On Friday, 31st October 2014, the lead author of the 2015 Women, Peace and Security Global Study, Radhika Coomaraswamy, met with over sixty civil society advocates and activists from around the world at UN Women in New York for a consultation on the Global Study. Key recommendations included the importance of refocusing the agenda on prevention and participation. Participants reiterated the importance of this Study to be independent, political, progressive and forward-looking, and inclusive.
Civil society representatives in New York for the14th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 and the annual open debate participated. The participants came from various countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Burma, Burundi, Canada, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fiji, France, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Kenya, Libya, Nepal, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Uganda, and the United States. Participants were updated on the progress of the Global Study, shared their recommendations and experiences, and explored how to use the Study to galvanize action at the national and international levels. The consultation was co-organized by Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP). It was facilitated by Maria Butler, WILPF PeaceWomen Program Director.
Civil Society Engagement and Recommendations:
Civil society representatives presented recommendations for the global study during the consultation. There were three short coalition presentations and then an open discussion where civil society organizations engaged with Radhika. The Coalition recommendations were presented on behalf of WILPF, GNWP, and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC).
Participants' recommendations for the Global Study included:
I. Ensure inclusive civil society engagement in Global Study and review process
II. Address WPS issues for all women and regions, not a select group or limited to Security Council agenda
III. Increase and strengthen tools and pressure to move from commitments to accomplishments
IV. Strengthen the prevention pillar of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and the integrated human security approach
V. Strengthen protection and funding for women peace work and women human rights defenders
VI. Engage non-traditional stakeholders
VII. Implement WPS across the United Nations system
VIII. Address emerging issues of conflict and extremism
Participants suggested a variety of ways that the study could be used to galvanize action at national and international action for change:
I. Parliamentary debates: Advocate for parliamentary debates domestically on WPS
II. Accountability: Promote an integrated approach and accountability through shadow reports linking international legal instruments such as the WPS Agenda, Beijing + 20, CEDAW General Recommendation 30, Arms Trade Treaty, and others
III. Regional discussions: Leverage institutions and also highlight good efforts (e.g., African Union) toward WPS goals at the regional level, while also ensuring the voices of women continue to be amplified
IV. Coordination: Increase coordination between different women and other civil society organizations, member states and UN agencies involved in the WPS agenda.
V. Leadership: Examine best models, systems and mechanisms to ensure leadership and action
VI. Faith-based groups and traditional leaders: Engage or otherwise address faith-based groups and traditional leaders when possible to expand the impact of WPS, especially at the local/grassroots level, through networks of power and influence
VII. Youth: Pass the torch to the next generation and engage youth groups and young leaders to get involved with the WPS agenda.
The Agenda and Process:
Radhika Coomaraswamy provided an overview of the Global Study. She noted that it will be an independent, political, and forward-looking study, which will be developed in consultation with the High-Level Advisory Board and informed through the Member States, civil society, and expert consultations as well as field visits. The Study will standalone but will also provide the basis for the Secretary-General's annual Women, Peace and Security report to be presented to the Security Council in October 2015. The Study will go through an information-gathering phase until February/ March 2015; will then move into the drafting phase from April, and a campaign to share key recommendations from July to October.
Civil society will have a critical role to play in developing the study and in mobilizing action for implementation. In particular, civil society is invited to provide information via a survey, submitting information/reports/papers directly to the Global Study team, participate in focus group consultations, country visits, civil society strategic consultation (at WILPF 100th Women's Power to Stop War conference in La Hague April 27-29th 2015), and participate in UN 1325 Open Days.
The survey, coordinated by GNWP with NGO Working Group, ICAN and Cordaid, will be circulated on a variety of email listservs and online platforms and is intended to reach over 1,000 civil society organizations. This will provide an opportunity to provide feedback on 1) organizational mission and action, 2) organizational resources and impact, 3) national, international, and regional actors involved in the work, and 4) what is needed to move forward.
The lead author welcomed the ideas, reiterated her support for this study to address these concerns in a progressive and political way, and asked all participants to feed these ideas into the online survey.