The Road Towards 20 Years of Women, Peace and Security – Strategies for Action

WILPF Highlights

Sylvie Ndogmo of WILPF Cameroon reports back from the discussion group at “The Road Towards 20 Years of Women, Peace and Security -- Strategies for Action” event. (Visual: WILPF)

On 26 October, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security held a Civil Society 2020 planning session entitled, “The Road Towards 20 Years of Women, Peace and Security -- Strategies for Action”. The goal of the Forum was to create space for global feminist peace leaders in New York to come together and build common ground addressing key areas of tension for realising the WPS Agendas’s transformative intent, and strategize on how to leverage the 20th Anniversary of UNSCR 1325 in 2020 for action.

Participants discussed how 2020 will be a strategic year for women peace activists. 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of UNSCR1325, the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the 5th Anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement, and the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, among others.

Participants shared lessons learned on navigating key tensions around issues including women human rights defenders, gender parity versus gender equality, intersectional gender conflict analysis, human security and disarmament, masculinities, post-war reconstruction and peacebuilding, as well as the UN engagement. They identified mobilising spaces to work together in 2019 and 2020, and affirmed that as a movement, 2020 must be not about empty new commitments, but about concrete behavioral shifts that change the lives of local women through participation, justice, and peace.

Some key highlights of comments included:

-- “What are economies for?  If economies are for enabling people to live, how would that transform post-war settings?”

-- “What is not helpful is putting ‘male champions’ on a pedestal to rescue or speak for women. We need a new vision of humanity based on ‘power-with’ [not power-over] for feminist peace.”

-- “We need to enhance inclusion and empathy, challenge cultures of fear and militaries, which are perpetuating insecurities because of state-centric insecurity… We want a transformed more inclusive peace architecture at all levels building from local to national level, with resourced WPS networks working on different themes, feeding into national WPS coordinating committees chaired in countries by ministers for women.”  

Overall, the event provided an important space that added value from the traditional outward facing side events for the feminist peace movement to come together. Together, participants renewed friendships and connections, reignited determination, and built synergies and strategies for change.

Stay tuned for the official report from the Forum!