Guide to UNSCRs on Women, Peace, and Security

Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Institute for Inclusive Security


Abstract: UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) are international law; as such, UN member states are required to follow them. At the same time, resolutions provide advocacy tools to civil society organizations. Four resolutions currently address women, peace, and security. UNSCRs 1325 and 1889 underscore women's leadership in peacebuilding and conflict prevention. UNSCRs 1820 and 1888 focus on preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence.

Four UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) on women, peace, and security call upon the Security Council, the UN secretary-general, member states, and all other parties (such as, non-state actors, militias, humanitarian agencies, and civil society) to:

1. Ensure participation of women in peace processes;
2. Prevent and protect against conflict-related sexual violence; and
3. Promote the full spectrum of women's rights, particularly in conflict and post-conflict contexts.
UNSCRs 1325 and 1889 emphasize elevating women's leadership. UNSCRs 1820 and 1888 focus on preventing and responding to sexual violence. All four resolutions acknowledge the need for women and civil society to participate in peacebuilding.

Women's Leadership in Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention

UNSCR 1325: Presented by Namibia, October 2000

UNSCR 1325 was passed unanimously on October 31, 2000. The first resolution passed by the Security Council to specifically address the impact of war on women, UNSCR 1325 emphasizes the need to increase the role of women in peace processes.

Key Components:
• Addresses the role of women in conflict resolution and peacekeeping and is the first Security Council resolution to do so;
• Urges member states to increase the number of women in decision-making positions;
• Calls for the placement of gender advisers in UN peacekeeping missions;
• Emphasizes the importance of training for UN and member state–sponsored humanitarian and peacekeeping missions; and
• Calls for women to participate throughout the peacebuilding process, particularly in negotiations.
Monitoring and Reporting:
• Is the broadest and most comprehensive of the resolutions on women, peace, and security but the weakest in terms of monitoring and enforcement;
• Encourages the secretary-general to implement a “strategic plan of action,” calling for greater participation of women at decision-making levels in conflict resolution and peace processes; and
• Is complemented by a subsequent Security Council Presidential Statement (October 2004) encouraging the creation of UNSCR 1325 national action plans.

• Fails to articulate sanctions.

Missing Provisions:
• Does not call for gender-disaggregated data to monitor and assess progress;
• Does not have effective accountability mechanisms or disciplinary actions for peacekeepers who violate and exploit local populations;
• Does not include indicators to enable monitoring; and
• Does not provide sanctions or other accountability mechanisms.

UNSCR 1889: Presented by Vietnam, October 2009

UNSCR 1889 builds on UNSCR 1325 by emphasizing the need to consider women as necessary agents for creating sustainable peace and security.

Key Components:
• Calls for increased participation of women at all levels of the peace process, particularly as high-level mediators and on mediation teams;
• Asks that the secretary-general develop methods for including more women in peacekeeping as well as appointing more to positions of good offices on his behalf, particularly as special representatives and special envoys;
• Urges donors to address women's empowerment and calls for transparency in the tracking of funds;
• Calls for the secretary-general to continue providing gender advisers to UN missions;
• Reiterates the vital role of women in preventing and resolving conflict and in building peace; and
• Requests the secretary-general to submit within 12 months a report to the Security Council on addressing women's participation and inclusion in peacebuilding.

Monitoring and Reporting:
• Encourages member states to develop UNSCR 1325 national action plans;
• Welcomes the formation of the UN Steering Committee to enhance visibility and strengthen coordination within the UN system in preparation for the tenth anniversary of UNSCR 1325;
• Calls for all UN state reports to provide information on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls;
• Requests that the secretary-general develop, within six months, a set of indicators to be used at the global level to track UNSCR 1325 implementation;
• Invites recommendations for a Security Council mechanism for monitoring implementation of UNSCR 1325;
• Requests that the secretary-general include in an annual report all issues relevant to UNSCR 1325, including data on women's participation in UN missions; and
• Asks the secretary-general to ensure that relevant UN bodies, in cooperation with member states and civil society, collect gender-disaggregated data.

• Fails to articulate sanctions for violations; and
• Calls for recommendations in 2010 on how the Security Council will receive, analyze, and act on information of violations of UNSCR 1325.

Missing Provision:
• Does not provide stronger enforcement mechanisms, such as sanctions or penalties.
Prevention of and Response to Conflict-related Sexual Violence

UNSCR 1820: Presented by the United States, June 2008

UNSCR 1820 addresses victims of sexual violence during conflict but also emphasizes the importance of elevating women to positions where they can combat sexual violence.

Key Components:
• Recognizes sexual violence to be an international peace and security issue;
• Demands all parties to an armed conflict immediately take measures to protect civilians, including women and girls, from all forms of sexual violence;
• Notes that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide;
• Stresses the importance of ending impunity for acts of sexual violence, such as by excluding sexual violence from amnesty provisions;
• Calls for specific training of UN troops on the prohibition of sexual violence; and
• Welcomes coordination of UN action against sexual violence during conflict.

Monitoring and Reporting:
• Calls for annual reporting by the UN secretary-general; and
• Requests that the secretary-general develop effective guidelines and strategies to enhance the ability of UN peacekeeping operations to protect civilians, including women and children, from all forms of sexual violence.
• Affirms the Security Council's intention to consider imposing state-specific sanctions on parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence during armed conflict; and
• Calls for the secretary-general to develop a strategy for discussing sexual violence with parties to armed conflict.

Missing Provision:
• Does not include specific implementation and accountability mechanisms.

UNSCR 1888: Presented by the United States, September 2009

UNSCR 1888 builds on UNSCR 1820, addressing the problem of sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon of war.

Key Components:
• Calls on the secretary-general to rapidly deploy experts to situations of particular concern regarding sexual violence to work with UN personnel on the ground and national governments to strengthen rule of law; and
• Asks for the appointment of a special representative to lead efforts to end conflict-related sexual violence and to include information about the prevalence of sexual violence in reports to the Security Council by UN peacekeeping missions.

Monitoring and Reporting:
• Calls on the secretary-general, preferably within three months, to devise specific proposals to ensure more effective monitoring and reporting within the UN system on the protection of women and children from rape and other sexual violence; and
• Asks for annual reports to provide details on the perpetrators of any sexual violence.

Missing Provision:
• Does not have specific accountability and implementation mechanisms.

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UN Security Council Resolutions Women Peace Security, IIS, Sep 2010