Local to Global Mobilising: Year In Review

By Marina Kumskova, Women, Peace and Security Programme Associate, and Ines Boussebaa, Research and Communications Fellow

Some of the participants of the WILPF’s Geneva Convening. (Photo: Irina Popa)

In 2017, WILPF amplified the voices of grassroots women peace activists and called for concrete action on sustaining feminist peace through women’s meaningful participation, especially around the key gap areas of conflict prevention, disarmament and gender analysis.

WILPF funded UNSCR 1325 localisation initiatives in Colombia, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which increased women’s political participation and strengthened local accountability frameworks for action. WILPF Women, Peace and Security Director Abigail Ruane also participated in the October 2017 launch of WILPF Colombia’s gender and disarmament report in Bogota and Villavicencio, as well as the December  2017 WILPF Africa Regional Meeting in Kinshasa, which supported feminist peace mobilising and built political will on creating enabling environments for women’s meaningful participation through arms regulation and women’s economic empowerment.

WILPF also organised and supported a variety of initiatives focused on mobilising for non-violent action for feminist peace throughout the year. In January, we facilitated a civil society speaker from WILPF Nigeria at the High-Level Dialogue on Building Sustaining Peace for All; and in November, we contributed to a joint Friends of UNSCR 1325 and Friends of Sustaining Peace dialogue. We called for action on sustaining peace that works for women by pushing the United Nations (UN) to promote consistent gender analysis across the UN system, ensuring women civil society’s meaningful participation and providing effective Women, Peace and Security financing.

Due to the exclusionary impact of the United States travel ban on the voices and lives of women from conflict-affected settings, we decided to not formally engage in the 61st Commission on the Status of Women. Instead, WILPF gathered more than 150 women's rights and peace activists from around the world in April 2017 to discuss how to make the UN more inclusive and make women count within the UN system. At the convening, women called for a paradigm shift in the approach taken to peacebuilding that ensures women’s meaningful participation. This requires supporting bottom-up rather than top-down work, which ensures local women speak for themselves (rather than be spoken for) in a way that addresses women’s human rights and root causes of conflict with impact.

During the 2017 High-Level Political Forum, we worked with our coalition to strengthen a conflict lens on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which makes the SDGs work for women in conflict situations, including through our #WomenLead2030 outreach campaign. We facilitated participation of activists from Sweden and India, including through a side-event and webinar. WILPF highlighted how the SDG implementation must ensure policy coherence with Women, Peace and Security commitments and support women human rights defenders and peace activists.

At the 17th anniversary of UNSCR 1325, WILPF facilitated a delegation of women peace leaders from Bosnia, Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Libya, Nigeria, Palestine and Spain, who joined activists from around the world to mobilise and demand accountability on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. Activists shared recommendations around working towards feminist peace in their local contexts and called for concrete action to ensure women’s meaningful participation. They exchanged experiences with each other on building a stronger feminist movement for peace, human security and gender justice. Together, we demanded a transformation of top-down, exclusive and militarised processes towards bottom-up, inclusive and gender-aware action.

We are looking forward to 2018 and its upcoming opportunities to strengthen local action for feminist and sustainable peace.

Read WILPF’s full analysis of the High-Level Dialogue on Building Sustainable Peace For All here>>
Find more information about WILPF’s engagement at the 61st Session of the Commision on the Status of Women here>>
Read more about WILPF’s “Reclaiming the United Nations as a Peace Organisation” convening here>>
Find more information about WILPF’s engagement at the 2017 High-Level Political Forum here>>
Find more information about WILPF’s engagement at the 17th Anniversary of UNSCR 1325 here>>
Read the Summary of the “Sustaining Peace and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Strengthening Synergies for Action” Dialogue here>>