Human Rights & Democracy

EU's Mogherini and Canada's Freeland bring together women Foreign Ministers to join forces on promoting democracy, equality

19/09/2018 - 09:43

EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will on 21-22 September co-host a global meeting of women Foreign Ministers, to reinforce exchange and cooperation in support of democracy, fundamental rights – including gender equality – and global peace and security.

 Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, on the left, and Federica Mogherini at Meeting of G7 Foreign and Security Ministers, Toronto, Canada, 22 April 2018.

The European Union and Canada – also in its current role as Chair of the G7 – share a strong commitment to promoting gender equality and women's rights, and more broadly to the values of democracy, equality and multilateral cooperation to advance global peace, security and prosperity.

This initiative by the EU's Federica Mogherini and Canada's Chrystia Freeland seeks to complement ongoing and multilateral efforts to advance these shared values, bringing together women Foreign Ministers from around the world to reflect on and identify areas where cooperation could bring about change.

The initiative comes at a time when these values and associated principles – such as non-discrimination, independence of media, the primacy of a rules-based international order to name a few – are under threat in many parts of the world.

The meeting will also take place just ahead of United Nations General Assembly, which kicks off in New York with leaders gathering from Monday the 24th, and represents a key opportunity to reassert these values and work together for their reinforcement, including in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Women leaders can play a critical role in raising awareness of the value of equality and equal participation, and enacting change to achieve gender equality, women's empowerment, political participation and leadership.

The discussion between the Foreign Ministers in Montreal will focus on strengthening democracy and advancing global peace, security and prosperity – which include ensuring women's rights, from equal participation to freedom from violence. The Foreign Ministers will also exchange with experts and civil society organisations.

At a time of global uncertainties, the EU is committed to working hand-in-hand in multilateral fora with all of our partners to reiterate our common position and shared values, and to advocate together for the consolidation of strong democracies, which are indispensable in order to ensure peace, security, more resilient societies and sustainable development.



Schedule of events for 21 September 2018

  • Session 1: Women’s empowerment, political participation and leadership, 1:30 p.m. (EST), Opening remarks open to media. Livestream will also be available on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Session 2: Strengthening democracy, 4:30 p.m. (EST)
  • Reception and working dinner for women Foreign Ministers, 7:15 p.m. (EST)

Schedule of events for 22 September 2018

  • Breakfast with civil society representatives and women Foreign Ministers,, 8:30 a.m. (EST)
  • Session 3: Advancing global peace and security, 9:45 a.m. (EST), Opening remarks open to media only
  • Session 4: Eliminating gender-based violence, 11 a.m. (EST)
  • Closing session, 12:30 p.m. (EST)
  • Press conference with Minister Freeland and HRVP Mogherini, 1:00 p.m. (EST), Open to media. Livestream will be available on Twitter and Facebook
  • Flower-laying ceremony to commemorate the victims of gender and sexual-based violence, including the Polytechnique massacre of 1989, 2:00 p.m. (EST), Open to media (photo and video only)


Participating countries

Women Foreign Ministers will be present from the following countries:

  • Andorra
  • Bulgaria
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Ghana
  • Guatemala
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Namibia
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Lucia
  • South Africa
  • Sweden


Watch Live

View the livestreams on Facebook and Periscope from the WFMM:

  • 21 September 2018, 6:30 p.m. (CET) - Welcome and opening remarks
  • 22 September 2018, 6:00 p.m. (CET) - Joint press conference with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice President of the Commission and the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada