• Sunday, November 29, 2015
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    Building the Tools for Accelerated Implementation

    Anne Marie Goetz

    Anne Marie Goetz, Chief Advisor, Governance Peace and Security - UNIFEM (part of UN Women). Credit Paula Fray/IPS

    Anne Marie Goetz*

    NEW YORK: It is not a secret that implementation of the important United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 has been disappointing.

    Principled assertions of women’s right to participate in peace processes, or the importance of addressing their needs in recovery processes and of halting the use of sexual violence have not been matched by significant change.

    Since 1990 only eight peace agreements have included sexual violence among the “prohibited acts” that would constitute a ceasefire violation, and only about 5 percent of post-conflict spending targets women-specific areas.

    The use of sexual violence as a method of fighting – most recently exemplified by the horrific mass rapes of this past summer in the Walikale region of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo – continues to pose massive challenges for peacekeeping.

    Because 1325 is not backed by targets, standard procedures and mandatory elements, little has changed in actual practice.

    Resolution 1325 offers a plan for change, and effective implementation of any plan requires five elements: information about the problem and about what works, clearly prioritised directives, leadership, resources and a system for monitoring and ensuring accountability.

    This year peace activists around the world are lining up these five elements, so there can be no excuse for inaction.

    First, information: it is striking how little systematic data collection exists ten years after 1325 was passed.

    Nobody tracks the numbers of women at peace talks. Nobody analyses the content of peace agreements from a gender perspective. There is no agreed format for analysing the amount of money spent on women’s needs. There is no system for tracking benefits provided to women compared to men in reparations programmes.

    Women are not being counted.

    This is why a number of U.N. agencies collaborated to produce a comprehensive set of results-level indicators of 1325. They will enable us to determine whether efforts to engage women in peace building and address their protection and recovery needs are having an impact.

    Second, clear instructions: the effective implementation of 1325 also requires specific procedures.

    In mid-October the Security Council was presented an unusual report – on women’s participation in peace building – which sets out a seven-point action plan pinpointing gaps and setting out practical actions to tackle them.

    Those points address key areas in which change could serve a catalytic function, ensuring gender issues are addressed in mediation, post conflict planning, post conflict elections, financing recovery, civilian response capacity, justice and security sector reform, and economic recovery.

    Strikingly, this plan provides mandatory changes, endorsed by the U.N. system, to ensure that mediators consult with women and negotiators dialogue with women’s groups, routine provision of support to post-conflict states that wish to employ gender quotas in elections, routine provision of protection for women witnesses in transitional justice processes and for reparations, and a mandatory 15 percent minimum spending level in post-conflict programming funds to address female empowerment.

    Third, leadership:  the tenth anniversary of Resolution 1325 coincides with the transition process in which the U.N.’s four ‘gender entities’ – the Division for the Advancement of Women, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, and UNIFEM – are merging to become UN Women.

    One of the reasons the U.N. system has lagged in implementing the women peace and security agenda is the absence of a clear lead and adequate technical capacity. U.N. Women will change that.

    U.N. Women’s commitment should be matched by a more determined champion within the Security Council.

    Fourth, resources: this remains a problem. Meeting the 15 percent minimum threshold for women’s empowerment spending, and ensuring gender mainstreaming in the remaining 85 percent of post conflict spending will help to produce dividends in female recovery.

    Evidence, instructions, leadership, and resources are four crucial elements. There is one final element: monitoring and accountability.

    The Security Council has a responsibility to receive, review and act on situations of concern. Yet, it has no internal mechanism to enable it when it comes to women peace and security matters. It is up to the Council to agree and act on measures to correct deficits in implementing 1325, consistent with international humanitarian and human rights law.

    Principled action to ensure women’s protection and participation in conflict resolution by the world’s top body for building security is one of the most important ways to make women count for peace.

    *Chief Advisor, Governance Peace and Security – UNIFEM (part of UN Women)

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