CONFERENCE FOLLOW-UP: 10 years after UN SCR 1325 : Conflict Prevention Mechanisms

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 20:00
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Initiative Type: 
Conferences & Meetings

On 2 September 2010, Mary Robinson[1], Bineta Diop[2] and Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda[3] critically discussed the concept of conflict prevention under Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325, and the local, national, regional and, international mechanisms which should be linked with prevention strategies. The event, “10 years after UN SCR 1325: Conflict Prevention Mechanisms”, was attended by over eighty representatives from Member State delegations, the UN and civil society and chaired by Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF[4]).

The prominent speakers covered a broad range of women, peace and security issues, highlighting the pervasive gap between the Human Rights machinery and the Peace and Security agenda. Mary Robinson outlined five essential ingredients of the women, peace and security agenda and pointed to a missing sixth element that is central to prevention: the need to link to women, peace and security with the human rights mechanisms.
The five elements outlined by Mary Robinson were: 1) increase of women as mediators and negotiators (SCR 1889, OP4; 2) global indicators (SCR 1889, OP17; 3) process for the Security Council to receive, analysis and taken action (SCR 1889, OP18); 4) women participation in peacebuilding (SCR 1889, OP19) and; 5) mechanism to address sexual violence (SCR 1888). [PW1]

Nyaradzayi, building on this message of linking human rights with SCR 1325, noted that SCR 1325 amplifies the principles contained in existing international and regional instruments, including the frameworks of international humanitarian law and human rights. The panelists reinforced this message throughout the discussion stating that “silos”, ie linear approaches, continue to be detrimental to the full implementation of the women, peace and security resolutions and that agendas must be integrated for the benefit of women in conflict and post-conflict situations.

The speakers outlined the broad framework of SCR 1325 and the current development in the lead up to the 10th anniversary, including the important activities of the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG).

Lessons, obstacles and initiatives vis-à-vis prevention from the field-level were central to the discussion. Nyaradzayi emphasized that prevention at the community level must address causality factors including the interlinked issues of militarization, national resources and exploitation. Madame Diop highlighted the need for adequate funding and resources for women working at the grassroots referencing with specific case-studies and examples from Africa. It was also noted that timely and accurate conflict early response systems must be integrated with early warning indicators so that volatile situations may be monitored and responded to. Furthermore, National, regional and international must be seen as an integrated whole which can be used to react to indications of instability and potential threat.

The centrality of full and meaningful participation to effective prevention was emphasized. Women's participation is about genuine inclusive processes at all levels – its is about content contribution - and not about numbers. It is about ensuring nondiscrimination leading to policies, programmes and law which address issues from a gender perspective. It is about women being part of the “space”.

In order to seriously discuss and address prevention, we were urged to re-conceptualize the notion of security to include the full realization of socio-economic rights. Nyaradzayi underlined the indivisibility of human rights and the need to link Peace & Security with other agendas such as the MDGs; Climate Justice; Business & Human Rights.

Responding to a question from the audience, Nyaradzayi articulated concisely four main pillars of the new UN WOMEN entity: 1) normative (legal & political); 2) implementation at country level; 3) mainstreaming agenda; and 4) the active involvement of women themselves.

In sum, this rich discussion was very timely in refocusing discussion on the conflict prevention and addressing the lack of effective enforcement mechanism as we approach the 10th anniversary of SCR 1325. Madeleine Rees announced that a formal outcome document will be produced summarizing key recommendations from the discussion and focusing on linking human rights instructions with the women, peace and security agenda (please check[PW2]).

Web-cast and a comprehensive outcome document will be distributed shortly.

[1] President, Realizing Rights; Member, Council of Elders; UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 1997-2002; President of Ireland 1990-1997
[2] Executive Director, Femmes Africa Solidarité
[3] General Secretary, World YWCA
[4] This event was co-convened by Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and Femmes Africa Solidarité (as co-chairs of the NGO Working Group on Peace) and hosted by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Geneva.