Remain Actively Seized of the Matter (OP18, SCR1325)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The anticipated buildup to the 10th anniversary of the landmark resolution UNSCR1325 is in full swing. International and local organized conferences, events, and celebrations of the anniversary are already bringing discussions of women, peace and security to the forefront. Panels and participants have applauded the strides taken in the past decade and addressed gaps in implementation and accountability while celebrating the contributions of women to prevention, protection, participation, and relief and recovery. PeaceWomen is especially excited about the the participatory multimedia Peace Fair, being held from October 25-29, which will showcase the contributions that womens' groups and other civil society organizations have made to implement the resolution. To see information on the anniversary visit anniversary site, including the new event outcomes summary page.

Sadly, in the shadow of the preparation for this anniversary, shocking and widespread violence against more than 240 people concentrated in the Ruvungi, Walikale region, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 30 July and 2 August, 2010 was exposed (UN News Centre, 9/7/10). The Special Representative (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallström, who was appointed to coordinate the UN response in the DRC, stated in our last edition of PeaceWomen ENews (116) that “the Congolese people deserve a credible security sector that can protect them, … (and) so long as rapists remain at large they hold the international reputation of the Congo hostage.” She called for more to be done “not only to help the victims, but to help ensure there are no more victims.” (Read full editorial Translating Promises into Practice Editorial).

Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for peacekeeping Atul Khare briefed the Security Council on September 7, urging the use of targeted sanctions against the perpetrators to begin ending impunity for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the DRC. Considering the lack of communication with victims that surrounded this incident and the many others like it, the imperative to create channels for consultation, develop preventative mechanisms, and empower local women is more pressing than ever. (Further news on the DRC is available on the DRC page of

PeaceWomen monitors the Security Council's mandate renewals and, extracts the women/gender content, or lack thereof, in its resolutions, debates, and reports (see PeaceWomen Security Council Monitor). The presence of language in a resolution is not, in itself, sufficient to ensure that peacekeepers effectively address the rights and concerns of women. For instance, despite the mandate of MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), including support for the DRC government's efforts to protect civilians from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence (Paragraph 12(c) of SCR 1925 (2010)), the events of the past month clearly highlight flaws in implementation of real protection on the ground, by both the peacekeeping mission and the government. (See further details on DRC Mandate on PeaceWomen Resolution Watch).

In a further effort to advance monitoring, PeaceWomen is compiling and analysing data from Resolution Watch to produce a Women, Peace and Security Handbook focusing on the Security Council's incorporation of the WPS agenda in country-specific resolutions, and particularly those that constitute peacekeeping mission mandates (to be launch in October 2010). By virtue of the Security Council's decision “to remain actively seized of the matter [of Women, peace and security]” (SCR 1325, OP 18), the Women, peace and security agenda remains on the Council's program. The systematic integration of a gender perspective and women's rights and concerns into the Council's policy, decision-making and actions is pivotal to achieving real peace and security for women on the ground .

On September 2, 2010, WILPF International organized an event in Geneva, 10 years after UN SCR 1325: Conflict Prevention Mechanisms,” chaired by Madeleine Rees, WILPF Secretary General, which featured a lively and critical discussion of SCR 1325 and conflict prevention strategies and mechanisms. Mary Robinson (President, Realizing Rights) pointed out that in the interest of conflict prevention, a link between women, peace and security must be drawn to human rights mechanisms. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda (General Secretary, World YWCA) reinforced this idea, expressing the need to coordinate 1325 with existing international and regional humanitarian law and human rights instruments.

In the backdrop of the anniversary and these global events, the establishment and formation of a new hybrid entity continues: UN WOMEN, which will consolidate DAW, OSAGI, UNIFEM, and INSTRAW, and strengthen the UN's work on gender equality and women's empowerment. The Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR) Campaign has issued a Call to Action:

  • Establish meaningful, systematic, and diverse civil society participation
  • Demand a dynamic and relevant agenda for UN Women
  • Pressure donors to aim for $1 billion in funding and meet their commitment to "core, multi-year, predictable, stable and sustainable" contributions
  • Seek powerful, capable and effective leadership at every level

Please sign the GEAR petition, and visit the PeaceWomen website for more information on UN Women. We expect the UN Secretary-General to appoint the Under-Secretary-General in the coming weeks.

