About Women, Peace and Security in the Security Council

Women, Peace and Security Agenda

The Security Council adopted 8 resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS): Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2008), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013), 2122 (2013), 2242 (2015). Together they form the international policy framework on WPS and were adopted in response to persistent advocacy from civil society. The obligations in the resolutions extend from the international to the national level. They guide work to promote and protect the rights of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. Additionally, as binding Security Council resolutions, they should be implemented by all Member States and relevant actors, including UN system entities and parties to conflict.

It is clear from the Security Council’s political recognition of the WPS Agenda that gender is indeed central to international peace and security. However, accountability, implementation and action remain seriously lacking. There are many gaps, ranging from increasing the number of women at the highest levels of decision-making to ending impunity for gender-based violence. For each resolution and presidential statement, negotiations were conducted by the 15 members of the Security Council. The language was agreed upon and adopted as the official text.

Security Council Resolution 1325

On October 31, 2000, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325 (2000)). The adoption of Resolution 1325 was historic and unprecedented. It marked the first time the Security Council addressed the disproportionate and different impact of armed conflict on women, recognised the under-valued and under-utilised contributions women make to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution, and peace-building, and stressed the importance of their equal and full participation as active agents in peace and security. They guide work to promote gender equality and strengthen women’s participation, protection, and rights in conflict prevention through post-conflict reconstruction contexts. UNSCR 1325 (2000) is a historic watershed political framework that shows how women and a gender perspective are relevant to negotiating peace agreements, planning refugee camps and peacekeeping operations, and reconstructing war-torn societies.

TABLE ♀ UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace & Security ♀
1325 (2000)

Adopted on 31 October;

The first time the Security Council addressed the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women;

Recognises the under-valued and under-utilised contributions women make to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding;

Stresses the importance of women's equal and full participation as active agents in peace and security.

100+ translations

1820 (2008)

Adopted 19 June 2008;

Recognises sexual violence as a weapon and tactic of war;

Notes that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide;

Calls for the provision of specific training of troops on preventing and responding to sexual violence.

Calls for more deployment of women in peace operations.

20+ translations

1888 (2009)

Adopted 30 September 2009;

Reiterates that sexual violence exacerbates armed conflict and impedes international peace and security;

Calls for leadership to address conflict-related sexual violence;

Calls for deployment of Team of Experts where cases of sexual violence occurs.

Select translations

1889 (2009)

Adopted 5 October 2009;

Focuses on post-conflict peacebuilding and on women’s participation in all stages of peace processes;

Calls for the development of indicators to measure the implementation of UNSCR 1325 (2000).

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1960 (2010)

Adopted 16 December 2010;

Reiterates the call for an end to sexual violence in armed conflict;

Sets up “naming and shaming” listing mechanism, sending a direct political message that there are consequences for sexual violence including: listing in Secretary-General’s annual reports, referrals to UN Sanctions Committees and to the ICC, international condemnation, and reparations.

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2106 (2013)

Adopted 24 June 2013;

Focuses on operationalising current obligations rather than on creating new structures/initiatives;

Includes language on women’s participation in combating sexual violence;

Supports recourse to avenues of justice.

Select translations

2122 (2013)

Adopted 18 October 2013;

Explicitly affirms an “integrated approach” to sustainable peace;

Sets out concrete methods for combating women's participation deficit;

Recognises the need to address root causes of armed conflict and security risks faced by women;

Calls for the provision of multisectoral services to women affected by conflict;

Links disarmament and gender equality by mentioning Arms Trade Treaty twice.

Select translations

2242 (2015)

Adopted 13 October 2015;

Urges Member States to assess strategies and resourcing around the implementation of the WPS Agenda;

Takes up the gender recommendations of a just-completed Global Study;

Recognises the role of the WPS in countering violent extremism and terrorism;

Calls for the broadening of women's access to justice and “swift and thorough” investigations of the cases of sexual and gender-based violence.

Select translations

The list of other key milestones in the action of the Security Council on WPS, including open debates and Secretary-General reports, can be found here>>

