On 26 October the Ministry of Women, Family, Children and Seniors and Minister Ms. Imen Houmil hosted the opening conference of the celebration week for the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325).
Along with UN Women and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, UNDP contributed to the opening with an intervention by Mme Frances Guy, Gender Team Leader for the UNDP Regional Bureau of Arab States. Present at the conference were also Mr Arnaud Peral, UN Resident Coordinator in Tunisia and His Excellency Mr Pekka Hukka, Ambassador of Finland.
The landmark resolution 1325 adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on 31 October 2000 – the first to link women’s experiences to the international peace and security agenda – celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
Some 86 countries have adopted National 1325 Actions Plans, but full implementation is still work in progress. The resolution is part of efforts to include women in peace negotiations that started long before 2000 (arguably at the 1915 Women’s congress in the Hague - and almost 100 years later in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijing, which is said to have paved the way for UNSCR 1325) and its recognition of women’s role in war and conflict two-fold: highlighting on the one hand how conflict disproportionately affect women and girls, and the crucial role that women already play in building peace and the role women ought to play by being guaranteed a seat at the decision-making table.
In 2018, Tunisia joined the group of 86 countries who have adopted National Action Plans. The action plans allow for Member States to translate the UNSCR 1325 into the national context and adapt implementation to country-specific issues. Thus, for Tunisia, the National Action Plan focuses on empowerment for women and girls and on promoting their participation in the efforts to prevent risks of conflict and violent extremism, eradicate all forms of gender-based violence and ensure stable and durable peace.
20 years after adoption, the WPS agenda still faces challenges in implementation, which is ultimately dependent on the will of UN member states. So what are the peacebuilders who are working worldwide to make the WPS agenda a reality saying today? In the course of a number of global consultations, one common trait has emerged: the assertion that enough words have been said on the WPS agenda and that the time is for action and implementation.
UNDP has supported a number of global consultations in collaboration with UN Women and international partners including the Tunis Forum for Gender Equality in 2019. In 2020 UNDP, working with UN Women and other partners, hosted an online global consultation, followed by a sensemaking exercise based on in-depth discussions, aimed at eliciting key insights for future implementation resulting in the following nine insights [click the link for full information on the insights https://www.sparkblue.org/wpsrecovery]:
- The disconnect between UNSCR 1325 and grassroots women’s organizations and needs is undermining the women, peace and security agenda
- .Women’s peacebuilding work differs stylistically from formal, masculine norms — and recognition of these actions is vital to secure support for it in pre and post-conflict peacebuilding work
- Women groups are most effective at weaving together former conflict groups when building shared community investment
- Women are building a decentralized social service infrastructure and network with untapped potential
- Building effective income generation programs requires investing in supply and demand ecosystems — not just capacity building — and breaking beyond craft making2
- Personal communication devices have the power to be transformative for women’s empowerment thanks to the possibilities they create
- Women’s networking is the backbone of empowerment — but the “projectized” nature of development means it is poorly supported
- As women organize, they are creating a viable power base that can help build local government capacity
- Effective empowerment initiatives need to be connected
The recommendations remind us that women’s unique perspectives are indispensable for sustainable peace, and that women continue to do all the hard work on the ground yet continue to be excluded from decision making. At the conference on 26 October Mme Frances Guy confirmed UNDP:s commitment to allowing these messages to become reality in the Tunisian context, by supporting the Tunisian government to implement the WPS agenda with a local and holistic approach. One of the main challenges in the Tunisian context, as testified to by the Women’s Safety Audits conducted in 4 Tunisian municipalities by the Centre for Research, Studies Documentation and Information on Women with UNDP’s support, is the widespread domestic violence. Mme Guy underscored that human security goes well beyond the cessation of hostilities and that it is important to analyse what women’s security really looks like. The campaign slogan saying that “peace starts at home” is ever so relevant today as we reach the end of the 16 days of activism to end violence against women and to #orangetheworld.
UNDP ongoing activities – at a glimpse
With UN Women, UNDP continues to
· Help the Tunisian authorities to carry out the commitments made under the 1325 Action plan and will build on the recent innovative project working with young people in 7 municipalities in the south east in order to strengthen social cohesion
· Support the Ministry of Interior to strengthen community police, the specialized police units for gender based violence, and to strengthen capacities of the female staff at the Ministry of Interior and of the Internal Security Forces
· Strengthen the resilience of institutions and communities to all forms of violence through preventive and women-centred community security approaches, as part of an initiative involving the projects working on Prevention of Violent Extremism and Security Sector Reform
· Support the role of Parliament in the efforts to monitor and implement the UNSCR 1325 National Action Plan
The above activities carried out in the framework of the SDG16+ Portfolio with the support of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the Peacebuildning Fund.