Planning the Next Steps: Ways to Sustain Peace and Prevent Conflict through Women’s #MeaningfulParticipation
By Marina Kumskova and Sarah Werner, WILPF’s Women, Peace and Security Programme
(Photo: UN Photo/Manuel Elias)
The United Nations Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on “Women, Peace and Security” was held on 13 March 2019 to discuss the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. Discussions centered on the development of a holistic response to gender inequality, both to assist women in overcoming barriers created by inequality and to address its root causes. It provided a space for Member States to identify these barriers, highlight good practices, and propose initiatives to encourage the full and significant participation of women.
Held during the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women, Member States demonstrated a strong focus on the role of institutions and the access of women to resources as a matter of ensuring women’s participation, conflict prevention and sustainable peace. Many member states pointed to the National and Regional UNSCR1325 Action Plans as concrete instruments to advance the transformation of institutions. Other initiatives, like the Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, have capacity to encourage progress towards sustainable development and peace.
The general agreement on the importance of the WPS Agenda for conflict prevention and sustaining peace was challenged by the representative of Russia, who called for a more subjective approach and review of specific measures on a case-by-case basis, to determine whether initiatives discussed are necessary, practically applicable, and effective. However, there is evidence that, regardless of the context, women's work and integrating local priorities have a tremendous impact on the possibility and sustainability of peace.
Strong support was expressed for finding innovative ways to integrate gender analysis and local priorities into peace and security work. This includes building strong partnerships with regional organisations and civil society, organising regular visits to the communities, and making sure that these discussions are integrated into the Council’s decision-making. Building on the discussions during the Arria Formula on Human Rights, Accountability and Equality, the representative of China emphasized that the Security Council should not operate in a bubble; rather, it should coordinate its work with the Economic and Social Council, Human Rights Council and others as appropriate.
As recognised by the representative of Sweden, while the importance of women’s participation and empowerment are generally understood, gender mainstreaming is still seen as an ad-hoc undertaking instead being deeply integrated in the action. The discussion at the meeting generally outlined a more progressive framework for the WPS implementation and gender analysis. This includes the need to measure how peace and security work impacts women; institutionalising gender dimension in all operations; formalising the engagement with civil society, integrating diverse voices of women, better collection of gender-disaggregated data, ensuring gender-budgeting and women, peace and security financing, integration of local priorities in the work on peace and security.
Ahead of 2020, we need to build on such discussions and integrate them in the existing peace and security mechanisms!
Arria Formula Concept Note: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/upload.teamup.com/908040/cA7j16rbTiW12MCBlmNx_190313pm-arria-france-csw63.pdf
The Resolutions: http://www.peacewomen.org/why-WPS/solutions/resolutions
Joint Communique: https://www.un.org/sexualviolenceinconflict/press-release/joint-communique-signed-between-the-united-nations-and-the-government-of-myanmar-to-prevent-and-respond-to-conflict-related-sexual-violence-in-myanmar/
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