Tal av biståndsminister Isabella Lövin vid Call to Humanity

Tal av biståndsminister Isabella Lövin vid Call to Humanity under IPPF event - Call to Humanity - Transformative Humanitarian Action for Prioritizing Sexual and Reproductive Health, Istanbul 23 maj, 2016.

Talet hölls på engelska. Det talade ordet gäller.

Your royal highness, executive director, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

As I have travelled across the world as a minister of development cooperation, I have noticed there is usually one single phrase creating more reactions than anything else I say. From cheers and applauds to complete silence. That I represent a feminist government.

Sweden is in fact the first country that has an outspoken feminist foreign policy. What does this in fact mean?

To put it in very simple terms: that we put a gender lens on all issues, and that a gender perspective is implemented in all foreign policy areas, not least in peace and security efforts. Why is this so important?

Because if we don´t, peacebuilding will never be sustainable in the longer perspective. Women's issues are not soft issues, they are hard issues of human rights, life and death!

I have visited many humanitarian missions, and quite a few refugee camps - from Dadaab in Kenya, to the Bekaa valley in Lebanon. There is one common fact that stands out: women and girls share the same stories of living in fear of violence and sexual abuse, and of not having the rights over their own bodies, or the fear to be given away to be married at a too early age, fear of dying giving birth.

This evident vulnerability of women and girls remains one of our main challenges when now looking at the humanitarian system with critical eyes.

Therefore, two of our focus areas in our feminist foreign policy is "Women and girls in humanitarian settings", and Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR),

60 percent of the preventable maternal deaths worldwide occur in emergencies. Only today, an estimated 500 women in these settings die during pregnancy and childbirth. These deaths could have been avoided with quite simple access to sexuality education, affordable contraceptives, safe and legal abortion and access to basic health care.

It doesn't have too be very complicated, As I visited Mogadishu last year I witnessed the cruel and stark contrasts between women giving birth with and without the help from trained midwives. And it is literary a matter of life and death. Its not unique for Somalia, I heard the same stories in Afghanistan and South Sudan.

Sexual and reproductive rights are human rights. Still, for too long, the humanitarian response has not taken adequate measures to protect these rights. And the consequences have been dreadful. Here we also see that local women's groups have a key role for empowerment and the fulfillment of these human rights.

One of our commitments for the World Humanitarian Summit is to ensure the implementation of the targets for the 2030 Agenda on maternal, new-born and maternal health in emergencies. Ensuring that women have access to comprehensive health care is about saving lives.

Sweden is in a strong position to exert an influence, thanks to our substantial humanitarian aid. We demand our partners provide maternity care. This is also an example of a feminist foreign policy!

Now, I would like to take this opportunity welcoming RFSU/IPPF as a new partner in the Call to Action for addressing Gender-based violence. We need more partners that forcefully promote women's sexual and reproductive rights. RFSU has an extraordinary track record of working successfully with these issues, and I know that their contribution will be of great value for the initiative.

This year Sweden is leading the Call to Action of Protection from gender-based violence in emergencies with the aim to build a truly global coalition to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in humanitarian situations. By joining the Call to action, we can hold ourselves accountable. Making commitments is simply not enough.

Worldwide, an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. One in every three, most often by someone she knows. These numbers are outrageous and totally unacceptable!

And we know that domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, increase in times of war and conflict, and the perpetrators of these crimes often enjoy a higher degree of impunity. We will significantly improve our humanitarian support to organisations with a protection mandate, including to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and to promote integration of protection in all humanitarian sectors.

To sum up, The World Humanitarian summit must lead to political commitments that are translated to concrete change for women and girls on the ground. We will use the Call to Action to ensure that commitments are put into action. As Chair of the Call to Action in 2016, I encourage all states and organisations to endorse the Call to Action and its Roadmap.

The Roadmap provides a framework to follow-up the commitments being made here at the summit. It is a tool for humanitarian actors to ensure that pledges are translated into and targeted actions on the ground.

Sweden will continue to actively push for SRHR within the framework of our feminist foreign policy and within Call to Action.

We therefore commit to only fund humanitarian interventions that explicitly include a gender analysis with sex- and age disaggregated data. We also demand that partners apply the IASC, ECHO or other gender- and age Markers into all humanitarian operations by 2018. This is one example of our Swedish feminist foreign policy!

Only with this perspective can humanitarian assistance truly be part of peace-building.

Thank you!