After the High-level Review – Connecting Local and Global Action to Implement the WPS Agenda

UNHQ Conference Room 6

On 23 October 2015, WILPF WPS Programme, the Mission of Liechtenstein to the UN, and Liechtenstein Institute for Self-Determination at Princeton University held our final Women, Peace and Security lecture series, “After the High-Level Review -- Connecting Local and Global Action to Implement the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.” Participants included Liechtenstein Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Aurelia Frick, New York University Professor and former UN Women Chief of Peace and Security Anne Marie Goetz, and WILPF-Nigeria President and WILPF International Vice President Joy Onyesoh. The event provided space to discuss lessons learned, reflect on the outcomes of the High-Level Review, and outline recommendations for effective implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda moving forward.

Liechtenstein Foreign Affairs Minister, Aurelia Frick, opened the panel by bringing attention to the need expand the conversation on Women, Peace and Security and promote an integrated approach across the UN and between local and global for effective action. This includes engaging more men in the Women, Peace and Security discussion, which UN Women’s He-For-She campaign has successfully brought attention to. The Security Council alone is not enough. The agenda must be integrated more broadly across the UN, including in the Sustainable Development Goals / 2030 Agenda through Goal 5 and Goal 16, and the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit. Funding and political will are also critical. Frick called for WPS champions at all levels, including the Security Council, the UN Secretariat, and the field, and called for global military spending to be reallocated to conflict prevention. 

New York University Professor and former UN Women Peace and Security Chief Anne Marie Goetz, reflected on how the Women, Peace and Security Agenda is a political agenda, which cannot be implemented without addressing militarised power structures. “This is about power, not bureaucratic procedure,” she stated. She affirmed that the global study should put an end to the on-going challenge of putting Women, Peace and Security issues “later,” and affirmed the need for feminist foreign policy that recognises women’s contributions, provides reparations, redistributes resources, ensures rights, and strengthens women’s voices from the local to global level.

WILPF-Nigeria President Joy Onyesoh, shared experience from the Nigerian context on how strengthening grassroots activism is critical for sustainable peace. WILPF-Nigeria has developed a train-the-trainers programme, which has trained over 7,200 women in the last two years to use UNSCR 1325 (2000) for economic empowerment and to combat gun violence in their communities. WILPF-Nigeria is also working to document and provide evidence of the work that women peacemakers are doing on the ground. This is especially critical to understand and support in areas such as northeast of Nigeria where women are working to counter violent extremism. She reminded participants that women peacebuilders are already taking action in their communities for peace, disarmament, and gender justice and that the international community should look for opportunities to strengthen and make this work sustainable.