Tuesday, October 28, 2014

WO=MEN network at UN: Women, Peace & Security week. Our message:

In the week from October 27th until October 31st various WO=MEN representatives are in New York for the Women Peace & Security week around the Open Debate on Women Peace & Security UN Security Council debate. Here you will find our joint message as Dutch Civil Society working on Gender, Peace & Security:


Key points
Civil Society The Netherlands

= Walk the Talk!
As the report of the Secretary General stated: “The challenge lies at the implementation level and in sustaining progress.” (p2) Commitments to address women’s needs, ensure their protection and participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding are currently being tested in settings such as the Central African Republic, Nigeria,  Iraq, Syria and South Sudan. With the unanimous adoption of UNSCR1325 and the six successive resolutions, countries are bound by the provisions/principles in the comprehensive Women, Peace & Security (WPS) Agenda. This WPS Agenda should firmly be reaffirmed and applied effectively by all Member States, both to prevent conflicts and in all current conflict situations.

= Not business as usual, need for a transformative approach
Only a transformative approach to the Women, Peace & Security will lead to effective implementation of the resolutions, conflict prevention and to sustainable change in (post) conflict settings. A transformative approach to 1325 requires:
· Gender to be part and parcel of the overall peace & security agenda, instead of a parallel pillar. Amongst others, a thorough gender analysis needs to be done before any international intervention takes place. This is not the same as the “adding women and stir” approach of the contemporary peace and security paradigm;
· Increased attention for underlying gender power relations in fragile states and (post) conflict settings that hampers women and girls from being safe and being involved in decision-making processes. More focus should be directed to the aspect of dominant masculinities and the role men need to play in promoting the WPS agenda;
· Increased attention for the following underdeveloped peace and security elements: conflict prevention, disarmament, non-violence and human security;
· The WPS agenda should move beyond ‘being the most advocated but the least implemented’ Security Council agenda towards structural and concrete implementation and actions – varying per country and context – in fragile and (post) conflict settings ensuring a substantial change in power relations.

= Create the right conditions for women leadership
Women’s leadership and their active participation are pivotal to bottom-up sustainable implementation of the WPS agenda. But their effective participation is not guaranteed if underlying barriers, such as: unequal power relations resulting in persisting conservative and discriminatory mindsets; financial resources; support networks, are not addressed. But in many cases also the physical security of women human rights defenders and activists is in danger and leads to extreme forms of repression, violence or even assassination. Specific interventions should ensure the safety of women leaders and activists in order for them to continue their work.
= Ensure enabling and independent space for civil society
Due to budget cuts as well as restricting cyber/counterterrorism financing regulations, the space for civil society organizations, both in Western countries and worldwide, is shrinking. This has a major impact on women’s peace activism (see the Capetown publication by WPP)1. Ensuring an enabling space for civil society is critical for any form of WPS implementation as civil society organizations are the engine behind grassroots actions worldwide and ensuring accountability of international or national government interventions.

= Inclusive and transparent Global Study
15 years after the adoption, through the Global Review and Study there is a tremendous opportunity to identify how far we have come in implementing the WPS Agenda and identifying remaining gaps and obstacles. Furthermore, this is the moment to investigate whether this Agenda analyses and addresses the underlying causes and structural inequalities sufficiently. To this effect, we encourage that the Global Study is done in an inclusive, transparent manner and the active participation of civil society organizations worldwide is ensured.

= WPS at the core of Post 2015 framework
No sustainable, stable and inclusive development can take place without ensuring the safety and participation of half of the population. Therefore WPS should be at the core of any separate goal on Gender Equality in the Post 2015 framework, as well as be incorporated substantially in any peace & security objectives.

= No WPS implementation without hard cash
Sufficient, structural and appropriate funding seriously hampers effective WPS implementation around the world, see Costing and Financing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 study by GNWP & Cordaid. Security and Defense expenditures require gender-responsive budgeting. Furthermore, a Global Acceleration Fund (GAF) would urgently in a time-bound manner address the gap in financing for WPS implementation. A Global Acceleration Fund on WPS would cover a lot of ground in assisting Member States to overcome barriers to national financing.

Contact: Anne Sophie Kesselaar, Gender Peace & Security coordinator WO=MEN
 s.kesselaar@wo-men.nl  /+31 6 14 05 05 65