Towards a National Action Plan for women's equality and sustainable peace

According to Ms. Elisa Fernandez Saenz, UN Women Viet Nam Representative, the National Action Program on Women, Peace and Security will be a great step forward for Viet Nam in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment.
Khai mạc Hội thảo Chương trình nghị sự về Phụ nữ, Hòa bình và An ninh
Ms. Elisa Fernandez Saenz, UN Women Viet Nam Representative, gave an interview at the international workshop 'Women, Peace, and Security National Action Plan: International experiences and recommendations for Viet Nam'. (Photo: Tuan Anh)

Talking with The World & Viet Nam Report on the sidelines of the international workshop "Women, Peace, and Security National Action Plan: International experiences and recommendations for Viet Nam" in Ha Noi on March 28, UN Women Viet Nam Representative Elisa Fernandez Saenz highly appreciates and commits to accompanying Viet Nam in efforts to strengthen mechanisms and policy frameworks to implement the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda.

What is your opinion about women's role in peace and security process?

We understand that women have a very important role to play in peace and security, and especially in building lasting peace in countries.

This is something that is recognized not only for Viet Nam but for the world. We have an agenda that is called the WPS Agenda that was started with UN Security Council Resolution 1325. That recognizes that women are essential to building lasting peace around the world.

"The study of these plans opens a new direction to continue Viet Nam's initiatives at the United Nations Security Council, promotes Viet Nam's active role and affirms its strong commitment in the field of gender equality in general and WPS in particular" - Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Do Hung Viet.

For example, women play a leading role in mediating and making decisions to resolve conflicts. Therefore, we strengthen the participation of women in the role of protection of civilians and in reaching the communities.

In this regard, Viet Nam has done very well in peacekeeping operations and has a higher ratio of women in peacekeeping (17.4%) than the standards of the UN (15% by 2028).

Women also have the ability to approach the community in different ways to understand the needs of the community.

We also affirm the important role of women in considering issues of violence and preventing violence at all levels. And then, women are also a pillar in the issues of relief and recovery after disasters and conflicts.

The above issues are important for the community to understand about the WPS Agenda.

We are talking about not only the traditional conflict issues but also new emerging issues, such as climate change, cybersecurity, migration, epidemics... Therefore, the scope of the Chapters of the WPS Agenda is now much broader.

How would you comment on Viet Nam's efforts to promote the WPS Agenda, specifically the study of a WPS National Action Plan?

Viet Nam, similar to any other member states of the UN, has commitments to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 5 and 16, and so as the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and its subsequent resolutions.

We have seen Viet Nam’s leading role in the drafting and ratification of Resolution 1889, emphasizing the responses to the needs of women in conflict and post-conflict, as well as being a role model in having a high number of uniformed women in the UN’s peacekeeping operations. With a good normative framework, the gender equality issues of Viet Nam are incrementally gaining their pace to improve.

However, the uncertainties coming from unprecedented events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters such as drought and flood, cybercrimes, or even from social or border conflicts and crises, would push back not only the women and girls to extreme poverty but also the country to its starting points on the work to promote gender equality and women empowerment.

It's time that Viet Nam further rolls out ways to build on its achievements on gender equality and women empowerment, sustain those achievements, and plan for the uncertainties.

This workshop further confirms the interest and the commitment of Viet Nam to further accelerate the implementation of the WPS Agenda and the formation of a National Action Plan for Viet Nam.

The formulation of the WPS National Action Plan will allow the government of Viet Nam to reflect on its existing efforts for gender equality and the WPS agenda, identify future priorities and opportunities, and ensure policy coherence. It will also help generate synergies between national strategies such as the National Strategy for Gender Equality and the National Action Plan to implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Towards a National Action Plan for women's equality and sustainable peace
Delegates discuss at the international workshop. (Photo: Tuan Anh)

What recommendations do you have for Viet Nam to advance the WPS Agenda?

Today's workshop is an important event organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam with the support of UN Women.

Today, in this important international workshop that Viet Nam Ministry of Foreign Affairs has organized in partnership with UN Women, what we are discussing is about how can we accelerate the efforts to implement the WPS Agenda. And one important tool is what we call National Action Plan.

Basically, the WPS National Action Plan will define Viet Nam's priorities on this issue, detailing the roles and responsibilities of different levels and communities.

Such a National Action Plan would also clearly define the targets and results that Viet Nam wants to achieve, and map out the resources needed to make these goals a reality.

So what we need to do is make the agenda more organized and make sure it can be implemented in a more concrete and transparent way.

The idea of a National Action Plan is that there's a lot of participation from all sectors in society, from government to civil society, from academia to the private sector. This is a society-wide approach that we need to work towards.

UN Women, together with other UN agencies, stands ready to provide full support to the Viet Nam government and the related stakeholders in this task.

Thank you so much!

Towards a National Action Plan for women's equality and sustainable peace
The international workshop overview. (Photo: Tuan Anh)
The way forward for a Women, Peace, and Security National Action Plan of Viet Nam
Exhibition honours Vietnamese women, nation and love
Development plan for Mekong Delta in 2021-2030 approved
Spokesperson gives more details on Viet Nam’s plan to reopen to int’l visitors
Viet Nam – successful model in gender equality promotion: Moroccan Ambassador