Date: Thursday, 11 October 2018
UN, Vienna Austria
Women Federation World for Peace & Unification (WFWPU) Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Austria, UNCAV, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the State of Eritrea to the United Nations in Vienna, hosted a panel on SDG 16 - Sustainable Development Goal 16 'Sustainable Peace through reconciliation and Education. The Conference was attended by diplomats, WFWPU & UPF representative, members of the VIC United Nations and invited guests.
Mag. Petra Bayer, member of the Austrian Parliament, in her opening statement welcomed the guests and gave a brief introduction. She thanked everyone for attending and stated that this forum is an important occasion for harmony, consolidation, strengthening the women capacity. The panellists included, Ms. Yohanna P. Teklu & Ms. Mahta Tewolde (Eritrea), Ms. Etenesh Hadis (Ethiopia).
Ms. Mahta Tewolde and Ms Yohanna P.Teklu, 'Engaging & Empowering women for Sustainable Peace' both speakers spoke about Eritrean women role during the struggle for independence, explained tremendous role of Eritrea women in bringing independence and peace to Eritrea by fighting along their male counterparts. They spoke about the NUEW and it is achievements, a grassroots civil organization that was established in 1979, today with a membership of more than 600,000 and offices all over the country, it is actively involved at all levels of society and government, to advance the empowerment of women and to protect the right of women. Both speakers said Eritrea has put in place a 5 year National Gender Action Plan (2014-2019) which focuses on education, health, economic empowerment and power sharing and decision making processes. Eritrea has criminalized child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as well as all types of gender based violence, including domestic violence.
Ms. Etenesh Hadis from Ethiopia, Chair of African Women‘s organization, on her part spoke about the peace agreement signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Commending President Isaias Afewerki and Prime Minister Abiy for courageously leading their citizens towards peace and prosperity, she underlined that the normalization of relations and the adoption of the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship between Eritrea and Ethiopia will provide the people of Horn of Africa with the opportunity to focus on shared aspirations for closer political, economic, and social ties.
The participants of the conference said that they found it to be enlightening and was one that gave an insight into the overall challenges on women issues related to the Horn of Africa.
In her closing remarks Mag. Petra Bayer, stressed the importance of the forum in bringing together stakeholders from all fields to address and share their experiences, as well as reflect the reality in the Horn of Africa, and explore opportunities for further collaboration towards sustainable development and empowering women in the Horn.