2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, a ground-breaking resolution that was spearheaded by women leaders and organizations. It is the first resolution that recognized women’s leadership to achieve international peace and security and their contributions to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The implementation of women, peace and security priorities is a key political commitment in the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative, which reaffirms that women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace processes and political solutions is essential for effective peacekeeping and sustainable peace outcomes.
While multiple gains have been made to strengthen women’s participation over the years, whether as peacekeepers or as leaders in their own country’s peace and political processes, 20 years and ten resolutions later, it is clear that much more remains to be done. Women leaders across diverse networks and organizations continue to lead conflict resolution and informally broker peace at regional, national and community level and conduct political advocacy to realize their full participation in peace and political processes. However, women remain predominantly in the periphery of formal peace processes, even in instances where they have been signatories to peace agreements, such as in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
Women, Peace and Security during COVID-19
Women leaders are on the frontlines responding to COVID-19 and helping mitigate the political risks associated with the pandemic. At the same time, the pandemic jeopardizes recent gains on women’s participation in peace and political processes and has already placed women and girls at greater risk of poverty and violence, including the already recorded spikes in sexual and gender-based violence.
We are at a crossroads: either we lose hard-fought gains on women’s rights and sustainable peace, or we emerge more equal, resilient and on a road to lasting and inclusive peace. Ensuring women’s equal and meaningful participation in all areas of peace and security is vital to responding to this crisis and creating a better and more sustainable world.
The Department of Peace Operations remains committed to the implementation of women, peace and security mandates, in particular the full and meaningful participation of women in decision-making, and has adjusted priorities to respond to the immediate COVID-19 crisis through a range of political, prevention and mitigation measures.
Women peacekeepers are on the front lines in this fight and an integral part of implementing mission mandates, within current constraints and while taking all precautionary measures.
Peacekeeping operations continue to significantly leverage their current partnerships with national authorities and women’s organizations, leaders and networks. This includes advancing the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire and finding creative ways to accelerate women’s meaningful participation in political processes, such as through elections, by supporting formal mechanisms to implement peace agreements and forming local governance and protection structures in different contexts.
UN Secretary-General call to action on Women, Peace and Security in peacekeeping contexts
At a virtual roundtable discussion on Women, Peace and Security in Peacekeeping contexts on 8 October 2020, Secretary-General António Guterres made a rallying call to peacekeeping partners to summon the political will and recommit to the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The event took place in the context of the 20th anniversary since the adoption of the landmark Security Council Resolution 1325 that recognizes women as key agents of peace. In the presence of four women leaders from Mali, Central African Republic, Darfur and Cyprus, the Secretary-General heard about progress and remaining challenges in implementing this priority agenda in a number of key areas: from women’s participation in peace processes and conflict resolution, to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and ensuring women’s voices as voters and candidates in elections.
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Instagram Live conversations will feature women leaders throughout the month of October. The first Instagram Live will take place on Tuesday, 6 October at 10am ET with Lina Ekomo from the Central African Republic. Tune in on @UNPeacekeeping!