to convene this meeting side-by-side with my cohosts, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Sanam Anderlini.

A particular welcome to partners from civil society. Every day, you are working courageously towards a world free from violence fuelled by extremist ideologies.

Women and girls have been both victims and perpetrators of terrorism. But women have also been among the first to raise the alarm and urge action to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism.

We are here today to discuss how can foster a better understanding of the gender aspects of terrorism and violent extremism. Because we need these insights – and we need women toparticipate. This is the only way we can get the whole picture. To complete our analysis. To arrive at sound solutions.

The statistics are clear. Terrorism and violent extremism have been on the rise globally. But the figures themselves do not tell the individual stories of the suffering of innocent people. They do not reflect the horror and despair experienced by the victims of terrorism and their families. The shock and the fear that we feel when we hear of these attacks. The threat terrorism poses to our way of life.

As governments, we have a clear responsibility to fight terrorism and intensify our efforts to prevent violent extremism. However, this cannot be done in isolation. Partnerships are paramount to our success.

We need to work closely with civil society, with women, with youth, with faith leaders, and with local communities. This was the clear message from the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism held here in New York last year. Just one year after it was formed, the Women´s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) is already a force to be reckoned with. WASL is an independent alliance of women-led civil society actors working for peaceful societies – and against all forms of extremism. I am pleased to announce that Norway has just signed a two-year agreement with WASL.

Similarly, I am pleased to announce that Norway has just signed an agreement with the production company FUUSE and Deeyah Khan.

The importance of gender has been underscored in the documents that guide our efforts. The Security Council adopted resolution 2242 on women, peace and security in October last year, and the General Assembly endorsed the Secretary-General´s Plan of Action for Preventing Violent Extremism in June earlier this year.

During today’s meeting, we will hear brave female leaders share experiences of preventing and countering threats. And jointly we will identify concrete solutions that will strengthen our efforts. In order to succeed, we need to listen to the women and men in civil society who are working on the ground to prevent and counter violent extremism.

Along with WASL, it is a great pleasure to launch a mechanism that will help us do just that – by providing a space for regular exchange of experiences and ideas between women´s organisations and governments. By launching the mechanism – the Global Solutions Exchange on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism – we are creating a vital tool to overcome the violence and hatred of our adversaries. I look forward to listening to the discussion.

Thank you.


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