What changes need to happen in
your local context and regional inter- governmental levels to increase meaningful participation of women in peace
processes and conflict prevention?
Women need to be included much more in negotiations, and in key positions. At present there is a problem with the Palestinian Israeli "peace process", which has been going on since 1993, and which by now is seen by many as a cover up for the continuation of the occupation and denial of Palestinian rights (basic human not just political).
Ideally the approach to a peaceful solution would be based more on Human Security, which would automatically give a more gender focused and less military lens to the security aspects of the occupation. It would be great if in addition to increased participation, there could also be an international group of women that would monitor both the participation and the abuses of women in respect of the current situation.
Women are engaged in conflict prevention throughout the world at the local and grassroot level, but are not recognized at the formal or official level. Therefore their chances of being part of the official peace process is very limited. In order to increase meaningful participation of women in peace processes and conflict prevention:
Local and community level initiatives in which women are taking leadership roles
have to be recognized and accepted
Women have to be appointed to high level delegations in peace missions
Women have to be appointed as mediators and facilitators
UN visiting delegations on peace related missions to countries should meet
women groups and their suggestions have to be taken seriously
More trainings for women on conflict transformation, peace building as well mediation and facilitation have to be provided
Women have to be appointed as peace envoys
International recognition will surely enhance local country level acceptance
Thematic Gender Focal Point
First of all, the Armenian authorities must show political will and adopt the National Action Plan on UNSC Resolution 1325, which will provide a legal basis for increasing women's participation in peace processes and conflict prevention.
In the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, such a step is of critical importance and can become a precedent for the all opposing sides to make more efforts for peaceful resolution of this conflict in general.
National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 needs to be developed and adopted. NAP should be prepared on cooperation of CSO's with the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, with the participation of representatives from the Ministries; and the Cabinet of Ministers should provide adequate resources for the implementation of the plan.
Peace and conflict prevention initiatives must begin at the local level because that is where conflicts happen. All actors should be trained in nonviolence approaches and governments must ensure that national strategies based on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 are operational to allow for women's meaningful participation in peace processes. I believe Peace Education at all levels is the key to lasting peace.
Improve women's access to local power structures by increasing their participation in community development work and community cohesion initiatives that build peace.
Improve the capacity of women through training programmes in leadership and project management skills so that they can lead confidently.
Empower women to take a leading role in building peace, development and national reconciliation through a political framework.
Empower women with advocacy skills that will help them discuss, mobilise action around new constitution both developing policies from a gendered perspective
A key priority for the Pacific is to organize and commence our civil society processes to continue to track implementation or the lack of – and integrate recommendations grounded on UNSCR1325 into inter-governmental and national processes such as the review of the Biketawa Declaration and ensuring national security sector governance is progressing gender inclusive conflict prevention and human security.
In Bougainville and New Caledonia where political referendums are scheduled, women's participation is vital to ensure these are non violent and that women's voice and leadership are recognized and affirmed throughout these processes.
In Fiji, Tonga and Solomon Islands where elections are scheduled and we have serious underrepresentation of women in national and local politics, we need to be supporting women as candidates and working to integrate a culture of peace practice by localizing 1325 in political empowerment programmes and trainings for members of parliament .
We need recognition of the vibrancy of peacebuilding networks and the range of practice we bring together from the community to national and regional processes including through the use of community media and radio.
We need to uplift women's leadership and innovation in linking 1325 to the humanitarian agenda and responses to climate change and disasters to ensure accountability to women's human rights and protection with dignity approach.
We need to uplift the work of "1325" activists including from GPPAC Pacific's network that has been consistent in using the successive series of recommendations that we have been submitting in relation to the implementation to UNSCR 1325, particularly resourcing.
There is no point talking about the adoption of action plans if the strategies are not resourced and if women's peace activists and their networks like our GPPAC Pacific regional network and our national convenors are not resourced to work at the local and community level to hold governments to account to ensure peace processes or peace and security is defined by what women say is THEIR Peace and Security.
Changes should include a more clear engagement at the level of political leadership (at international, regional and national level), to implement WPS commitments. This also requires changes in organizational culture and an increase in designation of "gender champions" at high posts. Political and normative frameworks are already in place, even if they can be ameliorated through more action-oriented documents, clear goals and time-frames.
There is a need for governments to focus on implementation, by means of clear leadership engagement (at all phases, including early phases), human and economic resources (gender budgeting, full-time gender advisor posts in all actors engaged in mediation and dialogue support), strengthening gender mainstreaming with more clear goals and gender responsibilities in the mandates and operational plans of actors engaged in dialogue support and conflict prevention.
There is a need to move from tokenistic and occasional consultations with local women's organizations to effective, regular and sustainable women's participation. For that matter, international, regional and local actors need to enable, support and accompany mechanisms and processes for effective and sustainable participation of women's organizations and gender experts, among other issues (ex. Support to local/national women's platforms, support to women coalition building, support to exchange of learned lessons and practices between women's organizations from different contexts and peace processes, etc).
Other needed changes include the strengthening of monitoring mechanisms, through participatory and transparent processes. Early coordination on gender between external actors (UN agencies, Embassies, regional actors, civil society actors, etc) would also reinforce synergies and potentially further enable meaningful participation of women.