In 1986, US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev met in Reykjavík, Iceland, at the emblematic Höfði House, and progress achieved at that summit led to the end of the Cold War. Women, however, were conspicuously absent from that gathering.
This year, during the Reykjavík Global Forum 2020, women Presidents, Prime Ministers, and special guests gathered together digitally for the third annual Power, Together Reykjavík Summit, where multilateralism was determined to be key to advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda. This high-level roundtable- was co-hosted by Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace & Security.
Moderated by Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace & Security, this year’s Summit brought together Presidents, Prime Ministers, and special guests for a discussion on multilateralism as an instrument for advancing the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.
Through the lens of multilateralism, participants examined numerous threats to women, peace, and security, ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change, all of them posing immediate challenges that are affecting societies worldwide. Leaders at every level of government and from civil society and academia must be prepared to join forces through regional and international responses, for the betterment of all.
Ideas brought forth at this discussion emphasised the current critical need and opportunity to increase both the number and influence of women in positions of leadership, especially at the local level. Further actions recommended at the Summit include promoting the role of educators in multilateral solutions, implementing budgeting that is both gender-assessed and needs-based, and strengthening networks of women leaders. These valuable outcomes are sure to prove instrumental in expediting needed progress on the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.
Women leaders have frequently been praised for their successful leadership during the global health crisis at hand. The Power, Together Reykjavík Summit 2020 amplified the voices of those distinguished women leaders, among many others. Multilateral solutions must necessarily include women and must always incorporate measures to reduce inequalities as well as barriers faced by women leaders. Insights derived from the Summit will form a part of a formal declaration offering solutions to threats to global peace and security.
The Power, Together Reykjavík Summit 2020 was organised in partnership with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security and the Council of Women World Leaders (CWWL). Traditionally held at the historic Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre, leaders gathered virtually this year in response to COVID-19.