On 19 October 2016, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) held a webinar launching the Security Council WPS Scorecard. The Scorecard was designed to strengthen accountability for a holistic implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda and highlighting critical gaps in current efforts of the Permanent Members of the Security Council to implements their commitments.
The webinar was well attended with participants from across the world and focused on disarmament and conflict prevention as critical components for the holistic implementation of the WPS Agenda. It also highlighted how activists could use the WPS Scorecard to strengthen the local, national and international efforts to strengthen the accountability for States’s failure to implement the WPS Agenda.
WILPF PeaceWomen Programme Director Abigail Ruane introduced the panel by reminding participants that the 2015 Global Study provided the evidence base for action. “It is time and past time to move from commitments to accomplishments,” Ruane stated. Sixteen years after 1325, there is strong normative support for the WPS agenda: at the 2015 WPS debate, over 110 countries spoke, which was a record on any debate in the history of the Council; there was also a record number of resolution co-sponsors for UNSCR 2242 (75) and civil society speakers (from Iraq, DRC, and Libya). However, although the UN Charter Article 26 affirms that the Security Council is tasked to “promote peace and security with least diversion for armaments, and establish a system for regulating armaments”, the permanent five Council members remain some of the top military spenders. Despite recognition by the three peace and security reviews in 2015 of conflict prevention as a key gap pillar, this contributes to the ongoing conflict prevention gap.
WILPF Reaching Critical Will Programme Director Ray Acheson shared how militarism and political economies of war directly contribute to sexual, gender-based and other forms of violence. WILPF / Reaching Critical Will’s research has shown how the sale of arms by states including the United Kingdom and France have promoted gender-based violence in Yemen through the Saudi-Arabian-led military intervention, including through the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and directly violated women’s rights including to adequate housing, health, and education. WILPF has recommended that such countries establish national mechanisms including legislation and policies for rigorous, transparent, and gendered risk assessments of international transfers of arms and export licences, developed in full consultation with civil society organisations, and to deny authorisation of any arms sales or transfers when there is a risk that the weapons would be used to commit or facilitate human rights violations.
Rasha Jarhum, Aspen New Voices fellow and former member of the Yemeni Women Pact for Peace, shared the impact of armed violence on women in Yemen and what women are doing for peace. Before the war, Yemen was ranked as one of the top ten worst countries for women to live in. Today Yemen is wracked by a humanitarian crisis, with 82 percent of the population in need of humanitarian aid, one third of one third of health facilities damaged, and one third of school aged children (20 percent more girls than boys) not enrolled. Today Yemen also has one of the top firearms per capita countries in the world, with 84 percent of 2012 homicides reported being gun related. Since the conflict started, gender-based violence incidents have increased by 70 percent, with some counts noting 81 per cent of these target women. According to Jarhum, the international community has a critical role to play to stop the violence. As of August 2016, 19 ATT State parties and 3 signatories have either agreed or delivered arms to Saudi Arabia, including UK, USA, and France. She called for action to implement an Arms Embargo to all parties and commit to ATT. She also called for action to fund a humanitarian response plan especially the GBV cluster; implement gender aware disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration programmes for women and men combatants; support documentation and monitoring of GBV cases and build local NGO capacity on GBV documentation, referrals, services, and shelters; and ensure women meaningful and substantive inclusion in any peace negotiations.
After this discussion of challenges, WILPF PeaceWomen Programme Associate Marina Kumskova presented WILPF’s Security Council WPS Scorecard as an opportunity for participants to strengthen action advocacy and hold the Permanent Five accountable. The WPS Security Council Scorecard includes a wealth of data from 2010 to 2015 addressing all four WPS pillars (participation, conflict prevention, protection, and relief and recovery). It includes international action including on statements and commitments at the Security Council, international gender and human rights commitments, and gender and peacekeeping action. It also includes national action on financing of military versus gender equality, women's participation in parliament and judiciary, levels of sexual violence, and gendered post-conflict stabilisation programmes. “The Scorecard can be used to strengthen demands by activists for transformative action to implement the WPS Agenda at local, national, and international levels,” Kumskova stated. Leveraging this monitoring and tracking tool at the local level for action is can strengthen support for calls to action on accelerating the WPS Agenda.
After presentations by speakers, the webinar then moved to a vibrant discussion in the question and answer period. Participants agreed that the UN Security Council has a particular responsibility to implement the WPS Agenda throughout national and international contexts of both war and peace. Activists need to be more creative and mobilising across movements to overturn continuing obstacles, including ongoing restrictions to women’s political participation in peace processes and embarrassingly inadequate funding, due to mis-prioritisation of political economies of war over those of peace and gender justice.
Moving forward, participants explored ideas for leveraging tools such as the WILPF Scorecard across diverse communities to raise awareness and support for accelerating progress. They affirmed that the Security Council should step up its game to fund and ensure gender aware disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration programmes; substantially improve and regularise meaningful engagement and consultations with civil society including local women's groups; and take national as well as international action to strengthen conflict prevention efforts including through concrete disarmament action such as by implementing the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty and its gender criterion.
The Scorecard project can be found at http://peacewomen.org/scorecards and a press release for the WPS Scorecard can be read here
The recorded video of the Scorecard launch webinar is now available on the WILPF YouTube channel here .
Find the Scorecard of Russia here.
Find the Scorecard of China here.
Find the Scorecard of the United Kingdom here.
Find the Scorecard of France here.
Find the Scorecard of the United States here.