2012 A New Year: Harnessing Momentum

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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On behalf of the PeaceWomen team, I extend our solidarity and support for women's activists and advocates as we enter this New Year. We are committed to continuing and strengthening our advocacy and work here at WILPF UN Office, and we are committed to strengthening information sharing, particularly via peacewomen.org. PeaceWomen, as a project of WILPF International, looks forward to working with partners around the world and forming new collaborations in 2012.

Looking ahead, the annual Commission on the Status of Women, held in New York, will take place in February and March. We welcome the WILPF members who are coming from many different countries to join our delegation. More details on CSW and WILPF can be found in this edition of PeaceWomen E-news, see article below. As usual, PeaceWomen will monitor CSW events and proceedings from a Women, Peace and Security perspective.

At this time of insecurity in two African countries with WILPF sections, we stand with our sister in Nigeria and DRC to condemn the violence, and call for accountability and justice. Please find a recent statement on women's rights from WILPF-Nigeria here. I would also like reiterate our support for WILPF-DRC and their ongoing work. WILPF has endorsed the statement of our friends in Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and International Civil society Action Network calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission to publish the election results in detail and ensure transparency of the elections.

The PeaceWomen Enews compiles the latest Women, Peace and Security news from around the globe – highlighting the leading stories from the peacewomen.org portal. The past month was not a quiet one, with several independent campaigns for governmental political participation emerging from women in the Pacific and steps being taken to combat sexual and gender based violence in Colombia and the DRC. The penchant for mass protest which dominated 2011 continued into the new year, with women taking to the streets in support of austerity measures in Nigeria, dancing en masse in protest of ultra-Orthodoxy in Israel and marching naked in the streets in north-east India in opposition to small arms trafficking and gun violence. PeaceWomen vocalizes our strong support for women's groups demanding their rights and continuing the work of peacekeeping, peacebuilding and the prevention of conflict around the world.

Photo of WILPF-Nigeria President Joy Onyesoh, PeaceWomen Director Maria Butler, and WILPF International Consultant Barbro Svedberg, December 2011 by: Dennis Dahlqwist

Debate Watch

In 2011 PeaceWomen monitored 11 Thematic Open Debates in the Chamber, witnessing the adoption of 2 related Resolutions and 6 related Presidential Statements. Out of 11 thematic debates monitored, only 5 could be characterised as containing any significant discourse on gender and Women, Peace and Security (WPS), measured here by statements or the adoption of a resolution or Presidential Statement (PRST) containing action-specific language on 1325 implementation. These 5 debates included: The Interdependence between Security and Development, Impact of HIV/AIDS in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations, Children and Armed Conflict, Security Sector Reform, and the Protection of Civilians in Conflict Situations (9 November).

It should be noted that the majority of Member State statements contained generic references on the need to mainstream gender into all prevention, peacebuilding and mediation work and on the importance of fostering better roles for women at the decision making level. While necessary, such references represent an insufficient level of commitment by Member States in the 11th year of implementing resolutions on women, peace and security.

Despite representing a disappointing year for Women, Peace and Security overall, 2011 did witness some progress. One significant Thematic Debate from a WILPF perspective was the annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, which took place in October 2011 marking the 11th anniversary of SCR 1325. This Debate followed the high-profile year of the 10th anniversary which saw notable advances, including the creation of UN Women, the adoption of SCR 1960 and the development of SCR 1889 indicators. The development and eventual commencement of monitoring and reporting mechanisms for sexual violence in conflict as mandated by SCR 1960 (2010) was also discussed by Member States during debates including the bi-annual meeting on Protection of Civilians in Conflict (May 12 and November 9).

UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 56)

This year's UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 56) will take place from 27 February to 9 March on Priority theme: “The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges”. WILPF's delegation will be made up of participants from many of our global sections, with 20 delegates representing Pakistan, Nigeria, UK, US, Sweden, Japan, Lebanon and the Philippines already registered.

The 56th CSW sees WILPF host three events, two of which will take place the 29th of February, namely “Achieving Human Security for Rural Women in Africa” and “Empowering Rural Women in eradicating poverty and hunger—how can we really help". A third event discussing “Food Security, Conflict, Peace and Rural Women” will be held on the 1st of March.

As outlined in the December Enews, WILPF International submitted a written statement noting that, “For nearly a century, WILPF has concentrated on the links between gender inequality, socioeconomic injustice and the root causes of war. The statement draws particular attention to cross-cutting issues: participation; land rights and access; indigenous rights; natural resources; food security, and the particular challenges and impacts of disasters, conflict and insecurity on the lives of rural women. The statement underlines that “rural women are often subject to particular rights' violations, exclusion, isolation, and poverty, and are acutely affected by natural and man-made disasters including economic crisis, climate change, militarization and conflict”. As a point of reference the statement provides case studies from some of our national sections which highlight these challenges.

See the UN website click here.

To see NGO-CSW website, click here

To review CSW 55: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Summary Report, click here

SCR 1325 Nap Initiative Update

At the end of 2011, the United States and Georgia launched their National Action Plans (NAP) on women, peace and security and the Netherlands came out with its second action plan for 2012-2015.

The U.S. NAP can now be found on the PeaceWomen/WILPF website, accompanied by a summary prepared by WILPF-US of the Civil Society consultations held during the development of the action plan. The report features 64 recommendations for the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the U.S. NAP.

Similar to many donor countries, the U.S. NAP frames its bilateral and multilateral action around the four UN women, peace and security pillars: participation, protection, conflict prevention and equal access to relief and recovery. Of note is the Monitoring and Evaluation section's placement after the matrix of specific actions to be taken. By contrast, most NAPs include this section in the matrix, showcasing the actors responsible for monitoring and evaluating implementation of the NAP, the specific actions to be taken, the expected time-frame and the resources to be potentially allocated for monitoring.

With reference to the procedural aspects of the U.S. NAP, WILPF's recommendations for explicit funds, time frames, and civil society inclusion in monitoring and evaluating the NAP remain outstanding. While not mentioned in the NAP, the US Department of State expects that its implementation will be predominantly financed by existing funds. Representative of the U.S. Department of State indicated that yearly reviews incorporating civil society and a growing circle of agencies should be considered. WILPF suggests that the US Government should create a task force within the NAP process to formally monitor and evaluate its implementation. WILPF recommends that membership of the task force should comprise of one-third government; one third civil society (domestic and international representation); and one-third experts on women, peace and security.


In terms of content, the U.S. NAP places a welcomed emphasis on prevention, including the importance of recognising women's participation as a means for conflict prevention. Although the NAP falls short on addressing disarmament and detailing actions to promote preventative work. The theme of protecting women from violence is dealt with in the NAP, while necessary, it seems to adopt a more narrow approach to the protection scope of SCR 1325, which includes the protection of women's human rights. To this regard WILPF reiterates its call for the U.S. to ratify the UN Convention on the on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).




The 2012 session of the Conference on Disarmament will begin on 23 January. Subscribe to the CD Report and find reports, statements, and other documents online once the Conference begins.

Information on the next nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee will be available in early 2012. Check back soon for details.

The disarmament calendar has been updated with key events in 2012. Please email us to suggest other events: info@reachingcriticalwill.org


Interview with WILPF President Adilia Carvaca, en Español

Outcome from the European Section meeting in Rome, 29th-30th of October

WILPF Joint Statement on the International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People, 29th of November 2011

Human Rights Council 18th Session Report