October 2015 marked the 15th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
And what a month! WPS Programme led WILPF’s work in mobilising across the full month to build momentum for a feminist foreign policy that goes beyond anniversaries and promotes local action for transformative change. In conversations that built momentum from week to week, WILPFers and partners repeatedly brought attention to the need to shift the gaze from the United Nations and governments to feminist grassroots peacebuilders – nonviolent women and men – as key to peace.
The week of the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (13 October) and the official launch of the Global Study (14 October), WILPF’s Secretary General Madeleine Rees with the High Level Advisory Group joined us to participate and facilitate strategic conversations around mobilising the feminist peace movement and across movements. “We are still spending trillions on war but pennies on peace,” noted one event participant. Discussions highlighted the need to take back the Women, Peace and Security Agenda by recognising and strengthening women human rights defenders, demilitarisation, and feminist foreign policy.
The following week (19-22 October), WILPF’s international delegation joined from nine countries: Cameroon, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Nigeria, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Delegates participated in civil society events surrounding the 15th Anniversary of the UNSCR 1325 (2000), the High Level Review of the UNSCR 1325 (2000) and the launch of the Global Study, including a WILPF workshop, “Mobilising Women: Localising Peace,” and the “Voices from the Field: Prelude to the Peace Forum” with women and men from over 40 countries with conversation circles aimed at mobilising collaborations for the feminist peace agenda. As Manuela Mesa, Vice President of WILPF Spain noted, “we need to move from global to local to make women’s perspective seen on an international level.”
The final week of October 26-28th, WILPF’s International President Kozue Akibayashi and members of WILPF-US joined for the Peace Forum to explore how to go beyond anniversaries and engage men to address patriarchal power structures for peace and gender justice. Delegates contributed to discussions around building people’s action plans, mobilising across movements, engaging men and transforming violent masculinities and building feminist roadmaps for peace.
Together, we called for action to engage in both inside and outside strategies to create change; to create learning institutions that strengthen feminist movements; and to diversify tools beyond policy, including media, education, and financial investment. We have taken action to strengthen feminist networks including between women-led civil society and men’s movements in order to strengthen action to address gendered and patriarchal power structures and prevent all forms of violence.
See the events hosted or co-hosted by WILPF below:
October 12-16, 2015
WILPF Secretary General Madeleine Rees participated as part of the UNSCR High-LevelLevel Advisory Group
October 19-23, 2015
WILPF Delegation and nine international delegations (Cameroon, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Nigeria, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) joined to strategize beyond the WPS Agenda
October 28-30, 2015
WILPF International President and WILPF-US members participated with other international delegations
- Wednesday, October 28 3:00 PM through Friday, October 30th 5 PM: Peace Forum on engaging men and going beyond anniversaries for action (co-hosted by WILPF)
- Thursday, October 29, 12:00 - 13:30: Strategic Re/Engagements: Advancing WPS Beyond (organized by WILPF-US). Location: CCUN, Boss Room, 8th Fl.
- Thursday, October 29, 15:00 - 16:30: People's Action Plans: Empowering Civil Society to Implement 1325 (organized by Betty Reardon). Location: CCUN, 2nd Fl.
- Friday, October 30, 10:00 - 11:30: Transforming Violent Masculinities to Move the WPS Agenda Forward (organized by Men Engage). Location: CCUN, 8th Fl, Boss Room.
- Friday, October 30, 1:30-2:30 PM: Demonstration of the PA-X Women and Peacebuilding Database Tool with Professor Christine Bell; Location: CCUN, 7th Fl
- Friday 30 October, 15:00 - 16:30: Feminist Roadmap for Peace with Carol Cohn (Organized by Consortium on Gender, Peace and Security). Location: CCUN, 10th Fl.
For More Information on the 2015 High-Level Review >>
WILPF High-Level Review Recommendations & Highlights
WILPF and partners engaged in many ways for the 2015 High-Level Review. WILPF hosted the Women Peace to Stop War conference in The Hague in April 2015 as a civil society prep conference for October High-Level with a session on the Global Study. In addition, WILPF holds three consultations with civil society - two in New York and one in The Hague. We published an independent report featuring recommendations and good practices from various civil society organizations, academics and research institutes for the Global Study.
WILPF Recommendations regarding the High-Level Review include:
- Focus on gaps and commitments related to leadership to ensure more consistent and systematic attention, action and follow-up on Women, Peace and Security matters.
- Realise and get pledges to mobilize resources dedicated to women and peace.
- Focus on action and implementation, not celebration or ceremony.
- Be participatory and inclusive of women civil society, especially women affected by conflict.
- Focus beyond New York and UN Headquarters as that is where the work and implementation happens.
- Address the lack of accountability for implementing the whole Agenda and link to UN-wide inability to ensure accountability for gender equality programming. Normative frameworks exist, but there is a lack of political will to ensure implementation on the ground stymies progress.
