This year marks the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security (WPS).1 The passing of SCR 1325 was groundbreaking: it was the first time that the UNSC addressed the distinct experiences and contributions of women in the context of peace and security. SCR 1325 calls for full and equal participation of women and the integration of a gender perspective in all peace and security initiatives. It covers the inter-linked thematic areas of participation, protection, prevention, and relief and recovery. SCRs 1820, 1888 and 1889 strengthen and complement 1325, and the four resolutions should be considered the body of WPS commitments. Implementation of these commitments is a common concern and responsibility of each UN Member State – be it conflict-affected, donor or other.
Europe is a frontrunner when it comes to efforts to implement SCR 1325 et al. The majority of WPS national action plans (NAPs) originate in Europe. At EU-level there is the Comprehensive approach to the EU implementation of UNSCRs 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security, complemented by Implementation of UNSCR 1325 as reinforced by UNSCR 1820 in the context of ESDP. There are also references to SCR 1325 in key documents and WPS-related resolutions have been adopted in parliaments.
That said there is a gap between European policy and practice. True implementation requires concrete, responsive, time-bound programmes, resources and evaluation mechanisms. Furthermore, the EU should “practice what it preaches”. It should increase the number of women working within its own institutions, appoint women to senior-level positions at the national, regional and international levels. EU Member States (MS) play a key role in furthering EU-level implementation of SCR 1325. They propose candidates for EU top jobs, develop mandates for Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions, organise pre-deployment training, punish sexual- and gender-based violence, and so on.
The 10th Anniversary of 1325 is not a one-off moment for celebrations. Instead, October 2010 should mark the start of a reinvigorated agenda for the implementation of 1325, which cannot be advanced without political leadership at the highest levels and increased resources. In addition, efforts to include women's participation in peacebuilding and to address their needs should be guided by a broader approach to gender. To be effective, 1325 should not only concern women: including men and addressing their roles in peace and security matters are critical elements for the successful implementation of 1325.