November 2005 Monthly Forecast


Women, Peace and Security

Expected Council Action
As this edition goes to press, a presidential statement urging the full implementation of resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, as well as welcoming the Secretary-General’s provision of an action plan for the resolution, is expected to be the outcome of the 27 October open debate on this issue. The debate will focus on women’s participation in peace processes, a theme proposed by the Romanian presidency, and will feature two speakers from civil society. The Permanent Mission of Denmark hosted an Arria formula briefing on 25 October to discuss this topic with NGOs as well as the current challenges to the implementation of resolution 1325 within the UN system and at the regional and national levels.

Key Facts
The Secretary-General’s third report on women, peace and security, published on 20 October, included details of an action plan for implementation of resolution 1325, highlighting twelve different areas to be implemented by various UN agencies. It recommended additional attention from the Security Council through incorporating gender issues on a more systematic basis in resolutions and presidential statements, and it called for the introduction of a biennial report on the overall implementation of the action plan.

There is a broad agreement that armed conflicts have a significant impact on women civilians, especially through the use of sexual violence. The Secretary-General assessed that there has been a positive shift in international understanding that women need to be involved in running peacekeeping operations and that specific needs of women affected by conflict must be addressed by peacekeeping.

In 2001, to broaden support among UN Member States for resolution 1325, a group of “Friends of 1325” was established at the initiative of Canada. The number of members varies between 15 and 20. The group meets every two or three months with the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the DPKO Gender Advisor.

Key Issues
After endorsing the Secretary-General’s action plan, Council members will need to decide to what extent are they ready to commit to establishing concrete mechanisms for enhanced monitoring of the implementation of resolution 1325, as outlined in the Secretary-General’s action plan.

The equal participation and full involvement of women in all aspects of conflict management is an issue to be addressed by the Council in relation to the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission, specifically to ensure that gender perspectives are taken into account in its design and activities.

Another issue likely to affect the Council’s debate is whether details of implementation of the action plan fall outside the ambit of normal Council decision-making. While this may not be articulated publicly, this point may be reflected in a reluctance to engage in much more than limited endorsement of the Secretary-General’s recommendations.

Some troop-contributing countries may find proposed measures such as the inclusion of more women into their military forces difficult to implement.  It remains to be seen whether this issue will emerge and in what context.

Council Dynamics
There is a core group of Council members very active in the promotion of issues under the scope of resolution 1325, including Denmark, France, Romania and the UK. Outside the current membership of the Council, those actively involved include Canada, Chile, Mexico and Namibia. However, even though resolution 1325 was adopted unanimously, certain members of the Council have raised concerns about the Council’s engagement in some aspects of the resolution’s scope. In the 2004 debate, which marked the fourth anniversary of the resolution’s adoption, several members-especially Algeria, but also China and Russia-argued that the Council should not expand its scope into areas that are the domain of other UN organs or other inter-national fora. This may affect the level of enthusiasm for this issue in the coming months.

Earlier this year, the Council received numerous accounts about repeated instances of sexual exploitation perpetrated by peacekeepers. In May, the Council was briefed by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan. A presidential statement condemning acts of sexual exploitation and abuse was issued. Generally, this matter has produced a degree of tension, and members have been reluctant to engage in a public debate about this problem.

In the months following the fifth anniversary of resolution’s adoption, it is an open question whether the Council will in practice be more inclined to include the language of 1325 in its resolutions concerning specific situations, specific conflicts and specific peacekeeping operations.

Furthermore, although the problem of sexual exploitation and abuse in the context of peacekeeping operations is not limited to women, the overwhelming majority of victims of such abuses are women, which means that this matter is closely related to the issues covered by resolution 1325. The Council may choose to address the issue of prevention of sexual exploitation more systematically in the design of its peace-keeping operations and may request regular reports from all operations on this subject.

Underlying Problems
Although various actors have made efforts to implement resolution 1325, gender perspectives are still not systematically incorporated in planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting in the area of peace and security.

International humanitarian law (including rape as war crime) and human rights remain widely disregarded by parties to armed conflicts, and women and girls continue to be subjected to gender-based violence.

Progress on the implementation of resolution 1325 is slow also because of inadequate allocations of resources.

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UN Documents

 Security Council Resolutions
 S/Res/1325 (31 October 2000)
 Presidential Statements
 S/PRST/2004/40 (28 October 2004)
 S/PRST/2002/32 (31 October 2002)
 S/PRST/2001/31 (31 October 2001)
 Secretary-General’s Reports / Letters
 S/2005/636 (20 October 2005)
 S/2004/814 (13 October 2004)
 S/2002/1154 (16 October 2002)

Historical Background

 20 October 2005

The third report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 1325 was published.

 13 October 2004

In his second report on women, peace and security, the Secretary-General acknowledged that gender perspective had been incorporated in policies and capacity activities, but he also deplored the fact that their impact on the ground had been too limited.

 01 July 2004

A roundtable on peace support operations was organized by the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, and the Missions of Canada, Chile and the UK. The event led to the writing of a report with recommendations for drafting Council resolutions that include seeking more information related to women and gender, explaining why women’s participation is important for the conflict being addressed, and supporting consultation with local women’s groups.

 27 January 2004

A roundtable brought together Council members as well as representatives from UN agencies and civil society organizations to discuss how to strengthen the Council’s work in conflict prevention, the participation of women in peace and security, and the protection of civilians. This conceptual framework, known as “the three P’s,” was developed by the NGO Working Group.

 31 October 2002

In a presidential statement, Council members expressed their concern about the slow progress in the appointment of more women within the UN system.

 16 October 2002

The first report of the Secretary-General on women, peace and security deplored that the impact of conflict on women and the role of women in peacebuilding were issues usually discussed in separate items. It called for their inclusion into Council’s deliberations.

 February 2001

The Inter-Agency Network Taskforce on Women, Peace and Security was set up to ensure the implementation of resolution 1325. It is chaired by the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women whose Office (OSAGI) acts as its Secretariat. The Taskforce has 22 members and eight observers (UN agencies, intergovernmental bodies and the NGO working group).

 31 October 2000 Resolution 1325 was adopted unanimously.


Useful Additional Sources
Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE), Task-Force on Women, Peace and Security

Women, Peace and Security at the UN

Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Initiative on Women, Peace and Security

NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security

Full forecast

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