Women, Peace and Security Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2016/9 (15 June 2016) encouraged Member States to increase their WPS funding including through more aid in conflict and post-conflict situations for programmes that further gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as through support to civil society.
  • S/PRST/2015/25 (16 December 2015) called upon Member States to hold accountable those who engage in trafficking in persons in situations of armed conflict especially their government employees and officials, as well as any contractors and subcontractors, and urged Member States to take all appropriate steps to mitigate the risk that their public procurement and supply chains may contribute to trafficking in persons in situations of armed conflict.
  • S/PRST/2014/21 (28 October 2014) highlighted the importance of women’s empowerment, gender equality, and the implementation of the WPS Agenda, as a cross-cutting subject throughout all UN thematic areas, as well as throughout national, regional and local levels––importantly including civil society.
  • S/PRST/2012/23 (31 October 2012) reaffirmed Security Council's commitments to full implementation of all five WPS resolutions, and emphasised the important role of civil society organisations in increasing women's participation in all peace efforts.
  • S/PRST/2012/3 (23 February 2012) reaffirmed the Security Council’s commitment to WPS resolutions, and reiterated its intention to fight impunity and uphold accountability for serious crimes against women and girls.
  • S/PRST/2012/3 (23 January 2012) stressed that sexual violence challenges sustainable peace processes. It also notes the continuing under-representation of women in formal peace processes.
  • S/PRST/2011/20 (28 October 2011) reiterated aspects of UNSCR 1325 (2000) and welcomed the role of UN Women in the implementation of WPS resolutions.
  • S/PRST/2010/22 (26 October 2010) aimed to reiterate the importance of the WPS Agenda in light of the 10th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 (2000).
  • S/PRST/2010/8 (27 April 2010) requested the Secretary-General to undertake more consultation on the global indicators to implement UNSCR 1325 (2000).
  • S/PRST/2008/39 (29 October 2008) followed the open debate on WPS and reinforced aspects of UNSCR 1325 (2000).
  • S/PRST/2007/40 (24 October 2007) sought a report in 2010 on the implementation of the 2008-2009 UN System Action Plan to implement UNSCR 1325 (2000).
  • S/PRST/2007/5 (7 March 2007) supported the importance of the WPS Agenda in light of the International Women’s Day.
  • S/PRST/2006/42 (26 October 2006) reiterated aspects of UNSCR 1325 (2000) and asked the Secretary-General to report in 12 months on the implementation of his Action Plan to implement UNSCR 1325 (2000).
  • S/PRST/2005/52 (27 October 2005) reiterated aspects of UNSCR 1325 (2000) on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the resolution.
  • S/PRST/2004/40 (28 October 2004) welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 (2000) by the UN system and reiterated aspects of UNSCR 1325 (2000).
  • S/PRST/2002/32 (31 October 2002) responded to the first Secretary-General’s report on the impact of conflict on women and girls.

Internalising Women, Peace and Security in the Thematic and Geographic Work of Security Council

As the body responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, it is critical that the Security Council itself consistently and systematically addresses gender and women’s rights in its own work and policy-making. It is obliged to implement all of its WPS resolutions. The Security Council is comprised of both geographic situations and thematic issues. Women, Peace and Security is one of these larger thematic agenda items of which the Security Council holds annual Open Debates, ad-hoc briefings, and also adopts resolutions and presidential statements. Analysis and monitoring work can be navigated in Security Council Monitor section of the website. WILPF’s Resolution Watch, Debate Watch and Report Watch monitor, extract and analyse the gender content of work of the Council. 

In addition to the thematic agenda item Women, Peace and Security, the Security Council also deals with other thematic issues. There is an interconnection with these other thematic agendas including: the protection of civilians, children and armed conflict, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention, counter-terrorism, and the maintenance of international peace and security. It is important to assess the interlinkages and overlaps between all of the Security Council themes; and moreover, note how the WPS Agenda permeates throughout. WILPF monitors the use of gender language and the references to women’s concerns in all of these topics, in order to best analyse the broader framework in which WPS unfolds and how gender is mainstreamed in the Security Council meetings and work.

Good examples of WPS integration in the UNSC work include:

UNSC Resolutions:

  • S/RES/2387/ (2017) on peace and security in Africa: This resolution recalls the crucial role of civil society in the peace and reconciliation process to ensure that the comprehensive political agreement addresses the root causes of the conflict and further encourages the full and effective participation of women in this process.
  • S/RES/2358 (2017) on the situation in Somalia: This resolution welcomes the Secretary-General’s efforts to strengthen strategic integration and decision-making across the UN system within respective mandates, including with consideration of the role of women and youth.
  • S/RES/2395 (2017) on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: This resolution urges CTED in collaboration with UN Women to conduct and gather gender-sensitive research and data collection on the drivers of radicalisation to terrorism for women, and the impacts of counterterrorism strategies on women’s human rights and women’s organisations.
  • S/RES/2331 (2016) on maintenance of international peace and security: This resolution encourages Member States to build strong partnerships with the private sector and civil society, including local women organisations.

UN Presidential Statements:

  • S/PRST/2017/7 on the situaiton in Yemen: The statement calls upon the parties to ensure at least 30 percent representation of women in peace negotiations, and calls upon the UN to regularly report on consultations with women leaders and women’s organisations in line with resolution 2122 (2013).
  • S/PRST/2017/11 on the situation in Liberia: The statement calls upon all stakeholders to ensure that the elections in October will be free, fair, credible, and transparent, including through the full participation of women, and that any dispute will be resolved peacefully through established mechanisms in accordance with the law.
  • S/PRST/2016/12 on sustaining peace: The statement encourages those who drive the efforts on peacebuilding to take the necessary steps to ensure that women are equally engaged in the process of peacebuilding.
  • S/PRST/2016/8 on UN cooperation: The statement reaffirms the vital role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response, and post-conflict reconstruction, and stresses the need for the United Nations and the African Union to work to ensure that women and gender perspectives are fully integrated into all peace and security efforts undertaken by the two organizations, including by building the necessary capacity.