1325 AT 15: Reflections from the Pacific Region on the Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda

Photo by Evan Roberts, Author: Sharon Bhagwan Rolls at the Prelude to the Peace Forum Event

According to the Report, “Candid Voices from the Field: Obstacles to a Transformative Women, Peace and Security Agenda and to Women’s Meaningful Participation in Building Peace and Security,” UNSCR 1325 and its sister resolutions have become “renowned for being the most advocated and least implemented set of resolutions.”

This is hardly a resounding endorsement for the capacity of a global policy instrument meant to change the lives of some of the most marginalised and critical actors working to build sustainable, peaceful and secure communities.

Unfortunately, this is the reality in Pacific Island countries and territories where despite women and young women’s productive efforts our participation in formal conflict prevention and management and post-conflict recovery efforts, as well as oversight and accountability mechanisms for the security sector is still not fully realised.

Women still struggle to be heard at the negotiating table in leadership roles and are not given sufficient recognition and resources to do their work. Women’s voices – whether individual or collective – continue to be fundamental to advancing women’s rights at national and international levels.

The 15th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 came at a time when there is growing recognition to the changing nature of conflict and for our Pacific region, as women have been communicating that we still need to address the root causes of our region’s political fragility and insecurity and the interconnections between natural disasters, humanitarian crises and conflicts.

Women, of course have proven for more than 15 years that we are not simply vulnerable to these crises but have demonstrated leadership that must be integrated into political processes. In the Pacific this year, we convened a Pacific Civil Society Forum on Peace and Human Security, enabling peace builders to provide input for the global study.

No wonder Radhika Coomaraswamy has said “Peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding is not about men speaking to men with male facilitators but there is a radical change needed to ensure not only the inclusion of women but an investment in the leadership of women in both formal and informal processes.”

The recommendations of the Global Study are reflected in those that have been identified and refined by Pacific women through FemLINKPACIFIC and GPPAC Pacific networks during the past 15 years and we now need to hear more than just affirmations of state-centric security. We must now reassert the need for a feminist lens on the Peace and Security agenda – from the local to global.

Read the complete article by Sharon Bhagwan Rolls here.