The Women, Peace and Security agenda will only be fully realized when states and other key stakeholders prioritize its radical premise of preventing conflict and violence rather than just cleaning up the pieces afterward. This requires an integrated approach that dismantles the current economy of violence and war and instead invests in an economy of gender justice and peace.
This WILPF PeaceWomen publication supports the civil society roadmap outlined by the NGO Working Group on Women Peace and Security and outlines eight key interlinked components critical for effective gendered conflict prevention: inclusive participation; gender analysis; demilitarization; disarmament; women’s human rights; environmental sustainability and development justice; local to global responses; and an independent women’s movement.
To address critical gaps, we particularly recommend action on the following three issues:
Conflict Prevention and Disarmament
CONFLICT PREVENTION AND DISARMAMENT
In Sweden, conflict prevention and disarmament have had substantial attention. Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström, stated in her first day in office in 2014 that Sweden would run a feminist foreign policy. She later denounced the Saudi authorities for their human rights record and in particular the sentence of 1,000 lashes and flogging of liberal Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.
However, Wallström took the next step of moving from words to action. Following concerted outreach and advocacy by WILPF-Sweden demanding Sweden not to engage in far reaching military cooperation with a regime that systematically and brutally violates women’s rights, the Swedish government in March 2015 declared it would not continue a heavily criticized military cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia. This was hailed as a feminist victory, with WILPF Secretary General Madeleine Rees stating that “this is what feminist foreign policy looks like.” WILPF stands behind Wallström and demands that more states enact feminist foreign policy through concrete actions for disarmament, gender justice, and peace.
In Colombia, inclusive peace processes ensuring women’s participation at the peace table and realization of women’s human rights in peace agreements have been a critical demand after the decades-long conflict between the Government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).
Although peace negotiations between the Government and the FARC beginning in 2010 had an all-male government delegation, women peace leaders succeeded in changing this. WILPF Colombia advocated for CEDAW’s 2013 Review of Colombia to fast-track the inclusion of women in peace processes. These recommendations were supported and became part of the mobilization resulting in the appointment of two women in the Government delegation conducting peace talks with the FARC and later, the establishment of a Sub-Committee on the negotiations on Gender in 2014. Despite these gains, women civil society does not have formal space in negotiations. This is a critical gap around the world and needs to be addressed.