This comprehensive survey of UNSCR 1325 related activities carried out by women, civil society, national governments and international actors has allowed the identification of achievements, good practice and challenges facing the women, peace and security agenda in Afghanistan, the DRC, Nepal, Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka. On the basis of our research, it is possible to identify seven key findings and recommendations for national and international policy makers and practitioners.
Although slower than required, peace and security sectors have started to assume the culture of gender analysis and to acknowledge the significance of women’s human rights to their area of work. The five country case studies in this resource have highlighted some valuable initiatives in the area of women, peace and security, including the development of international and national policies that integrate women, peace and security issues, action plans, gender training, awareness raising, enhancement of national gender machinery, gender focal points and support for civil society groups working on the issue. At the same time, limitations and obstacles to the effective implementation of UNSCR 1325 have also been highlighted, with the aim of drawing attention to the ongoing challenges that must be met if real change is to be brought about for the millions of women and girls living in conflict-affected regions around the world.
Progress has been made at the international policy level following the unanimous adoption of UNSCR 1325 in 2000. The resolution paved the way for the adoption of UNSCR 1820 in 2008, which explicitly highlights sexual violence as a peace and security issue that impacts on conflict prevention, resolution and reconstruction. In addition, the UN, in particular the UNDP, UNIFEM and MONUC, has been an active agent in advancing UNSCR 1325 implementation. At the national level, it is encouraging that 14 UN member states have developed policy frameworks for implementation of UNSCR 1325: three of these are in conflict-affected countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Uganda). However, it is clear that the majority of UNSCR 1325-related activities are being carried out by civil society, often with very little resources and, in some cases, in the face of evident dangers and threats to security.
The evidence presented in this resource demonstrates that progress is slow, ad hocand uncoordinated, and the record of the international community in adequately addressing women, peace and security issues remains poor. What remains of serious concern is the limited understanding of the issues within UNSCR 1325; how the resolution can be meaningfully implemented on the ground in countries affected by conflict; and how its impact can be measured to ensure tangible improvements for peacebuilding efforts, and for women’s security and empowerment. There is still a lack of political will and leadership around the issue, and a lack of adequate and sustainable funding for its implementation. Coordinated action will be required at all levels to bring about a sustainable transformation towards a more inclusive peace that benefits both men and women, and makes the vision contained in the paragraphs of UNSCR 1325 a reality.
This research from across five diverse conflict affected regions has revealed the following cross-cutting trends.
FINDING 1: National governments lack broad and deep understanding of substantive issues covered by UNSCR 1325, such as women and SSR, women and governance, women and legal reform, and women and peace negotiations.
RECOMMENDATION 1: The number of gender advisors within national-level administrative systems should be increased to provide more and better gender and conflict analysis trainings to a wide range of national government stakeholders, including parliamentarians, ministers, civil servants and ambassadors.
FINDING 2: The impact of UNSCR 1325 implementation is difficult to establish given the lack of mechanisms to measure, monitor and evaluate progress on women peace and security.
RECOMMENDATION 2: Ensure that clear gender-sensitive benchmarks, indicators and lines of responsibility are integrated into all policies and action plans on peace and security, development, gender equality, women’s human rights and UNSCR 1325.
FINDING 3: There is an absence of political leadership at all levels in advancing thewomen, peace and security agenda. At the national level, this results in responsibilityfor UNSCR 1325 being marginalised to under-funded gender ministries, rather thanbeing led by ministries working on peace and security issues.
RECOMMENDATION 3: Develop clear lines of responsibility at high political levels for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and appoint an ambassador for women and gender equality.
FINDING 4: Dedicated budget allocations for UNSCR 1325 across national government departments are limited and funding for CSOs working on gender, peace and security and women’s issues is inadequate.
RECOMMENDATION 4: Governments and donors should: 1) tie adequate financial resources to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and to gender mainstreaming in broader peacebuilding and development strategies; and 2) ensure special funds are available in each region for CSOs working on gender, peace and security-related work.
FINDING 5: There is very little reliable and accessible official data on women’s human rights, especially on the prevalence of SGBV and the number of widows.
RECOMMENDATION 5: Governments and donors should financially support the consolidation of data on women and girls in conflict and post-conflict societies, and include this data in their public reporting on UNSCR 1325.
FINDING 6: Women remain unable to meaningfully participate at all levels of public and political life. In particular, they continue to be excluded from high-level political discussions, such as peace negotiations.
RECOMMENDATION 6: As a temporary special measure, ensure quotas of at least 33 percent women in negotiation teams, constitutional drafting committees and national and provincial parliaments; and secondly, provide financial support and training to female candidates in national and provincial elections, as well as training to women across national government administration.
FINDING 7: Levels of SGBV and impunity remain extremely high and there is a lack of coherent, well funded national strategies to tackle these problems.
RECOMMENDATION 7: National governments, with the support of international donors, should ensure: 1) the full implementation of VAW legislation, as well as prosecution and conviction of perpetrators; and 2) provide more and better training to government officials, the judiciary and police on the security and human rights of women, and on how to provide support to women survivors of SGBV.