The role of women in promoting peace and security is increasingly acknowledged, with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security as a crucial reference point, though much still remains to be done at all levels to implement this resolution.
On the eve of the International Women's Day more than 50 international women leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss the role of women in stabilizing an insecure world.
As we write this, it is hard to imagine a world without war. Every day, we hear reports of new conflicts, of escalating tensions and violence. And in any situation of insecurity, from war to health threats to climate change, women are often disproportionately affected because of their traditionally more vulnerable position in the society.
Eighty percent of the world's refugees are women and children. Sexual violence and rape are prevalent in regions of war as well as in refugee camps. We cannot talk about the role of women in conflict resolution without acknowledging this terrible reality.
At the same time, we need to remember that women are also key actors promoting peace and stability. Security cannot be effectively discussed or achieved without the involvement of women.
Women's participation is crucial not only in the more traditional "hard" security spheres like war efforts, peace-building, post-conflict reconstruction and counter-terrorism, but also countering "softer" human security threats such as global epidemics, psychological health during and post-war, and the emerging concerns of climate change and environmental degradation.
Yesterday, more than 50 women leaders from all continents met in Brussels at the invitation of commissioner Ferrero-Waldner to discuss about "Women: stabilizing an insecure world".