Women the ‘driving force’ for peacebuilding in Colombia: Deputy UN chief

The UN Deputy Secretary-General has underscored the importance of the full and comprehensive implementation of the 2016 peace agreement in Colombia, as an important avenue to sustainable and resilient communities post the coronavirus pandemic. At the end of a two-day virtual visit to the Latin American country, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed also highlighted the need to ensure a focus on rural areas hit hard by both violence and COVID-19. In this enormous task, the role of women is vital, she added, noting that four years after the signing of the peace agreement, women continue to be the driving force behind its implementation.

The deputy UN chief also paid a virtual visit to Vista Hermosa (literal translation: beautiful view), a region in south-east Colombia that was badly affected during the conflict. Ms. Mohammed also met with women human rights defenders and women leaders, and discussed the progress and challenges in implementing the peace agreement. She was inspired by the courage and resilience of by women’s organizations and women leaders who continue to be a driving force for peacebuilding amid insecurities.

The Deputy Secretary-General held a meeting, via videoconference, with President Iván Duque where they discussed the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the country, protecting the most vulnerable, and promoting inclusive, green and sustainable recovery. Ms. Mohammed commended Colombia’s commitment to promoting gender equality, and its efforts to ensure women are at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery and in implementing the peace agreement. The virtual visit also showcased the work of the United Nations in Colombia, as well as its collaboration with national and local authorities and civil society organizations – including in the response to the pandemic, development challenges and peace consolidation.

The virtual trip on 28 and 29 October was the first such visit since the outbreak of the pandemic. The visit also highlighted the importance of the landmark Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, which marked its twentieth anniversary this year. The Deputy Secretary-General was accompanied by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN-Women; Rosemary DiCarlo Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs; and Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. The last time the Ms. Mohammed visited Colombia in person was in 2015 for the launch of the Inter-Institutional Commission for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Source: The UN

Author: Tuula Pohjola