Women, Peace & Security

Monthly Action Points (MAP) for the Security Council: April 2020

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The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security has released their monthly action points (MAP) for the month of April 2020. This months MAPs focused on Covid-19, Syria and Yemen. The key points are listed below.


  • Ensure women, peace and security remains a cross-cutting priority in its discussions and decision-making on all country-specific and regional situations and is not deprioritized.
  • Demand cessation of attacks against civilians and health facilities and personnel, which violate international humanitarian law and Resolution 2286 (2016), and urge Member States and the UN system to prioritize essential sexual and reproductive health services, including in humanitarian settings.
  • Emphasize the importance of ensuring ongoing humanitarian aid distribution and access in line with international humanitarian law, in particular the principle of non-discrimination, and urge all Member States to ensure travel restrictions and border closures don’t impede access for aid workers and aid organizations.
  • Demand that all Member States uphold international human rights and humanitarian law and refrain from enacting indefinite emergency measures that limit or entirely curtail the right to movement, assembly, and information, or impose undue restrictions on civic space or the work of civil society and human rights defenders, including women’s rights organizations, as part of pandemic response.
  • Call on all Member States to take necessary measures to prevent, address, and document incidences of intimate partner violence exacerbated by the pandemic due to government policies ordering quarantines, social distancing, curfews, and closure of non-essential services.
  • Call on all Member States to take necessary measures to prevent outbreaks in detention centers and prisons, including by releasing detainees, such as political prisoners and human rights defenders, and allowing unhindered access to humanitarian personnel and ensuring access to testing and medical care is available to anyone detained.
  • Acknowledge the gendered impact of the pandemic, call for all information to be grounded in gender analysis and sex, age and disability disaggregated data, and emphasize the importance of ensuring all responses at the global, national, and local levels are rights-based and age-, gender-, and disability-sensitive.
  • Ensure that technological arrangements and technical adjustments to meetings and briefings of the Security Council include space for safe and meaningful participation of civil society briefers, in particular women’s human rights defenders and women-led organizations working in conflict-affected settings.
  • Urge Member States and the UN system, including peace operations, to actively support women’s leadership in pandemic decision-making and response planning and ensure there is consistent, regular and ongoing consultations with civil society, including women-led organizations, and resourcing for frontline women’s civil society organizations.
  • Modify the mandates of sanctions regimes to ensure lifesaving humanitarian assistance, including the transport and distribution of humanitarian goods and equipment, and the travel and operation of humanitarian personnel necessary for the response, can be made.


  • Those arriving in displacement camps have struggled to find shelter amid freezing winter temperatures. Moreover, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the region, there is growing concern that a major outbreak in Syria would be catastrophic. The Council must ensure serious measures are taken, especially within areas of large population density of already vulnerable people, such as displacement camps.
  • The Council must call for rights-based, survivor-centered humanitarian action that is gender-responsive and provides immediate and non-discriminatory aid and quality health services, including sexual and reproductive health.
  • There must be continued efforts to support women’s meaningful participation in all peace and political processes.
  • The Office of the Special Envoy (OSE) should prioritize meaningful participation, dialogue and inclusion of Syrian women activists, peacebuilders and human rights defenders. As a means of ensuring accountability, briefings by senior UN officials must include gender-sensitive conflict analysis, including barriers to women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation (S/RES/2449 (2018), OP 12).
  • International human rights law and humanitarian law norms, such as gender equality, must be firmly enshrined in the new constitution in order to ensure that women’s rights are guaranteed in Syria’s future and that women are able to participate equally and meaningfully in social, economic and political life.
  • Finally, the outcomes of the February 2020 meeting of the Security Council IEG on WPS should be reflected throughout all future meetings on Syria.


  • It is essential that Council members emphasize the importance of women’s meaningful participation in any discussion regarding the current peace process, and ensure the 30% quota as a matter of urgency.
  • t is critical that women’s CSOs, including grassroots organizations, be part of all Track 1, 1.5 and 2 peace processes and that women’s inclusion in the peace process not be limited to the Technical Advisory Group. Council members should request updates on the Office of the Special Envoy’s (OSE) engagement with these groups and further hear from women civil society leaders at future country-specific briefings.
  • Finally, with the emergence of COVID-19 in the region, concerns over the already dire humanitarian situation in Yemen and fragile health infrastructure in the country are increasing. Currently, 19.7 million individuals in Yemen need health assistance, and only 50% of healthcare facilities are fully functional across the country; given its current state, it is unlikely that the healthcare system will be able to withstand the forthcoming crisis (OCHA). Member States should, therefore, assist Yemen in responding to the pandemic by providing gender-sensitive financial and technical support.

April’s MAPs can be found here.