Angelina Jolie Pitt has called for a “new way of conducting peacekeeping” focused on the inclusion of women during a surprise visit to a United Nations summit in London.
In her speech, the actress and U.N. ambassador encouraged countries to sign an agreement pledging to increase the involvement of women throughout the peacekeeping process.
“Peacekeeping forces can only gain and keep the trust of the local populations if they are able to engage with women, as well as men, in that community,” Jolie said. “When I met senior commanders a short while ago to discuss the challenges of the security tasks they faced, they were clear that women peacekeepers and police officers are essential to local consent and operational effectiveness.”
She continued, “There is a dividing line between nations that are prepared to commit to this moment, to understand all that is necessary and all that we are capable of achieving together and those who are not.”
The agreement put forward on Thursday saw countries pledge to double the number of women involved in U.N. peacekeeping operations within four years, integrate the needs of women in all stages of the planning process, equip missions so they can respond to violence and mass atrocities, and eliminate all forms of abuse and exploitation by members of peacekeeping missions, Jolie said.
The 41-year-old actress and director kept her look low-key and understated during her speech, sporting an all-black ensemble with nude pumps and wearing her hair slicked back.
Jolie has been involved in the U.N. since 2001.
The special envoy for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has previously spoken out about the Syrian refugee crisis.