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High-level Review on Women, Peace and Security: 15 years of Security Council resolution 1325

Fifteen years ago, in October 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted the historic resolution 1325 (2000), drawing attention to the differential impact of armed conflict on women, their exclusion from conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and the inextricable links between gender equality and international peace and security.


Since its adoption, insecurity and conflict has continued in all parts of the world, and in recent years, it is taking on new and increasingly challenging forms. Cycles of fragility and insecurity have become entrenched in some regions, compounded in some cases by natural disasters and humanitarian crises.


The number of refugees and internally displaced persons is higher than ever before in the UN’s history: at the end of 2014, the number of forcibly placed persons rose to 59.5 million—one of the highest numbers ever recorded. Many of these will remain displaced for 17 years—the average current length of displacement.


All of this is also affected by new and emerging threats, the most prominent of which is the rise of violent extremism and terrorism. Overlaid onto existing conflicts and fragile state contexts, it directly impacts the rights of women and girls: from forced marriage and systematic sexual and gender-based crimes, to restrictions on education, access to healthcare and participation in public life, this escalation in violence is perhaps one of today’s greatest threats to global peace and security, and one that affects women and girls in both unique and disproportionate ways.


It has never been more urgent for the global community to seek and implement effective solutions to today’s crises.


The past 15 years have made clear however that women are a key resource for promoting peace and stability. Research highlighted in the Global Study has established that women’s participation and inclusion makes humanitarian assistance more effective, strengthens the protection efforts of our peacekeepers, contributes to the conclusion and implementation of peace talks and sustainable peace and accelerates economic recovery.


The experience of UN peacekeeping missions shows that uniformed female personnel are critical to gaining trust in communities and shaping peace operations to better respond to their protection needs. The study also compiles growing evidence that demonstrates how peace negotiations influenced by women are much more likely to end in agreement and to endure; in fact the chances of the agreement lasting 15 years goes up by as much as 35 per cent . We also have growing evidence that women are the best placed to detect early warning signs of radicalization in their families and communities, and act to prevent it.

And yet the participation and leadership of women continues to be treated as an add-on or ad hoc measure, hampered by lack of financial commitments, political will, and institutional barriers.


UN Women welcomes the landmark Security Council resolution adopted on 13 October during the High Level Review on the 15th anniversary of resolution 1325. Resolution 2242 (2015), the eighth resolution on women, peace and security to date, places the women, peace and security agenda as a central component of our efforts to address the challenges of the current global context, including rising violent extremism, climate change, and unprecedented numbers of displaced people. The resolution makes clear the substantive links between women’s participation and sustainable peace and security; and provides an extraordinary new tool for all actors to further implement this agenda and the objectives of the Security Council.


Adopted during the annual debate on women, peace and security, the historic content of the document was underlined by its record-breaking support – unanimous adoption, and co-sponsorship by 71 Member States. An unprecedented 113 speakers registered to speak during the debate, making it the most popular in the history of the Security Council.


The debate was the first on the topic to be presided over by a Head of State, the Prime Minister of Spain, who spoke after the opening by the United Nations Secretary-General, and the briefings given by UN Women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and three civil society representatives: Julienne Lusenge from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yanar Mohammad from Iraq and Alaa Murabit from Libya.


The resolution addresses a number of substantive areas, including a commitment to integrate a gender analysis on the drivers and impacts of violent extremism and greater consultations with women’s organizations affected by this violence; it encourages ambitious new targets for numbers of female peacekeepers including through the use of incentives for troop-contributing countries; and states the need for more senior women leaders in all levels of decision-making in peace and security. In a change from past resolutions that have focused on the need to train women to participate in peace processes, resolution 2242 also notes the need to train mediators on the impact of inclusive processes and how to achieve these, in a clear acknowledgement of the evidence linking women’s participation to more sustainable peace agreements.


The resolution also highlights the need to address the critical funding gap for women’s organizations. In this light it recognizes the new Global Acceleration Instrument on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Engagement as an important tool to galvanize new resources, and invites donors to track their aid against gender targets.


We welcome the leadership of the world’s highest body on peace and security on the centrality of gender equality to international peace and security, and the specific means of achievement that the Council has committed to implement.


Resolution 2242 signals the Council’s intention to create an Informal Expert Group on women, peace and security to ensure consistent information flows on the impact of conflict on women and efforts to secure their participation; it commits the Council to invite more regular briefings from civil society, UN Women’s Executive Director and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict; and encourages sanctions regimes to more consistently cover human rights violations of women and have access to gender expertise.


Both the High-Level Review and resolution were informed by an independent Global Study on the implementation of resolution 1325, which UN Women supported as secretariat. The Study provides a comprehensive body of evidence on the impact of women’s participation on the effectiveness of all efforts for conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. In building on the findings of this Study and two further peace and security reviews undertaken by the UN in 2015, resolution 2242 provides a critical tool for the international community’s efforts to meet the current day peace and security challenges.


To make a difference in the lives of women and girls and in international peace and security, this unprecedented momentum must be matched by drastically greater political and financial support from the most powerful decision-makers, including all the countries that packed the Council’s chamber yesterday. UN Women will work to leverage this new resolution and political momentum into tangible gains for gender equality and world peace.

Source:  UN Women

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