Valentina Matvienko: An effective response to global challenges depends on the solidarity of all countries

The Speaker of the Federation Council addressed a session of the 8th G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit with remarks on social inclusion, gender equality and women empowerment.

Success in opposing global challenges and threats is directly dependent on the solidarity of all countries. Today, women’s contribution to reviving the culture of dialogue and to the search for compromises in international discourse must be considerably increased.

Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko said the above at the 8th G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit as she addressed the session titled Social Inclusion, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.

“I am confident that women’s activism is a key factor of stability and progress. We, women, should get the message across to the world that a way out of the crises can only be found based on honest partnership, trust and collective action,” the Speaker said.

According to Valentina Matvienko, this Russian approach is shared by women of the world. “This was clearly demonstrated by the Eurasian Women’s Forum, held by the upper chamber of the Russian parliament and attended by women leaders from more than 100 countries. This approach has also been supported by the Women 20 (W20) since the moment of its creation. The group’s meetings have become a fixture on the sidelines of the Eurasian Women’s Forum.”

Valentina Matvienko noted that the communiqué of the July W20 summit in Jakarta embraced all problems of key importance for the international community. “Women are again setting for the world an example of constructive collaboration despite the current geopolitical situation.”

The Speaker said that for Russia the principles of solidarity and cooperation were of fundamental importance and that life itself corroborated the truth of this stance. “The unilateral sanctions imposed on Russia have impacted the world at large and impaired the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the attainment of the goals it set out. Economic reprisals against Russia have been imposed by states accounting for just 15 percent of the global population, but they are affecting everyone, particularly the poorest and the most vulnerable. The consequences of the sanctions are felt primarily by the less protected categories of people, including women and children.”

In this connection, Valentina Matvienko suggested that the G20 conduct a special study entitled Women and Girls as Victims of Unilateral Sanctions.

According to the Federation Council Speaker, the consequences of the so-called “humanitarian operations,” which have always turned into humanitarian disasters, deserve special attention. “The Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) estimates that nearly 4,000 women and girls went missing between 2003 and 2010.” But she believes that the situation is even worse in Afghanistan, where they “attempted to ‘export democracy,’ but brought only chaos and violence.”

“Our unity is a guarantee that the world’s problems and crises will be solved,” Valentina Matvienko said. “A striking case in point was the first ever concert by the G20 orchestra sponsored by the Republic of Indonesia. This unique event symbolises the beauty of voices of people from different ethnic groups singing in unison.”

She expressed certainty that the G20 and the W20 would show the same desire for harmony during the upcoming Indian presidency.

Summing up the visit to Indonesia, the Speaker told journalists that she had managed to hold substantive talks with Indonesian leaders and to speak with colleagues from many countries on the sidelines of the summit.

Valentina Matvienko said that during contacts with the President of Indonesia and Indonesian parliamentarians, it was stated that Russia was ready to facilitate in every way the implementation of all earlier agreements and intended to intensify collaboration. “We are arriving at a strategic partnership with Indonesia. There are new opportunities. Major Russian companies are coming to the Indonesian market. We have good prospects for increasing bilateral trade to at least $5 billion. This is quite feasible. The possibility of building a nuclear power station in Indonesia is also being discussed.”

Apart from that, Valentina Matvienko reported that Indonesia displayed much interest in signing a free trade agreement with the EAEU and wanted to join BRICS.

The Speaker said that at the forum and during bilateral contacts, Russian parliamentarians had managed to get Russia’s position on the situation in Ukraine across to partners and offer objective assessments of developments despite the dissemination of distorted facts and lack of alternative points of view in the global information space. “The truth is making itself known all the same. Everyone is aware that the accusations against Russia, which is allegedly behind the energy and food crises, are totally at odds with reality. Even faced with the tough sanctions, Russia demonstrates openness and readiness to honour its commitments with regard to both food supplies to world markets and energy supplies,” Valentina Matvienko stressed.

She thanked Indonesia for its hospitality, excellent organisation of the 8thG20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit, and for creating conditions for a constructive dialogue. “All in all, Indonesia’s G20 presidency deserves the highest praise. It aspires to move to a unifying and positive agenda and discuss issues of concern for people of all countries, as well as an interest in the effectiveness of all formats of our work.”