In the Central African Republic, the Bangui National Forum in 2015 concluded with the adoption of a national plan for reconciliation. Photo: UN Photo/Catianne Tijerina

In the Central African Republic, the Bangui National Forum in 2015 concluded with the adoption of a national plan for reconciliation. Photo: UN Photo/Catianne Tijerina

Advancing the drive for peace

women peace and security icon

Women have been historically relegated to the margins of peace processes, but this longstanding exclusion has begun to shift. The percentage of women in mediation teams and at peace tables and the number of those benefitting from reparations and peacebuilding funds have grown since the creation of UN Women.

Among peace agreements signed in 2010, only 22 per cent included explicit commitments to women’s rights, participation and protection. In recent years, this share has climbed to half of all peace agreements and reaches much higher when the United Nations is involved.

A growing number of countries have national action plans that detail exactly how to make gender equality and women’s empowerment integral at all points along the road to peace, security and justice. National and international courts and commissions of inquiry are paying more attention to gender-based crimes. UN Women has played a central role in all of these advances.

In Burundi, Rose Nyandwi is one of 500 mediators in the UN Womensupported Network for Peace and Dialogue. By their own count, the women have addressed over 5,000 local conflicts last year.

In Burundi, Rose Nyandwi is one of 500 mediators in the UN Women supported Network for Peace and Dialogue. Photo: UN Women/Bruno Gumyubumwe

Mediating local conflicts

Burundi’s civil war from 1993 to 2005 cost 300,000 lives. Strife that erupted in 2015 sent more than 230,000 people fleeing across the border. Despite the difficulties, women have not given up on their communities or, indeed, their country.

When adopting new Security Council resolution 2242 on women, peace and security, an unprecedented

113

interventions were made. UN Women supported the Global Study on resolution 1325, which informed that debate

 

 

In 2014-2015,

18

countries adopted new National Action Plans on women, peace and security

 

 

 

67

per cent of all National Action Plans have indicators to monitor progress

In Mali, Un Women supported women religious leaders and secular advocates in their quest for peace and gender equality.
In Mali, Un Women supported women religious leaders and secular advocates in their quest for peace and gender equality. Photo: Platform for Malian Women Leaders/Mama Koite

Engaging religious leaders

Protracted peace talks were finalized in a peace accord in Mali in 2015, but Malian women leaders knew that some divisions still ran deep in their communities. In sessions organized by UN Women to analyse the accord for its responsiveness to gender, they decided to take to the streets—in a march for peace. Thousands of women joined, carrying banners that proclaimed women were together in solidarity behind the peace process and a unified country. Spearheading the event were women religious leaders.

I’d like to especially commend the work by UN Women in Colombia to advance women’s participation (…) in the peace process in our country.”

Statement from Colombia, UN Women Executive Board Annual Session 2015, 30 June 2015

Commemorating 15 years of a landmark resolution

In 2015, the UN Security Council marked the 15th anniversary of its landmark resolution 1325 on women, peace and security with a high-level review. The process culminated in the unanimous passage of resolution 2242, which stresses the crucial importance of the women, peace and security agenda, including to address current global challenges such as violent extremism. The resolution also sets an ambitious new target to double the number of women in peacekeeping in the next five years. To inform the review, UN Women supported an independent global study on resolution 1325 implementation that was commissioned by the UN Secretary-General and led by Radhika Coomaraswamy, former Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. The study provides an invaluable compendium of good examples, while drawing global scrutiny to key implementation gaps. Co-chaired by Canada, Chile, Ireland, Japan and Namibia, the Group of Friends of the Global Study on resolution 1325 provided implementation advice and support.

A displaced Yazidi woman washes clothes in a bucket while a boy drinks water from a plastic container at a water point in the Bajid Kandala camp in Iraq, near the border with the Syrian Arab Republic. Photo: UNICEF/Khuzaie
A displaced Yazidi woman washes clothes in a bucket while a boy drinks water at a water point in the Bajid Kandala camp in Iraq, near the border with Syria. Photo: UNICEF/Khuzaie

Countering violent extremism

Security Council resolution 2242 requested key counter terrorism bodies to integrate gender across their activities, backed by adequate financing. The UN’s Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force, supported by UN Women, is now developing a specialized tool to track the funds. The goal: ensuring by 2020 that a minimum 15 per cent goes towards projects that primarily address women’s needs and empowerment.

Maruti Joshi

Photo courtesy of Maruti Joshi

SDG 5: Gender equalitySDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions Maruti Joshi, 43, from Jaipur, India, has worked as a police officer for 18 years and served as a UN peacekeeper in South Sudan. Ms. Joshi is currently working with UN Women to train women peacekeepers to address sexual and gender-based violence in conflict. Her work is connected to the SDGs, including SDG 5, which targets ending all forms of violence against women and girls, and SDG 16, which aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Maruti Joshi: “Women play an extremely important role in conflict situations, especially since women and children are the most affected.”

“When I joined the Indian police force in 1997, I was the first and only female officer in a batch of 35 male officers. I was doing routine police work then. In 2011, I got an opportunity to join a new United Nations Mission in South Sudan. I went to Juba for a year. As police peacekeepers, we were mentoring the local police there on handling violence cases. My unit dealt with women and children, and other vulnerable people affected by violence. There were a lot of challenges because the country was in the process of conflict resolution. You feel unsafe because you are not armed—anything can happen.

Despite these challenges, I had a good experience in Juba because a very beautiful thing happened. As soon as I joined the mission, there were a few female peacekeepers and we created an all-women’s network to share our experiences. For peacekeepers, it’s very difficult to leave your family behind. It’s not only the family that needs us, but it’s the other women, for whom we are role models. Women play an extremely important role in conflict situations, especially since women and children are the most affected. Through the network and my unit, we also acted as a channel between local women police officers and their authorities, since some faced trouble and were not always safe.

I have a one-year-old daughter now, so have opted for an office posting. I am currently a Superintendent of Police in Jaipur. I also lead workshops on gender mainstreaming and budgeting. For the last year, I’ve been working with UN Women on an induction programme for female military officers that are supposed to be deployed to peacekeeping missions. When I went on mission, I didn’t have any specific gender-oriented pre-deployment training. We [now] train them to handle violence against women in a conflict situation before they leave. It’s something very close to my heart—a passion!”