“WILPF participation in this year's Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was historic and highlighted our global outreach as a women's peace movement”, commented Madeleine Rees, WILPF Secretary General.
Indeed, our participation was strong in numbers and commitment, WILPF members and partners participated from every region of the world. Our delegation included WILPF members and partners from over 25 countries (Democratic Republic of Congo, Costa Rica,Colombia, UK, US, Sweden, Canada, Japan, Australia, Lebanon, Morocco, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, France, China, Kenya, Spain, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland and Nigeria).
We worked collectively on advocacy on strengthening the Agreed Conclusions with a focus on WILPF priority areas for CSW: linkage with arms, women peace and security and women's participation. We lobbied delegations, issued numerous WILPF and joint statements and sent masses of emails! On the second to last day of negotiations, there was still no reference to arms in the draft Agreed Conclusions despite our consistent push. We did not give up! On behalf of WILPF and 14 cosponsoring organizations, Annie Matundu‐Mbambi (President of WILPF‐DRC, as seen in the picture) delivered our joint oral statement in the official room at CSW. Our statement was direct and called to include a reference to arms in the CSW outcome document and to adopt a strong Arms Trade Treaty with legally binding gender provisions. On the final day of negotiations with much still open and unagreed, it was confirmed that there was a late inclusion of language recognizing that “illicit use of and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons aggravates violence, inter alia, against women and girls”. This reference, among others we supported, was critical especially as we continued our advocacy with States the following week on Arms Trade Treaty.
“Given the theme and WILPF's work, this year, we organized and supported an impressive number of events focused on addressing the root causes of violence against women and underlining the linkages with militarism and gun violence” noted Maria Butler, PeaceWomen Director and coordinator of WILPF CSW engagement.