Today in New York the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a £1.2m funding  package to train over 200 women from conflict zones around the world in peacekeeping and conflict resolution in the next four years.

The funding will bring together a team of women activists for training in mediation and negotiation skills, in an effort to build sustainable and long-lasting peace in war torn countries.

During the address, the First Minister spoke of the importance of human rights and mediation as a way of preventing conflict, and she lent her support to the UN Secretary General’s call for more female representation in the United Nations.

The announcement comes following a successful initiative to train 50 women with the help of Scottish Government funding.

The training was delivered by Beyond Borders Scotland, a non-profit thinktank. It was assisted by UN experts and endorsed by the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura.

Speaking before the event, the First Minister said: “Gender equality and a commitment to peace are fundamentally shared values across the countries that make up the United Nations, and I am committed to making sure Scotland does all it can to participate in this.
“Our recent funding for the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board has helped support a crucial strand of the ongoing Syrian peace process by ensuring that the voices of women are heard and I am grateful for the continued support the UN Special Envoy to Syria has given to this work.

“That is why we widened this programme to include women from other conflict zones in the region in the last year. Given the success of the programme I am delighted to announce additional funding to extend it further for women in various conflict zones around the world.

“Ultimately, I hope that it can play some part in delivering a fair and lasting peace settlement for both Syria and other areas of conflict around the world – a settlement which is shaped by women as well as men.”

UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, added: “Women’s leadership and participation in conflict resolution are critical for sustainable solutions. The engagement of women in shaping the future of Syria is more important now than ever before.

“I am highly appreciative of the support that the First Minister and Scottish Government have given to work of the Women’s Advisory Board in particular, and welcome her on going efforts to help to promote Security Council Resolution 1325 and the role of women in peacemaking more generally.”