Member States Interactive Briefing: Global Study on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security

Conference Room 12, Conference Building United Nations Headquarters New York

The event, co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Canada, Chile, Ireland, Japan and Namibia, provided an overview of the upcoming Global Study on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 (2000) by lead author Radhika Coomaraswamy. The presentation consisted of two parts - key messages from the field from women all over the world followed by a series of specific, institutional recommendations for the United Nations System. The Global Study will include 10 broad calls to action as well as five institutional initiatives with regards to Women, Peace and Security (WPS). Within each section, there will be detailed, technical recommendations to help aid the implementation of the recommendations by Member States. Women, Peace and Security is a broad agenda that should not be securitized or militarized. The Global Study, thus, goes beyond the Security Council and also looks at the holistic UN System as well as national governments. 

Key Messages

1. With military spending today higher than ever before, there must be effort made to break the cycle of increased militarization. In stark contrast to the Security Council of the 1990s, women globally felt that today's Security Council is quick to use force, often unequally. It is imperative to halt the normalization of violence by directing more resources and energy to early warning systems, prevention of conflict mechanisms, and imaginative, non-violent methods of the protection of civilians. 

2. The world is a diverse place and thus, we must end the "one size fits all" program model in order to properly recognize this diversity. While women in the north spoke of issues such as women's participation in peace processes and missions, women in Africa and Asia were concerned with survival in conflict and post-conflict situations. Proper mapping of what is needed for women within their particular region or community with greater specificity is critical. Furthermore, we must focus on donor policies that unite women's organizations rather than divide them. 

3. With regards to countering extremism, it is important to remember that extremism cannot be equated with "acts of terror." While effective, strong measures must be taken to protect civilians and aid survivors of "acts of terror," extremism requires political and socio-economic measures.

4. Peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding is not about men speaking to men with male facilitators. Through the Global Study on 1325, we now have concrete, scientific research that illustrates without doubt "the linkages between the participation of women in peace processes and sustainable peace." Thus, the inclusion of women is critical to our operational effectiveness. 

5. There must be a push for the use of transformative justice in these societies to help communities recover and heal following civil wars. Transformative justice includes the use of reparations, truth finding, and the symbolic recognition of suffering as well as the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a tool for punishing impunity.

6. Finally, there is a need for emphasis on prevention, on dialogue, and on addressing root causes in order to end the cycle of violence and ensure the non-recurrence of future conflict. In post-conflict societies, violence and security concerns peak especially with regard to women and children. Furthermore, weak regulatory frameworks leave room for exploitation of resources by extractive industries and infrastructure developers. Unless structural issues are addressed along with projects that empower individuals, societies and women will not be able to emerge from the repeating cycles of conflict and violence. 

Key Recommendations

The Global Study proposes five institutional initiatives with regard to Women, Peace and Security. The Global Study asks for:

1. The creation of an informal expert group in the Security Council for WPS issues. This expert group will focus on gender mainstreaming of the WPS agenda within all aspects of the Security Council agenda as well as be a mechanism whereby the secretariat can brief Council members. 

2. The creation of a United Nations Tribunal on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) to deal with abuse by peacemakers in order to improve on accountability through effective punishment and deterrence. 

3. At the field level, in missions, the creation of a senior gender advisor in the office of the Special Representative to the Secretary-General who will be supported by a network of gender advisors within outher units. 

4. The prioritization of WPS within the mandates held by resident co-coordinators of the United Nations system in conflict situations. Furthermore, there must be UN Women offices within all conflict-affected areas. Currently, UN Women is primarily focused on its work as a "development" agency and does not have the proper resources to work locally with women's organization in conflict and post-conflict situations. 

5. Linking field and headquarters, the creation of an Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) within UN Women to be in charge of conflict, crisis and emergency. Under the guidance of the Under Secretary-General, the ASG would:

a. Drive the implementation of the recommendations made by this report

b. Help move forward the field level programmes described in the study

c. Be a strong advocate on women's rights in emergency situations

d. Lead an insitutional structure within UN Women that deals with emergencies

e. Be present at all headquarter meetings in New York and Geneva on peace, security, and humanitarian situations. 

A sixth recommendation/institutional initiative will focus on addressing the issue of financing and will call for a 15% financing requirement in all UN budgets for peacekeeping and peacebuilding, amongst other requirements.