Civil Society Organisations - Overview

The vital role of civil society, particularly women’s civil society organizations, is so important but often unrecognized marginalized and undervalued. The significant work of women’s civil society organizations in conflict situations is all the more extraordinary in view of the fact that they are frequently excluded from formal conflict resolution processes, political dialogue, and post-conflict peacebuilding systems, including the mechanisms and institutions responsible for implementation of peace accords and post-conflict planning processes. 


There remains an urgency of supporting women’s organizations, advocates and women’s rights defenders in a spectrum of work related to Women, Peace and Security. Support must be political, technical and financial. It includes supporting and ensuring women civil society’s participation in peace processes, in all aspects of the rebuilding of judicial, security, and political institutions, and in constitution drafting.

Engagement with civil society must be meaningful, substantive and from the outset and in an ongoing manner. This means at all levels: local, national, intergovernmental, or international level, should involve civil society. The diversity in civil society actors and contributions must be recognised and valued.

Women’s organizations in contexts of conflict and post-conflict situations are often subject to specific security threats. Even when participating in peace processes and in post-conflict peace accord implementation agreements, women civil society leaders and activists can be subject to intimidation and harassment, particularly in societies in which these women are playing non-traditional roles. Concerted attention must be paid to the protection of women’s groups and women human rights defenders to ensure that threats to their security do not impede their participation in conflict resolution and political processes, including transitions.