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Hedy Fry, the OSCE PA’s Special Representative on Gender Issues and Head of the Canadian Delegation, addressed the OSCE Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation Group on Monday, speaking on the theme of “Connecting the Tracks. Beyond the official negotiation table: women’s comprehensive contribution to peace processes.”

In her remarks, Dr. Fry emphasized how essential the contribution of women is to peace and security and regretted the slow progress on women’s inclusion in peace-building processes. She highlighted in particular the low levels of women mediators (3%) and negotiators (9%).

Fry spoke generally about gender perspectives and underlined deficiencies exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing the need to speed up implementation by governments of the OSCE Gender Action Plan. Finally, Fry urged OSCE participating States to move forward with specific and well-targeted gender strategies, a development she described as beneficial for the entire organization as it would eventually lead to achieving consensus on key gender-related issues.

The online event, organized by the OSCE Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation Group chaired by Sweden, included the participation of leaders from civil society, academia and international organizations. It was intended to connect the various tracks of diplomacy, with a focus on how official actors, such as the OSCE, can contribute to informal peace-building processes by supporting women-led mediator networks.

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