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The World Humanitarian Summit - A Historic Opportunity for the WPS Agenda

By Manar Marouf

On 21 July, PeaceWomen and the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations held a lecture series event centred on the importance of integrating the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda into the humanitarian action. The lecture was part of civil society’s efforts to push for more gender-sensitive recommendations in the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul 2016.

The panel discussion featured Kyung-wha Kang, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Marcy Hersh, Senior Advocacy Officer at Women’s Refugee Commission. Ms Kang stressed the importance of holding the World Humanitarian Summit as conflicts today disproportionately impact women and girls. The regional consultations resulted in key issues that limit implementation of gender equality mechanisms in the humanitarian field, including women’s participation in decision-making processes, lack of accountability mechanisms in implementing gender equality, and limitations in funding for gender sensitive programmes. Ms Hersh highlighted the work of the Women’s Refugee Commission in documenting the urgent need for gender sensitive responses all over the world. Furthermore, she asserted the vitality of integrating women’s needs as the way for more accountable and cost-effective approaches to humanitarian action. 

Both speakers stressed that gender is siloed and the summit will be a great opportunity to provide a road map for mainstreaming gender in humanitarian action. The conversation however, did not address the gap between policy and practice which alienates policy-makers from the practitioners who face the consequences of the absence of gender-perspectives in the field. Lastly, PeaceWomen program manager, Abigail Ruane, reiterated the need for such conversation to build momentum for social change and seize the opportunity to break the cycle of the status quo.

Read a full recap of the event here>>