By Anne Lescure
At the height of the UN 72nd General Assembly, the Security Council continued its ongoing discussion on the future of the UN peacekeeping as its President hosted a High-Level Open Debate on the “Reform of UN Peacekeeping: Implementation and Follow up”. The aim of the discussion – guided by a concept note – was for Member States to consider how peacekeeping operations can more effectively contribute to sustaining peace and relapse prevention. At the meeting, the Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2378 (2017) stressing that the prevention of conflict and relapse prevention remain primary responsibilities of receiving States and that political solutions should always be prioritised, as well as strategic partnerships with the African Union (AU) and other actors.
A reform of the UN peacekeeping missions’ engagement with grassroots civil society organisations, including women’s groups, was underscored as vital for the development of sustainable peace. However, no references were made to women-led local initiatives such as Women Situation Rooms (WSRs) as examples to highlight how women can effectively engage in conflict prevention and mitigation. Rather, most statements shared a militarised vision of peacekeeping and advocated for women’s inclusion in this same military industry for peace. This is alarming as it illustrates a shift from strengthening gender analysis towards supporting the logic of militarism and violent masculinities.