Somalilandsun: Though achuvements have been garnered in the two decades of the UN Women, Peace and Security Resolution, Covid and data-sharing present new challenges and opportunities for gender equality.
On 31 October, Security Council Resolution 1325 – Women, Peace and Security – will celebrate its 20th anniversary. The Resolution recognised for the first time the role of women in armed conflict, from prevention to the peace process, allowing for greater equality and participation. At the same time, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) stresses that, based on the COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker, the world is not doing enough to cope with the economic and social consequences of the pandemic. Measures related to the physical and economic integrity of women are only carried out by 12% of countries with different levels of effectiveness and targeting and strong regional variations.
However, such actions cannot be taken only at a State-level, nor they can be exclusively COVID-related. The importance and complexity of gender-based violence in conflict (CRSV) requires the participation of non-governmental organizations and UN Missions and agencies engaged at all levels. For this reason, the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) pushes for the implementation of an information-sharing system between the different actors involved. The inclusion of the CRSV in the Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Arrangements (MARA), for example, can allow the identification of specific geographical and preventive patterns. In conjunction with more targeted action in the field, the MARA – as well as the COVID Tracker – allow for better transmissibility of such issues to the UN officials who in parallel promote these topics at the international level.
As highlighted by the UNDP, the pandemic offers an unprecedented opportunity to reformulate economic and implementation models, allowing for greater social justice and gender equality in conflict and non-conflict contexts. Contextual action and data and good practices exchange become, thus, crucial in this respect.
The UNSG on the resolution
At a virtual roundtable discussion on Women, Peace and Security in Peacekeeping contexts on 8 October 2020, Secretary-General António Guterres made a rallying call to peacekeeping partners to summon the political will and recommit to the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The event took place in the context of the 20th anniversary since the adoption of the landmark Security Council Resolution 1325 that recognizes women as key agents of peace. In the presence of four women leaders from Mali, Central African Republic, Darfur and Cyprus, the Secretary-General heard about progress and remaining challenges in implementing this priority agenda in a number of key areas: from women’s participation in peace processes and conflict resolution, to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and ensuring women’s voices as voters and candidates in elections.
And according to the UN’s Department of Peace operations that remains committed to the implementation of women, peace and security mandates, in particular the full and meaningful participation of women in decision-making also acknowledges that “While multiple gains have been made to strengthen women’s participation over the years, whether as peacekeepers or as leaders in their own country’s peace and political processes, 20 years and ten resolutions later, it is clear that much more remains to be done.
The department which has adjusted priorities to respond to the immediate COVID-19 crisis through a range of political, prevention and mitigation measures reveals that Women Peacekeepers are on the front lines in this fight and an integral part of implementing mission mandates, within current constraints and while taking all precautionary measures.