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Conclusions by the Chair of the International Conference “Shaping Feminist Foreign Policy” in Berlin

12.09.2022 - Press release

Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Senior Government Officials from Albania, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Israel, Luxemburg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Rwanda, Sweden and Germany met in Berlin on 12 September 2022 for the international conference “Shaping Feminist Foreign Policy”.

Participants discussed principles and strategies for the implementation of feminist foreign policy in the context of current international conflicts and crises. They reaffirmed the commitment to a foreign policy in which gender equality, women’s rights and the equal, full and meaningful participation of all parts of society is central.

The Berlin International Conference participants came together as an open and informal group of countries subscribing to a feminist approach to foreign policy, taking into account perspectives from all parts of the world. They share the aim to address the structural causes of inequalities, which lead to the exclusion of women and other social groups.

Participants  will come together with partners on the margins of the upcoming High Level Week of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 22 September. They look forward to the follow-up Conference on Feminist Foreign Policy that will be hosted by the Netherlands in 2023.

Participants are committed to mainstream gender aspects into their foreign policy agendas, including the strengthening and the promotion of the rights, resources and representation of women and girls as well as of marginalised groups. They emphasised the fact that societies in which all genders enjoy equal, full and meaningful participation, are more stable, sustainable, peaceful, prosperous and innovative. They noted that developing policies and actions to promote the autonomy and empowerment of women are key to fairer, more inclusive and sustainable societies.

Today participants reaffirmed the conviction that the consistent and rigorous condemnation of sexual and gender based violence and prosecution of related crimes is of utmost importance. They recalled that conflict-related sexual violence is a global phenomenon and a violation of international humanitarian law as well as a violation of human rights. Participants stressed the need to step up efforts to prevent and fight sexual and gender-based violence both online and offline. More needs to be done to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice and to put an end to gender-based violence, including the widespread use of sexual violence as a tactic of war. Participants noted the need for a holistic, victim- and survivor-centred approach that ensures sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is causing immeasurable suffering for the people in the region. Participants deplored that all over the world, the number of people suffering from hunger and food insecurity, increase of commodity prices, as well as lack of access to energy is rising. Women and children are among the most affected. Participants supported the United Nations Secretary-General’s efforts to alleviate the global consequences of this triple crisis through the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy, and Finance. The group also committed to forging strong partnerships within the Global Alliance for Food Security and beyond. In their humanitarian assistance, participants committed to meet the specific needs of women and girls and underlined the importance of participation by women and girls in both needs assessment, decision-taking and implementation.

The situation of women and girls in Afghanistan remains extremely worrying. Participants  emphasised the need for equal, full and meaningful participation of women and girls in both primary and secondary education, health services, economic activities and public life. Support to Afghan women and girls will be continued tirelessly, including by strengthening organisations and advocates who defend the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. Participants called upon the de-facto regime to live up to its commitments to the Afghan people, to honour Afghanistan’s international human rights obligations and restore the meaningful participation of women and girls in Afghan civil society and in the building of Afghanistan’s future.

Participants noted that women and children in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and beyond are among the most affected by the spread of the security and nutrition crises. The sustainable resolution of conflicts around ever-scarcer resources in the Sahel is unthinkable without including women and youth, who are disproportionately impacted. They will continue to engage for rights, resources and representation for women and girls as well as marginalised groups in the region.

Women and girls in Latin America are suffering the worst consequences of inequality, poverty, political instability, and climate change, leading to the biggest migration crises in the history of the region. Participants are committed to protecting women and girls of the risk to suffer sexual violence and exploitation while seeking to have a better future.

Participants expressed their support to governments willing to create the conditions for a safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration with a strong gender approach, and to use every multilateral and cooperation platforms available to protect the rights of women and girls.

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