The article below describes the Solomon Islands' National Action plan (NAP) for the implementation of UNSC1325, which is the first of its kind for the Pacific region.
The Solomon Islands is an Asia Pacific island country that has been affected by internal conflict, and environmental issues such as increasing climate temperatures, rising sea levels, commercial logging, food (in)security for increasing populations with decreasing agricultural viability, and the destabilization of communities. In 2017, the Solomon Islands became one of the first in the Pacific region to launch a National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) covering the years 2017 to 2022. The plan is meant to support the recommendations made by the previous Truth and Reconciliation Commission, specifically as it pertains to women and girls, CEDAW General Recommendation 30, and the entire WPS agenda, including access to government services, protection, prevention and rehabilitation with the promise that a commitment to women’s rights will be reflected in “all related policies, programs and budgets, including the resources [the Solomon Islands] invest in recovery and reparation”. The development of the NAP was led by the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, and supported by the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace, the Ministry of Police, Corrections and National Security, and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force with technical and financial support by the Government of Australia, UN Women, and UNDP for the during the NAP development process.
The Solomon Islands is recovering from a civil conflict in which women and girls were deliberately targeted with violence. More than half of women and girls reported direct violence during the conflict, including instances rape, death of family members, threats of violence and intimidation and being held up at gunpoint. According to the Solomon Islands Family Health and Safety Studies (FHSS) 64 per cent of the nation’s women experience physical or sexual intimate partner violence which is twice the global average. Home to over 70 languages the Solomon Islands experienced violent conflict known locally as the “Tensions” from 1998 until the Townsville Peace Agreement was signed in 2003, which helped to pave the way to other deeper peace efforts. Due to patriarchal attitudes, presence of women’s rights and women civil society actors have historically been minimal in the Solomon Islands, and only more recently there is growing representation of women in political and social arenas. Currently two women belong to the national parliament alongside 48 men. During the Tensions, women play a role in peacemaking using traditional practices and churches to mediate and place pressure on parties to disarm, as well as a role providing social, spiritual and material support to one another and to combatants.
According to the National Action Plan background summary, groups like Women for Peace, Westside Women for Peace, and Vois Blong Meri played a large role in provision of food and goods, prayer, to combatants, their own and the opposing sides as a way to calm the tensions and find pathways to peace. Despite this, women were completely excluded from the peace agreement negotiations and amnesty was given to all actors, depriving women and girls and other affected people access to justice and accountability. Reflecting the priorities of the Solomon Islands’ government, the National Action Plan is created from a range of recommendations from previous plans and agreements in the post-conflict setting, with a stated aim of promoting and implementing UNSC Women, Peace, and Security Resolutions and CEDAW.