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Opening remarks by Ambassador Sven Jürgenson at the International Peace Institute event “Inclusive Constitution Making on the Path to Peace” 26 March 2018

26.03.2018

First of all, I would like to say that it is an honor for Estonia to be part of this timely event with IPI and Inclusive Security on constitution making in the wake of conflict.

Inclusivity across the board and inclusive decision making is something that Estonia has believed in and advocated for. Such an approach will benefit peaceful societies as well as the ones emerging from conflict. Constitution-making is a frequent component of a peace or transition process and 75 countries undertook significant constitutional reforms between 1990 and 2015, including Estonia.

We all agree that there are too many conflicts in the world in dire need for a solution, including the carastrophic situation in Syria. In the path to lasting peace, constitution-making has been and will be an important angle to keep in mind. It can give an opportunity to build trust and acknowledge the reasons that may have contributed to conflict in the first place, making it therefore also an important tool in peacebuilding.  

The 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women successfully concluded just a few days ago, but these issues must remain at the core of our everyday discussions. Research has shown that gender equality is a greater predictor of peace than a country's wealth or levels of democracy and I am sure we will hear more about it during the discussions later on today.

Between 1990 and 2015 only 1 in 5 constitution drafters was a woman although women's participation levels vary from process to process. The proportion of women in constitution-making bodies has been recently increasing from an average of 13 percent between 1990 and 1995 to an average of 24 percent between 2010 and 2015.

But even if women become more often part of the constitution making process, they still face unproportional amount of challenges. So besides the need to increase women's participation in the constitution making processes, we also must ensure that their voices are adequately heard.

With this note let me conclude whilst looking forward to informative presentations and fruitful discussion.

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