Women, Peace and Security: from Resolution to Action
The Protection Agenda under Security Council Resolution 1325/2000
15-16 September 2010
From 15-16 September, a High-Level Consultation was held in Geneva entitled “Women, Peace and Security: From Resolution to Action – The Protection Agenda Under Security Council Resolution 1325/2000.” Organized by the European Union and the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in collaboration with UNFPA, UNHCR, UNITAR and WILPF, it brought together representatives from Member States, UN organizations and NGOs, from humanitarian, human rights and security domains to explore progress, outstanding issues and strategies for the implementation of the protection element of resolution 1325 on women peace and security.
The specific objectives of the consultation included discussing the notion of protection in the framework of resolution 1325, with specific reference to the different stages of the peace and security process; exploring the impact of conflict on women and to discuss the potential contribution of resolution 1325 in mitigating the effects of conflict; reviewing the role of women as agents of change; and discussing the contribution of women in enhancing protection for all and in reinforcing peacebuilding.
The consultation consisted of a series of panel discussions; an overview of a meeting that had taken place in Brussels on 9 September on ensuring women's participation in peace and security; and a film screening on the women's grassroots peace movement in Liberia that brought end to the civil war.
The introductory panel opened with speakers noting that the 10-year anniversary of resolution 1325 provided a time for governments to politically renew their commitment to women, peace and security, as well as to address remaining and new challenges in regard to the resolution. Participants noted that women make up less than 3% of signatories to peace agreements and questioned how to better ensure women's participation in peace processes. Recently, early warnings have been ignored, as was the case in the Democratic Republic of Congo a few months back. Others pointed out that crisis situations were not gender neutral and that women are disproportionate victims of conflict and violence. Furthermore, gender mainstreaming should be undertaken throughout all humanitarian assistance. Many suggested that the root causes for instability should be addressed while others stressed the need for implementation of the resolution to be linked to existing human rights mechanisms.
The panel “Displacement and Protection under the Resolution 1325 Framework” introduced the issue of protection under resolution 1325 and discussed the meaning of protection in the framework of resolution 1325, with specific reference to displacement (in pre- and post-conflict). The lack of law and order and sovereign exercise of authority that could stem ambiguous behaviour and protect those in need was highlighted, as was the issue of impunity for those committing gender based violence. Another issue that was discussed was how to get women's voices into the discourses that affect them, with participants noting that it was critical to create credible spaces for women to participate in decision-making processes. They must also be consulted when their protection and security needs were being considered. Some participants stressed that youth should be involved at the peace table as well as part of a long-term, forward thinking strategy.
The panel entitled “Protection – Impact of Conflict on Women and Girls” explored the impact of conflict on women, and discussed the role of resolution 1325's provisions in mitigating these effects and ensuring women are agents of change. On protection and empowerment, one speaker noted that there were a number of strategies that could be used at the local level to prevent and respond to gender based violence, including challenging community norms; building community structures for prevention; advocating for change in public policy; creating women's solidarity support groups; and educating boys and men to women's rights. The speaker suggested that an integrated approach was needed, one that combines agency (a woman's own aspirations and capabilities); structure (the environment that surrounds her choices); and relations (the power relations through which she negotiates her path). Others suggested that creating sustainable change would require local ownership of efforts being undertaken around resolution 1325 and working closely with institutions concerned; strengthened oversight and accountability, which would entail reducing impunity and ensuring compliance with international agreements; and a holistic, system-wide approach that includes understanding the linkages and getting the appropriate information to women at different levels of conflict (pre, during and post).
The panel on “Post-conflict recovery – No Peace without Peace for Women and their Communities” discussed how participation by women enhances protection for all and reinforces peacebuilding.
After a day and a half of discussions, the consultation ended by making a set of recommendations in which participants called on the EU and Member States to: finance chronically under-funded humanitarian, reconstruction and peacebuilding programmes; provide policy, technical and financial resources directly to community women's networks and organizations; and support a robust mandate for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in order to link the human rights and accountability mechanisms, the Millennium Development Goals, and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, among others.
(To see recommendations, download attached Consultation Conclusions PDF)