This week marks the opening of the 65th General Assembly. The theme of the general debate will be "Reaffirming the central role of the United Nations in global governance.” This year a special Plenary will be held to discuss accelerating progress toward the 2015 Millennium Development Goals deadline. At PeaceWomen, we are continuing to hold Member States accountable to their women, peace and security commitments by collecting, tracking, and monitoring the gendered language and statements made in the General Assembly Plenary and sharing them on our website (GA65 Monitor).

Additionally, on Saturday September 25th, “A 1325 Call to Action” Ministerial-level side event will take place at the United Nations; it is currently co-hosted by Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Civil Society Advisory Group. This event will introduce the idea of and showcase 1325 commitments - at national, regional and international levels - so that the international community is ready to make strong, time-bound, measurable commitments at the upcoming Security Council Ministerial-level Open Debate in October.

In the buildup to October's Open Debate, let us urge our governments, UN actors, and the Security Council to make and take real, measurable and progressive steps toward positively impacting the lives of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. Let us make sure that these actors continue to "remain actively seized of the matter"…"Let us all remain actively seized of the matter."

PeaceWomen Speak Local Campaign

The aim of the Speak Local Campaign is to translate Security Council Resolution 1325 and 1820 into as many local languages around the globe as possible in order to make the resolutions accessible to local communities. PeaceWomen still needs help from as many partners as possible to make a direct impact on the implementation of these resolutions. Help us promote local ownership and awareness. Make the resolution yours! For more information on the Speak Local Campaign, please click here, or email

PeaceWomen's Women, Peace and Security Handbook

For the 10th anniversary of 1325, Peacewomen will be launching the ‘Women, Peace and Security Handbook' – a compilation and analysis of United Nations Security Council Resolution language from 2000 to 2010. Divided into thirteen thematic chapters, the handbook is a reference guide for both progress made and action to be taken on the Women, Peace and Security agenda. With the kind support of the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Lichtenstein, the handbook will be launched in October 2010.

The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security has released the September 2010 version of our Monthly Action Points (MAP) on Women, Peace and Security for the UN Security Council. For September, the MAP addresses the thematic issue of international peace and security, as well as the country situations of Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Somalia. To view the MAP for September (English), please click here.

The 10th Anniversary of SCR 1325 is fast approaching in October 2010. News, events, and initiatives are constantly being added to the compendium on the 1325+10 section of the PeaceWomen website. Please save the date for the anniversary Peace Fair in New York, which is bringing together organizations from around the world dedicated to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

Particularly worthy of note is the conferance "10 Years On: Conflict Prevention Mechanisms for UNSCR 1325" an event organized by the NGO Working Group on Peace, co-chaired by Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and Femmes Africa Solidarité, and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy Security Policy. The conference, held on September 2, examined the practical implementation of the affirmations on prevention inscribed in UN SCR 1325. In particular, linking human rights mechanisms to issues of women, peace and security.

No women, No Peace is an innovative new campaign to end the exclusion of women from peacebuilding campaign, organized by Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS UK), a network of peace, human rights and development organizations in the United Kingdom. Whilst women are highly resourceful and are actively building peace in their communities, this is often not recognized in formal peace processes. Despite international promises, women made up only 1 in 40 peace agreement signatories over the past 25 years.

The 'No women, No peace.' campaign will use the 10th Anniversary of SCR 1325 to instigate the momentum necessary to raise awareness of the issue on both the public and political agenda.

Take action Be one of the first No Women, No Peace. activists. To get the latest updates please click here, or visit the homepage at and follow the work leading up to the launch in October.