Summary Report: Virtual Discussion on Gender and Disarmament, Demobilization & Reintegration

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on Women, Peace and Security was passed in October 2000. It is one of the most important international mandates covering the full and equal participation of women in all peace and security initiatives and the mainstreaming of gender issues in armed conflict, peacebuilding and reconstruction processes. UNSCR 1325 specifically recognizes the distinct roles of women and girls as agents in armed conflict and emphasizes the importance of recognizing the special needs of women and girls in the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements including in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) processes. The Resolution also calls for an adoption of a gender‐perspective and an increase in women's participation at all levels of decision‐making in conflict resolution and peace processes, including in DDR. This position is reiterated in the 2009 Report of the Secretary‐General on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict. Nevertheless, the particular experiences, vulnerabilities and roles of women and girls during conflict and post‐conflict are often overlooked during the reintegration phase.

The effective DDR of female and male ex‐combatants and former members associated with armed groups is a key component in post‐conflict stability and successful recovery; in turn, contributing toward sustainable peacebuilding and the prevention of conflict resurgence. The success of such a programme demands the cooperation of actors at all levels: including civil society, government and the international community. In this regard, the United Nations (UN) has assumed a significant role in supporting the planning and implementation of sustainable DDR and continues to work with relevant actors at all levels, contributing toward the effectiveness of all DDR phases. In so doing, the UN adopts an integrated approach to DDR, in which the consolidation of lasting peace and security and long‐term humanitarian and development impacts of sustainable reintegration processes for men, women, boys and girls are emphasized.

To highlight existing efforts and to strengthen the analysis and replication of good practices, UNINSTRAW hosted a virtual discussion from 28 June to 19 July 2010 to foster the dynamic exchange of experiences and information between affiliates, practitioners and experts in the area of gender and DDR. The discussion results will be incorporated into future UN‐INSTRAW research, projects and proposals, including policy and UNSCR 1325 National Action Plan recommendations. Additionally, UNINSTRAW aims to contribute to the field by facilitating the creation of a network of practitioners working on gender and DDR issues, allowing for the identification of potential partners and encouraging collaboration on gender and DDR, both virtually and face‐to‐face.

During the three‐week virtual discussion, more than 315 experts from 62 countries around the world registered, exchanging experiences and discussing good practices, lessons learned and recommendations for integrating gender into DDR processes. This summary highlights some of the main issues that were addressed by participants during the discussion. Additionally, this document contains a bibliography of related documents.