2020 in Review: WILPF Women, Peace and Security

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

2020. This year we have experienced a global pandemic that upended the ways we live and work, an uprising for racial justice, and key anniversaries that mark milestones in our work for gender equality and peace. Throughout the year, our work continued to advance the holistic implementation of the WPS agenda, respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and promote conflict prevention through sustainable development and gender equality. Our ongoing commitment to peace, human rights, and gender justice has guided us through this year and towards the one ahead. 

You can read more about some of our work from this year below. Thank you for being a part of our WILPF community, and we wish you and your loved ones a joyful and healthy end to 2020.

- WILPF Women, Peace and Security Programme

2020 in Publications

To reflect on 20 years of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, we published the report UNSCR 1325 at 20 Years: Perspectives from Feminist Peace Activists and Civil Society. This report draws from the perspectives and experiences of women peace activists and other civil society actors across WILPF’s global network. We also published A WILPF Guide to Leveraging the SDGs for Feminist Peace, which draws on our programme’s years of work on the SDGs as part of the prevention pillar of WPS, and a brief on Women, Peace and Security in ceasefires. 

UNSCR 1325 at 20 Years: Perspectives of Feminist Peace Activists

This report is based on a series of global interviews, consultations, and meetings with feminist peace activists — the key actors who advocated for the adoption of UNSCR 1325. It documents their assessment of the past 20 years of implementation, and what more must be done to ensure women’s meaningful participation and prevent violence. The report finds that there are three primary challenges to progress on Women, Peace and Security: militarism and militarization; the patriarchal and political underpinnings of the agenda; and lack of accountability for implementation.

A WILPF Guide to Leveraging the Sustainable Development Goals for Feminist Peace 

This guide provides a framework for working on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from a feminist peace perspective. It is designed to help activists leverage the SDGs for conflict prevention and human security, by working with governments and others in civil society. 

Centering Women, Peace and Security in Ceasefires

This brief contains an urgent reminder that UNSC action in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic must be linked with its existing recognition of the gendered impacts of conflict, the importance and agency of women in promoting peace, and center inclusivity and human security. It highlights case studies from Cameroon, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, and Yemen in the COVID-19 context, drawing from the recommendations of WILPF members and partners on the ground.

Our Year of Advocacy and Monitoring

Throughout 2020, our advocacy continued to push for a fundamental shift in the Security Council’s implementation of the WPS Agenda -- a shift which should center conflict prevention, disarmament, human rights, full and meaningful participation, and addressing the root causes of conflict and gendered violence.

Throughout the year, we continually advocated for the holistic implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda at the UNSC, bringing the perspectives of women peace activists into this space. We monitored regular meetings of the UNSC, as well as select other UN bodies, on key focus countries (primarily Afghanistan, Colombia, the DRC, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen) and themes. We wrote about the Security Council’s work on Yemen, the Arria-Formula Meeting on Women and the Afghan Peace Process, and MONUSCO (DRC), as well as thematic issues including the annual open debate on women, peace and security, the open debate on sexual violence in conflict, the increasingly topical theme of climate change and securityprotection of civilians, gender equality at the shortened CSW64 and a high-level meeting on Beijing+25, and 2020 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. We also published this year’s edition of the Security Council Scorecard, which contains data from 2019 on the Permanent Five members of the Council. 

Strengthening our Collective Feminist Voice

As a programme, we continued to work in partnership with feminist allies through coalitions, including the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security and the Women’s Major Group. Together we brought feminist perspectives into the UN Security Council and Sustainable Development fora, and advanced priorities of peace, human rights, and gender justice.

2020 Civil Society Roadmap on Women, Peace and Security

WILPF helped to draft the NGO Working Group on WPS 2020 Roadmap, particularly the sections on prevention, participation, and accountability. This Roadmap provides concrete recommendations for the UNSC, the UN, and other actors to advance the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and subsequent WPS resolutions.

This year we completed the second year of our term as Organising Partner of the Women’s Major Group. The 2020 Women’s Major Group position paper contains the calls of women peacebuilders to address militarism in order to achieve sustainable development and a peaceful future. It calls for all actors to: shift funding from military expenditure to human security; stop the arms trade; prevent violence against human rights defenders and peacebuilders; focus on disarmament; accelerate commitments on WPS; and end conflicts through inclusive peace processes. Additionally, we contributed to the drafting of the two-pager series, “From the Pandemic to 2030: Feminists Want System Change” on feminist priorities in relation to the Global Sustainable Development Report entry points, specifically in the context of COVID-19 response.

Feminist responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

As part of WILPF-wide and coalition efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we contributed to work on Feminist principles for a global ceasefire and Feminist principles for a post COVID-19 settlement. This was done in partnership with the FIRE Consortium, of which WILPF is a part. As an organization, WILPF also ran a series of articles on COVID-19 and the post-pandemic world we want to create.

The future of advocacy in a digital world
We co-authored a Women’s Major Group brief on the Future of Advocacy in light of COVID-19. The brief aims to support feminist activists in continuing to adapt their advocacy to ever-changing circumstances as well as raise important questions around inclusivity, systemic barriers, and the future of advocacy. 

Upcoming in 2021...

To kick off 2021, we are proud to announce two new launches set for the beginning of the year. 

We will be launching a new 1325 National Action Plan Monitor site, which will continue our work to profile and monitor commitments to implementing the WPS agenda.

We will also be launching a series of policy briefs related to the Generation Equality Action Coalitions. We look forward to contributing to these efforts in the coming years as a Catalytic Member of the Generation Equality Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action

Stay tuned, and happy 2021 to all.

For Human Rights Day this year, we asked WILPF members: "What do peace and security mean to you?" Watch our new video to hear what they had to say!