Internalizing Resolution 1325: Evaluating the Implementation in Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste

Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Renee Black
Western Africa
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
East Timor
East Timor
South Eastern Asia
Peacewomen Comment: 

This resource was submitted as part of the 1325+10 PeaceWomen initiative to compile a repository of papers dealing with a broad range of issues around the implementation of 1325, as part of the Women, Peace and Security: From Resolution to Action Geneva High-Level Consultation 15-16 September 2010, Geneva.

In October 2000, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325 on Women, Peace & Security (WPS), recognizing for the first time both the distinct impacts of war on women as well as the need to include women as crucial participants in all aspects of post-conflict peacebuilding. Moving from traditional positions wherein ”soft” security issues such as sexual violence were considered unfortunate but inevitable consequences of conflict, this new position asserted an inextricable link between gender equality and peace, and called for more proactive measures to strengthen both the active participation of women in all aspects of society and the prospects for sustainable post-conflict peacebuilding.

Eight years since its adoption however, important questions remain regarding whether or not SCR 1325 has been internalized by actors at all level of governance. In particular, little research has been undertaken to examine how SCR 1325 has informed the gender policies, programs and structures of different organizations within conflict and post-conflict countries.

This paper addresses this gap by first describing the extent to which organizational structures, policies and programs have shifted in two post-conflict countries, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste, since SCR 1325 was adopted. Secondly, I explore whether or not we can conclude that SRC 1325 can be credited for observed shifts, and if so, to what extent and in what ways?

This paper adds to the literature on norm diffusion by examining Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink's proposition on the norm lifecycles, which describes how international norms move from norm emergence into cascading via a tipping point and finally become internalized in various ways. Starting from the assumption that norm has moved into this final stage of the norm lifecycle with the passing of SCR 1325, I evaluate degrees of internalization of NGOs, governments, and international actors working on gender issues. Specifically, I look for evidence that SCR 1325 is influencing organizational structures, policies and programs. I conclude that there is limited evidence of internalization and that specific challenges complicate this evaluation in practice, which make it neither easy nor obvious to recognize SCR 1325 internalization.

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Internalizing Resolution 1325, Black, April 2009