SEPTEMBER 29, 2010: Women Count for Peace


SOURCE: United Nations

Executive Summary

Women from civil society and senior UN leaders in conflict-affected countries participated in 25 dialogues on conflict resolution and peacebuilding in June, July and August 2010. These 'Open Days on Women, Peace and Security' signal the UN's commitment to engaging women in building peace and security in this tenth anniversary year of the landmark United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). These meetings enabled women to share priorities and concerns, and have provided a model for regular dialogue between women of civil society and Special Representatives of the Secretary-General (SRSGs), Executive Representatives of the Secretary-General (ERSGs) and Resident Coordinators (RCs), as a core peacebuilding practice.


At the heart of landmark resolution 1325 (2000) are commitments to enable women's contributions to all stages of peacebuilding, peacemaking, peacekeeping and conflict prevention. The 2010 UN organized Open Days in conflictaffected areas were designed to enable direct dialogue between women's peacebuilding organizations and women community leaders, and senior UN representation at the country level. The purpose was to seek women's views on means of improving implementation of resolution 1325 (2000). These open and inclusive forums for women peacebuilders and activists also provided the opportunity to deepen local ownership of the resolution. Resolution 1325 (2000) and related resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) and 1889 (2009) all call for a stronger commitment by national and international actors to addressing the challenges faced by women in crises.

This initiative was organized by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, now part of UN Women) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). In Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, occupied Palestinian territories, Pakistan, Senegal/ West Africa, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan/Central Asia, and Timor-Leste (Sri Lanka and Western Sahara also held a different version of the Open Days) more than 1,500 women met with high-level UN officials, including SRSGs, ERSGs and RCs on issues of peace and security.

The Open Days provided an opportunity to acknowledge the progress that has been achieved over the last ten years. In many post-conflict countries, the number of women in government has increased significantly, quotas have been set and implemented, and women have used their public decision-making roles to advance women's rights. There is increased awareness of gender differences in the way conflict affects civilians, and this is reflected in post-conflict needs assessments and planning frameworks. Within the United Nations itself, the Secretary-General since 2007 has appointed 10 women SRSGs, four Deputy Special Representatives (DSRSGs), and two Special Envoys and the numbers of women deployed in peacekeeping missions has increased.

Still, significant gaps remain. For instance, while there has been an increase in the extent to which peace agreements address gender issues, only 16 per cent of peace agreements contain specific provisions on women's rights and needs.1 While gender analysis is found in post-conflict needs assessments, less than 8 per cent of proposed recovery budgets identify spending priorities addressing women's needs,2 and just 5.7 per cent of actual budgetary outlays of multi-donor trust funds in post-conflict countries finance gender equality or women's empowerment projects.3 Employment generation programmes to revitalize post-conflict economies still tend to privilege employment for men, and there is inadequate investment in women's property rights and livelihood prospects. Sexual and gender-based violence is rampant and often continues unabated after peace deals are settled due to insufficient investment in protection and prevention strategies and destroyed or weak justice and security institutions.

It is clear that much more remains to be done. Women expressed their expectation that the UN will take advantage of the critical opportunity provided by the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325 (2000) to act as a partner and lead on women's rights in conflict and post-conflict settings. At the launch of these Open Day events, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled the core message of the resolution, stating that "sustainable peace is possible only with women's full participation – their perspectives, their leadership, their daily, equal presence wherever we seek to make and keep the peace."


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