The Women, Peace and Security Agenda matters, because it forms the basis for plans and action from local to global arenas. Security Council resolutions are binding under international law. This means the United Nations and its Security Council, Member States, civil society, the private sector, and parties to conflicts are all obligated to take action to uphold commitments on this agenda. Civil society continues to lead implementation and action at all levels.
It is clear from the Security Council’s political recognition of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda that gender is indeed central to international peace and security. However, accountability, implementation and action on the ground remain seriously lacking.
On the plus side, there have been some concrete steps forward:
- Between November 2000 and June 2016, of the monitored country-specific resolutions with language on women and/or gender, 52% (121) refer to women, in contrast with only five percent which did so in the period 1998-2000, before SCR 1325 was adopted.
- Approximately 33 percent (63 total) of UN Member States adopted UNSCR 1325 National Action Plans as of December 2016.
- 9 out of 16 Peacekeeping missions in the world in 2016 have Gender Advisors. There are female UN peacekeepers deployed in all 16 missions. In 2014, Major General Kristin Lund became the first female commander of a UN peacekeeping force.
- The first woman chief mediator was appointed by the UN in 2013: Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa.
- Approximately 62 percent fewer cases of sexual exploitation and abuse were reported within UN peacekeeping operations in 2016, than in 2007 (79 rather than 127).
- In 2015, the United Nations provided gender expertise to eight of nine (89 per cent) relevant mediation processes, an increase from 67 per cent in 2014.
- Of 10 peace agreements signed in 2015, 7 (70 per cent) contained gender-specific provisions, compared with 50 per cent in 2014.
- As of January 2015, 17 per cent of government ministers were women, with the majority overseeing social sectors, such as education and the family.
However, much remains to be done:
- 5 of the 8 current Women, Peace and Security resolutions focus on the issue of sexual violence rather than addressing the full Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
- Peace talks and agreements continue to be officially recognised despite regularly failing to ensure both women’s full and equal representation as negotiators, experts, and through civil society, and substantially incorporating women’s human rights.
- As of December 2015, women made up only 4.7 per cent of total military experts in field missions and 3.2 per cent of military troops.
- Women’s representation among United Nations police has also remained low, at 16.9 per cent of individual police officers and only 7 per cent of formed police units.
- As of 2015, there are 60 million IDPs globally, in some countries the majority of which are women.