Fifteen years ago, in October 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted the historic resolution 1325 (2000), drawing attention to the differential impact of armed conflict on women, their exclusion from conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and the inextricable links between gender equality and international peace and security.
Since its adoption, insecurity and conflict has continued in all parts of the world, and in recent years, it is taking on new and increasingly challenging forms. Cycles of fragility and insecurity have become entrenched in some regions, compounded in some cases by natural disasters and humanitarian crises.
The number of refugees and internally displaced persons is higher than ever before in the UN’s history: at the end of 2014, the number of forcibly placed persons rose to 59.5 million—one of the highest numbers ever recorded . Many of these will remain displaced for 17 years—the average current length of displacement.
All of this is also affected by new and emerging threats, the most prominent of which is the rise of violent extremism and terrorism. Overlaid onto existing conflicts and fragile state contexts, it directly impacts the rights of women and girls: from forced marriage and systematic sexual and gender-based crimes, to restrictions on education, access to healthcare and participation in public life, this escalation in violence is perhaps one of today’s greatest threats to global peace and security, and one that affects women and girls in both unique and disproportionate ways.
It has never been more urgent for the global community to seek and implement effective solutions to today’s crises.
The past 15 years have made clear however that women are a key resource for promoting peace and stability. Research highlighted in the Global Study has established that women’s participation and inclusion makes humanitarian assistance more effective, strengthens the protection efforts of our peacekeepers, contributes to the conclusion and implementation of peace talks and sustainable peace and accelerates economic recovery.
The experience of UN peacekeeping missions shows that uniformed female personnel are critical to gaining trust in communities and shaping peace operations to better respond to their protection needs. The study also compiles growing evidence that demonstrates how peace negotiations influenced by women are much more likely to end in agreement and to endure; in fact the chances of the agreement lasting 15 years goes up by as much as 35 per cent . We also have growing evidence that women are the best placed to detect early warning signs of radicalization in their families and communities, and act to prevent it.
And yet the participation and leadership of women continues to be treated as an add-on or ad hoc measure, hampered by lack of financial commitments, political will, and institutional barriers.
To assess progress and accelerate action, the 2015 High-level Review will take place at the Security Council’s Open Debate on Women Peace and Security on 13 October and the Global Study on the implementation of resolution 1325 will be launched on 12 and 14 October.
Commemorating the anniversary of UNSC resolution 1325 provides an historic opportunity for the international community to focus on the women, peace and security agenda, ensure that the rhetoric around resolution 1325 matches the reality on the ground, and that women’s participation is consistently advocated and implemented as an integral tool for building peaceful and inclusive societies.READ MORE >>