ASEAN and Australia working together to deliver women's equality, peace and security in our region

Release Date: 
17 April 2018
Media release

The Hon. Kelly O'Dwyer MP, Minister for Women
Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, Minister for Defence

The Turnbull Government is working with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to strengthen cooperation in peacekeeping, protection of human rights and the promotion of women’s equality throughout our region.

Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, and Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, will both address the first ASEAN-Australia Women, Peace and Security Dialogue in Melbourne.

“This Dialogue was announced by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last month and demonstrates Australia’s commitment to the United Nations’ Women, Peace and Security agenda and continued cooperation with our neighbours to advance women in our region,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“Our region needs to work together to improve our resilience to the growing complexity of peace and security challenges, including violent extremism, and to address the significant impacts of disasters, conflict and crisis on women and girls. For example we know that the maternal mortality more than doubles in conflict or post conflict settings, while the primary school enrolment for girls’ education in these environments is just 76% as compared to the global rate of 91%.”

“The Asia Pacific region is the most disaster prone in the world. Since 1970, over two million people have died in the region as a result of natural disasters. The consequences are devastating for communities and often increases the disadvantages faced by women and girls,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

Minister Payne said women have a crucial role to play in conflict resolution processes, peace-building and national and regional security affairs.

“Women’s meaningful participation, empowerment and human rights are key elements to delivering sustainable peace, preventing conflict and mitigating disaster impacts,” Minister Payne said.

“No one country can address these challenges alone which is why collaboration on Women, Peace and Security is paramount.”

The Australian Government’s commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda is outlined in the Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018—a whole of government partnership led by the Office for Women, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Defence, the Australian Civil‑Military Centre, the Australian Federal Police and the Attorney General’s Department.

The high-level Women, Peace and Security Dialogue will continue in Melbourne until Thursday 19 April 2018, with more than 70 representatives from Australia, ASEAN Member States, ASEAN, the United Nations, and civil society representatives from Australia and the region.

“I look forward to seeing the outcome of talks over the next few days and continuing engagement within our region on these critical issues,” Minister O’Dwyer said.