In October 2015, women activists, advocates and women human rights defenders along with UN Member States and agencies will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) and the establishment of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.
Despite the rhetoric and repeated commitments, the WPS agenda is far from being comprehensively implemented in policy and practice by Member States and the UN system. Full implementation of the agenda means implementation across all “pillars:” conflict prevention, participation, protection and relief and recovery. Although there has been some progress in recognizing and addressing the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and girls, this is only one aspect of the WPS agenda. Women’s leadership and their full and equal participation in all efforts to establish international peace and security, and the promotion and respect of their human rights, are imperative to prevent or resolve conflicts and build peace. Whether it be creating initiatives aimed at countering armed violence or the brokering of a peace accord, peace and security processes will not be effective if half the population is left on the sidelines.
Initiatives related to the 15th anniversary, including the High-Level Review, must be more than ceremonial and about recommitments to the principles and transformative potential, and effective implementation, of the WPS agenda. Implementation and operationalization of WPS commitments must be prioritized, and key challenges that have hindered the full adoption of Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325 (2000) and subsequent resolutions must be immediately addressed and overcome by UN Member States and entities. Commitments made in the lead up to and at the October anniversary must be followed by long-term implementation strategies. To achieve effective results on WPS, the international community must address and take action on the following critical areas: