Women, Peace & Security

In the News: Tuesday, 7 July 2020

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Funding Needed for the Next 20 Years of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

Source: Australian Strategic Policy Institute / Laura J. Shepherd

As we celebrate 20 years of the women, peace and security agenda, many—if not most—of the conversations I have with practitioners, advocates and activists working on WPS turn to the issue of implementation. One person I interviewed said, with no small degree of frustration, that everyone is concerned with ‘how you bridge the gap between the UN Security Council at the political level and the implementation of the agenda concretely on the ground with concrete results that make a difference in the lives of women’.

Significant gains have been made over the past 20 years. But in terms of institutionalising the agenda, increasing women’s participation in peace and security governance, and building institutional structures to protect against, investigate, and ultimately prosecute, sexual violence in conflict, there are many areas in which progress is stalling or going backwards.

Making a difference in the lives of women requires a concerted effort across diverse contexts and across diverse spheres of practice—including policymaking, advocacy, academic research, training, programming and service delivery in conflict-affected and fragile settings, and grassroots peacebuilding and conflict-prevention efforts. Moreover, tensions can arise between different manifestations of WPS as local actors pursue their specific priorities and objectives.

This complexity necessarily precludes any simple answers to the question of how the WPS agenda will continue to develop over the next 20 years.

There are three guiding principles for engagement with the WPS agenda across the various contexts within which it unfolds, however, and these relate to the most salient lessons I’ve learned from almost 20 years of research in this field: the formal rules matter, culture matters and money matters.

Read the full article here.

Women, Peace and Security and Indonesia’s Foreign Policy

Source: The Jakarta Post / Retno LP Marsudi, Foreign Minister of Indonesia

The issue of women, peace and security is one of the priorities of Indonesia’s foreign policy. This priority is manifested also in our support for the empowerment of women as agents of peace.

Last year, Indonesia held two major initiatives to promote women’s contribution to peace and security.

The first was an event called Regional Training for Women, Peace and Security held in Jakarta from April 8 to 9, 2019. The training, attended by 60 young female diplomats from the region, was aimed at strengthening their capacity in peacemaking processes.

The second was the Dialogue on the Role of Women in Building and Sustaining Peace, held from Nov. 26 to 30. A platform designed to support Afghan women’s participation in their country’s peace process, the event was attended by 38 Afghan women from different backgrounds and regions, including conflict regions.

Read the full article here.

Security Council’s Overdue COVID-19 Ceasefire Resolution Must Put Women & Youth at Center

Source: Inter Press Service / Fionna Smyth

More than three months after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres made an urgent appeal for a global ceasefire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Security Council has finally passed a resolution supporting his call.

As Oxfam stated in its report Conflict in the Time of Coronavirus, the virus is exposing and exacerbating existing issues in conflict-affected and fragile countries, further complicating efforts to help those in need. In Yemen, airstrikes have destroyed hospitals and other infrastructure, with now barely half of health centers fully functional and only a small number equipped to treat COVID-19 cases.

Displaced Rohingya people who have risked everything to flee conflict and persecution in their home country have been blocked from ports due to fear of the virus spreading. In Colombia, one of the countries which initially endorsed the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire, armed groups have ignored the risks of the pandemic and used the heightened insecurity to target human rights defenders, many of whom are indigenous and Afro-Colombian women.

While the resolution is welcomed, it is long overdue and highlights a remarkable situation where some non-state armed groups – like the Southern Cameroons Defense Forces, an armed wing of the African People’s Liberation Movement – responded to the UNSG’s call for peace before the UN Security Council did.

The resolution also falls far short of what civil society and the humanitarian community had called for. For one, the resolution only reinforces the global ceasefire call in “situations on the UN Security Council’s agenda,” leaving out many States. In addition, it exempts “counter-terrorism efforts”. This is a notoriously vague term which can be used by some countries to quelle legitimate dissent and close civil society space. Too often civilians are caught in the crossfire and it is fueling humanitarian crises where COVID-19 cases are on the rise.

Finally, the process was so delayed that many fear the impact will be minimal. The difficulties in reaching consensus revealed the deficiencies of the Council, and calls into question how seriously the Council will take implementation.

Read the full article here.

‘Yazidi Women are Strong’: Iraq’s female Landmine Clearance Teams

Source: The Guardian / Kate Denereaz

Isis planted mines across Sinjar and displaced the Yazidi community. Now a group of women are clearing the way for the return of their people.

Read the full article here.