Civil Society Statement delivered by Joy Onyesoh at the Opening Segment of the High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace


Statement by Joy Ada Onyesoh

WILPF Nigeria President and WILPF International Vice President

at the President of the General Assembly High Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace


Watch full statement here>>


New York, 24 April 2018

(Check Against Delivery)


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sustaining peace is a multipronged integrated approach that involves putting local women’s voices and rights at the center. It is a shift from crisis response to a more proactive conflict prevention approach. This requires reorienting work around amplifying local women’s meaningful participation and root cause analysis for peace.  

Effective gendered conflict analysis involves a participatory process that engages and utilizes the experience of diverse stakeholders. This process aims at changing structural power for gender equality and women’s human rights.   This process becomes critical if the United Nations and International Community are to effectively support the participation and rights of at risk and marginalized communities, take a holistic approach to prevention that strengthens women’s human rights and reduces armed and violent conflict resolution, including by addressing violent masculinities and disarmament.

A commitment to gendered conflict analysis prioritizes increased partnerships with women civil society as key stakeholders and this drives measures towards ensuring their substantive participation. This goes beyond the tokenism of numbers to concrete engagement in the development of targeted interventions, which are contextually relevant and appropriate. It also requires creating an enabling environment for women civil society that ensures access, justice and increases core ongoing sustained funding and political support for our work.

We commend the increased number of civil society speakers to address the UN Security Council in 2017, the Security Council Lake Chad Basin Mission that prioritized early meetings with civil society, increased engagement of UNSG’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict with civil society.

I had the opportunity of watching an American produced movie “Hidden Figures” the movie narrates and visualizes the different realities of three NASA female mathematicians – Octavia Spencer, Jenelle Monae and Taraji Henson across gender and race lines to help launch astronaut Glen Powell into outer space. This movie reminds me of how women represent hidden figures in conflict prevention, transformation and peace building processes. We live and work within structures that continuously exclude, discriminate and stereotype women. We hear talks that are in dissonance with the actions been implemented on ground. We would keep pushing and advocating for an integrated approach that puts the rights and perspectives of women at the center of sustaining peace.

Women, Peace and Security issues are one of the most recognized agendas at the UN, yet funding for gender equality and women’s movement building remains inadequate. In 2012 through to 2013, only two percent of aid to peace and security for fragile states targeted gender equality, from 2010 through to 2015, financial support allocated by major donor countries to promote gender equality dropped by more than fifty percent. Of 74 UNSCR1325 National Action Plans adopted to date, only twenty three percent include some allocated budget for implementation. Continuously, we witness gender-blind national budgets, which have resulted in cuts in public health and social services expenditure contributing to the feminization of poverty and further deepening gender inequality.

As part of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s over 100 years of action for an integrated approach to peace and security, we call for action on sustaining peace to put women’s participation and rights at the center of conflict prevention and sustaining peace. In particular, we call for a gendered conflict analysis across the UN system that is based on local women’s perspectives, for partnerships to priorities women civil society as key stakeholders, and financing that substantially scales up funding for gender equality including core, ongoing support for women civil society.

Finally, sustaining peace requires consistent and committed political will to move out of the comfort zone and challenge dominant narratives on gender, conflict analysis and power. And, the big reflective question I leave with us today is, beyond the rhetoric, are we committed to taking the bold steps that ensures an inclusive, accountable demilitarized approach to sustaining peace?

Thank You!