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- As Delivered -

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following remarks in support of the Women, Peace, Security Act of 2016 (H.R.5332) on the House floor:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this measure, and I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  Let me again first thank our chairman, Ed Royce, for helping advance this bill.  I want to thank the bill’s authors, Representative Noem, and Representative Schakowsky, who especially has been focusing on years on the vulnerabilities facing women and girls in conflicts and the unique role women can play in working to build peace.

“Ms. Schakowsky has been spending a great deal of her time representing issues such as the one on this bill.  In fact, she was the first one who told me about the bill and what they were doing in terms of putting it together.  So, I really want to commend her.

“It’s been nearly five years, Mr. Speaker, since the Obama Administration unveiled the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.  The idea at the center of this strategy is the importance of women in helping to prevent and resolve conflicts.

“Thanks to the Administration’s efforts, the US has worked to include women in conflict prevention, negotiation, and resolution.  We’ve promoted efforts to enhance the physical and economic security of women around the world.  And we have sought to break through the barriers that have stopped women from being full participants in peace processes.

“We haven’t taken these steps on a hunch.  Research has shown that peace negotiations are more likely to succeed when women have influential positions in the negotiation process.

“The bill we’re considering would make these policies permanent.  It would build on what the Obama Administration has accomplished by making sure State Department, USAID, and Pentagon personnel are fully trained on the unique strengths women bring to conflict prevention and resolution.  It would also require annual reporting, so Congress can stay appraised of these efforts.

“I think making this strategy permanent is absolutely imperative.  After all, even though the Administration and bipartisan leadership in Congress has seen the value of this approach, we have no idea how future Administrations and Presidents and Congresses view women—or fully appreciate how women’s participation can make our foreign policy stronger.

“So, I’m pleased to support this measure.  I urge all my colleagues to do the same.  And I reserve the balance of my time.”