Good morning Mr. Chairperson, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. It is my absolute honor and pleasure to address the Council today for the first time since my arrival to Addis as the U.S. Ambassador to the African Union. I thank many of you for the warm welcome I’ve already received. I look forward to meeting all of you, and working with you on behalf of a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Africa.

Mr. Chairperson, thank you for today’s session on the role of women in conflict prevention and peacebuilding in Africa. Supporting women’s participation, voice, and empowerment in decision-making about security issues is key to achieving our shared policy objectives. In June, the White House launched our Strategy on Women, Peace and Security. It laid out the crux of the issue: “Social and political marginalization of women strongly correlates with the likelihood that a country will experience conflict.”

Conflict, humanitarian crises, and high rates of gender-based violence often create an overwhelming burden on African women. However, the continent has also served as a model for increasing women’s formal participation in economic and political institutions. Women are at the heart of Africa’s path to prosperity, and essential actors to build durable peace. We applaud and look to continue to support the efforts of dozens of African countries to develop National Action Plans (NAPs) for UNSCR 1325 implementation. Read more…

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