Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf advocates for inclusive multilateralism and equity at high-level forum

Inclusive multilateralism can help unlock comprehensive and sustainable solutions in a world burdened by complex, interconnected challenges. 

Central to this inclusive approach is recognizing women as pivotal stakeholders in decision-making processes that foster positive change and progress. As emphasized by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during her recent address, women, along with young people and marginalized groups, can be agents of change and deliver solutions that benefit all members of society.

Taking part in a high-level policy forum event co-hosted by the International Peace Institute and the Open Society Foundations, ‘Multilateralism by the Numbers: What People Want and How to Deliver It,’ Madam Sirleaf stressed that today’s global crises and challenges can only be tackled through renewed commitment to inclusive multilateralism.

Embracing diversity, fostering global cooperation, and ensuring that the voices of women and youth are heard can lead to comprehensive and effective solutions to recent and emerging challenges such as geopolitical conflicts, climate change, and pandemics.

 “When women are given opportunities to contribute, whether in politics, diplomacy, or peacekeeping efforts, they bring unique perspectives, skills, and experiences that enrich our collective decision-making processes.”

Gender equality and women’s participation in governance are not only fundamental human rights, but can also encourage sustainable development and accelerate progress toward peace and prosperity.

Warning that barriers to gender equality still exist in all spheres of life, Madam Sirleaf called for bold action to enhance inclusive multilateralism by ensuring the equal representation of women in leadership roles, particularly in international organizations, peace negotiations, and diplomacy.

“It’s our duty, your duty, to help dismantle these barriers and create an enabling environment to empower women to thrive and lead.”

As Co-Chair of the High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism, Madam Sirleaf has advocated for global cooperation to address the world’s most urgent challenges through an inclusive, accountable, and legitimate multilateral system with gender equity at its center.

In her intervention at the high-level policy forum, she further underscored the need to enhance the capacity of multilateral institutions “to address these emerging challenges and bridge the existing gaps in governance.” This can be achieved through equity and inclusion, and by fostering innovation, leveraging the potential of new technologies, and promoting sustainable development.

Madam Sirleaf’s perspective on inclusive multilateralism was echoed by the forum’s participants, including President of the Open Society Foundations, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown; Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations, H.E. Maritza Chan; and Executive Director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, Meghna Abraham. The event’s opening remarks were delivered by the President of the 78th Session of the General Assembly, H.E. Dennis Francis, and the discussion was moderated by the President and CEO of the International Peace Institute, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

Watch the full event here.

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