A group of 26 peacebuilders from around the world met during the Global Consultation ‘Candid Voices From the Field: Obstacles to Delivering Transformative Change within the Women, Peace & Security Agenda' from June 30 to July 2, 2015 in The Hague. The consultation was organised by WPP, GPPAC and Cordaid as part of a broader research and action project to review, debate and validate the initial findings of a desk research on persistent gaps to the comprehensive implementation of the Women, Peace Security Agenda.
Through her study, research consultant Karen McMinn identified a number of barriers to women's participation in building peace and security. The lack of political will was raised, which is reflected in another obstacle to women's participation in peace efforts, namely the lack of budget-commitments by governments. Participants were invited to bring the barriers to life by sharing examples from the field. The consultation also provided participants with the opportunity to start a dialogue on strategizing, lobby and advocacy for a transformative Women, Peace and Security agenda, such as at a "Meet & Greet" with representatives from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Ministry of Defence, Dutch civil society members and 15 The Hague-based Embassies on June 30.
Discussions reflected the need to look both within and outside of the UNSCR 1325 framework. On the one hand, the UN and national governments need to be held accountable to the commitments laid out in Security Council Resolutions and National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security. On the other hand, confidence in the capacity of these instruments to enable women's participation and leadership is diminishing among women activists, grassroots women's organisations and international actors. One participant questioned whether we should ‘mainstream gender in the current peace and security paradigm or change the mainstream' altogether?
Participants observe a disconnect between elite women at global and national levels who enjoy access to political power and grassroots women at the local level with little access to the political framework of Resolution 1325 and economic resources. Some of the informants argued that the fragmentation of the Women, Peace and Security movement can partially be explained by the non-inclusiveness processes around women's participation in national bodies and the 1325 policy arena. There was a general consensus on the need for broader movement building, a strong collective voice of civil society, and to move beyond UNSCR 1325.
The project is more than a research on the deep-rooted barriers to the implementation of UNSCR 1325. The objective is to set an action agenda: to define and implement the strategies and actions needed to address these barriers. It is a forward looking, action-oriented research that seeks to establish a holistic, transformative Women, Peace and Security agenda.
In the context of the 15th anniversary of UN SCR 1325, GPPAC, Cordaid, and Women Peacemakers Program (WPP) have launched a research and action project on persistent gaps to the comprehensive implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Despite recent intensified efforts to ensure women's rights and participation in formal negotiations, women face serious and persisting challenges in their both formal and informal peacebuilding efforts.
Drawing on new and existing research, the project asks challenging questions on impediments to the full implementation of the broader women, peace and security agenda:
- What are key challenges to women's formal and informal peacebuilding efforts at the local level?
- How can we overcome the obstacles of political will and other barriers to support women's engagement in conflict prevention, disarmament, and nonviolent conflict resolution work?
- How can a broader understanding of the gender concept leverage a human security approach to peace and power?
- What promising and pioneering peacework has already been undertaken by women?
- How can approaches to policy implementation better support women's transformative work in peacebuilding processes?
Moving beyond the UN Security Council's definition of conflict situations, the project will look at a broader geographic picture, with case studies that illuminate conflict prevention, nonviolent conflict resolution, and post-conflict rebuilding. Highlighting and reflecting the experiences and voices of the project partners, including through consultations in June, the project will provide action-oriented recommendations for governments, international organizations, and NGO colleagues. The project report will be presented in October 2015 to coincide with the anniversary of UNSCR 1325.
To download a one-pager about the project, click here.