Women shall play a key role in peace and security, according to the EU and NATO

Vice-President Margot Wallström and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen have hosted a high-level conference on women, peace and security in the European Commission premises. This conference saw the participation of Spanish First Vice-President Maria Teresa Fernández de la Vega, Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright alongside civil society representatives, military officials, high-level policy-makers and witnesses.

The participants concluded that all EU and NATO-led operations must comply with UN resolutions relating to women, peace and security, and must be supported by appropriate training, education, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

The conference, organised together with the Security and Defence Agenda, was set up as an awareness raising event in view of the upcoming 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, and attracted close to 500 participants.

Views were exchanged between panellists and participants from the floor on how to end impunity, how to empower women and how to implement existing legislation. Panellists agreed that international actors such as NATO, the EU and the UN play an important role in fully integrating gender perspectives into their actions. Conference conclusions can be downloaded at Security and Defence Agenda's website.

In view of the UN ministerial review conference on women, peace and security in October 2010, the conference concluded that the international community must work harder to ensure full implementation of UN Resolution 1325, and subsequent legislation.

This involves stepping up efforts to protect women in conflict zones and to strengthen women's role in peace-keeping operations and peace-building processes by improving gender representation in senior management posts, by reinforcing the use of gender advisers in missions and operations and by supporting civil society activities in these fields.

Spanish First Vice-President Maria Teresa Fernández de la Vega attended the conference, in line with theSpanish volunty of will strengthening the role of women in society and promote policies of equality, one of the priorities of its presidency.