- WPS integration in other critical 2015 processes including Peace Operation Review Review, Peacebuilding Review, and Sustainable Development Post-2015 Process.
WILPF Recommendations regarding the Global Study include:
- Be independent with a bold critical voice. The Study should not be a “UN” voice but a voice of women affected by conflict.
- Forward-looking, progressive and a political tool for action.
- The report should seek to reach non-traditional Women, Peace and Security audiences.
- Address the lack of accountability for implementing the whole Agenda and link to UN-wide inability to ensure accountability for gender equality programming. Normative frameworks exist, but the lack of political will to ensure implementation on the ground stymies progress.
- Be consultative
- Need to explicitly, and at the outset, link to UN-wide mandate for gender equality, and recognize gender inequality as the root cause of the continued inability to implement the Agenda.
- Focus and frame agenda through conflict prevention and non-violence. Addressing complex root causes including the political economy of war, links with arms sales and proliferation and gender relations and masculinities.
- Focus on agency and on the Participation Pillar. Examine the gaps in various forms of participation and the inclusion of women’s rights and gender perspectives in the spectrum of peacemaking. Case study gaps analyses could be helpful looking at ongoing situations.
- Map and connect the normative frameworks and accountability mechanisms including CEDAW General Recommendation 30, the Human Rights System, the Arms Trade Treaty, the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals processes, Peacebuilding, Regional Mechanism and National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
- Link between Women, Peace and Security and the economic livelihoods of women, and lack of activity/opportunities to do more in the early recovery period.
WILPF Historic Conference as a Civil Society Prep Conference for October High-Level Review:
The WILPF Women Peace to Stop War conference in The Hague April 2015 served as a civil society preparatory conference for the October High-Level with a session on the Global Study. In light of celebrating its 100th Anniversary, WILPF gave a name to the movement it has been advocating for the past 100 years, Women’s Power to Stop War. The movement consists of an international community of courageous activists, who believe conflicts and wars cannot be stopped without the participation of women – and that it is the time that women focus on and use their power to stop wars. Together, we continue to connect, strengthen and celebrate the work of women peacemakers all over the world. At our Centennial Congress and the International Conference on Peacebuilding, we forged a new peace agenda for the 21st century. Moreover, this conference provided a space for civil society organizing and strategizing in advance of the October High-Level Review. Please visit our special website www.womenstopwar.org for more information!
A key event at the WILPF 100 conference was the April 28th interactive consultation on the October 2015 Women, Peace and security High-Level review co-hosted by WILPF WPS Programme and UN Women. As part of consultations around the UNSCR 1325 Global Study, lead author Radhika Coomaraswamy, along with the WPS Programme Director Maria Butler and UN Women, Peace and Security Policy Adviser and Officer in Charge Nahla Valji met with over 80 members of civil society from around the world to hear input, recommendations, and voices for action.
Recommendations for the Global Study and the October High-Level Review include:
- Call for a human rights and women’s rights perspective to analyse humanitarian relief in order to strengthen women’s participation and promote gender equality, women’s rights, and a WPS perspective to humanitarian aid and relief.
- Support and promote the work carried out by women’s human rights defenders in conflict and post-conflict settings, to ensure both their safety and their work.
- Urge for the inclusion of women’s pre- and post-conflict experiences of violence; the strengthening of women’s human security and access to justice; and increased attention to the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
- Demand that “prevention” efforts be defined holistically to address the prevention of conflict as a whole, not just sexual and gender- based violence, and that increased attention be focused on the linkages between conflict prevention and the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence, including through demilitarization.
- Promote the WPS Agenda through a gender lens as it is not solely about women’s issues or women’s access to political power; it is about a gendered analysis of reconstruction and development policies to build sustainable and equal peace.
- Ensure that women - particularly women in areas affected by climate change and conflict - play an active role in the designing and implementation of international and local responses to climate change and that women’s human rights, including in conflict settings, are addressed in all environmental and climate change agreements and policies.
- Emphasize the need to equip and support women to attain and maintain leadership positions in peace and security work, while recognizing the structural and systemic barriers women face.
- Urge Member States to ensure that the development of NAPs is a bottom-up, inclusive process that involves multiple stakeholders and actors (including national/local governments, civil society, religious and community leaders, academics, practitioners and others), while empowering and raising the voices of conflict-affected women.
- Acknowledge violent and dominating masculinities as drivers of conflict, as part of a holistic gendered approach to conflict prevention.
Read more here.
Other WILPF Highlights and Engagement:
- Madeleine Rees, WILPF's Secretary-General, served on the Political Advisory Group of the Global Study.
- The WPS Programme served on the sub-working group for the Global Study.
- The WPS Programme was part of the NGO Working Group, which has co-sponsored the Civil Society Survey.
- The WPS Programme has been hosting numerous consultations in 2014 and 2015 to ensure that the voices of women working in conflict situations are heard and reflected.