April 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 March 2010
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THEMATIC ISSUES

Women, Peace and Security

Expected Council Action
The Council expects to receive in April the Secretary-General’s suggested indicators for tracking implementation of resolution 1325 on women and peace and security. The Special Adviser on Gender Issues Rachel Mayanja will brief on the report as part of the same meeting, the new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, will also brief the Council. She will outline proposals for monitoring and reporting on the protection of women and children from rape in armed conflict and post-conflict situations, as requested by resolution 1888.

At press time, it was not clear whether Council members would be ready to formally respond with decisions at this stage or would wait until the major event planned for October to mark the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325.

Key Recent Developments
In March, in New York, the Commission on the Status of Women conducted the 15-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action.

On 5 March, the Secretary-General appointed a civil society expert group to assess the impact of resolution 1325 on women in the context of armed conflict over the past decade. The group is co-chaired by the former Irish president and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, and the Executive Director of Femmes Africa Solidarité, Bineta Diop. It will feed into the work of a UN High-Level Steering Committee (referred to in resolution 1889 and meant to strengthen preparation within the UN system for the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325).

On 2 February the Secretary-General appointed Margot Wallström of Sweden as his Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Resolution 1889, adopted on 5 October 2009, was the Council’s most recent set of decisions on those issues and in preparation for the 1325 anniversary asked the Secretary-General to:

  • develop a strategy to increase the number of women appointed as Special Representatives and Special Envoys and take measures to increase women’s participation in UN political, peacebuilding and peacekeeping missions;
  • ensure that country reports to the Security Council provide information on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls and their needs in post-conflict situations;
  • ensure that relevant UN bodies, in cooperation with member states and civil society, collect data to assess specific needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations in an effort to improve system-wide response to those needs; and
  • appoint, as appropriate, gender advisors or women-protection advisors to UN missions in cooperation with UN country teams, to provide technical assistance on recovery needs of women and girls in post- conflict situations.

The resolution also expresses the intention to include provisions on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women in post-conflict situations when establishing and renewing the mandates of UN missions. In addition, the resolution urges member states to mainstream gender in all post-conflict peacebuilding efforts to improve women’s participation in political and economic decision-making at the earliest stages of the peacebuilding process. This responded to the assertion in the Secretary-General’s September report that so far most attention has been focused on women as victims, but there is a need to incorporate gender perspective into the emerging peace process. The report also noted that tools and indicators are needed to monitor and reverse current trends, including the disregard for international law and international humanitarian law by parties to armed conflict.

During the debate on the adoption of resolution 1889, Mayanja, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, said women and girls continue to be victims of gender-based violence during an armed conflict and its aftermath. Countries emerging from conflict in particular need support to strengthen their judiciary and security institutions. Also, the Council needs to be informed of the impact of armed conflict on women and girls in the country-specific reports to the Council.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is how to integrate the provisions of resolutions 1325, 1888 and 1889 into its situation-specific work in order to ensure real impact on the ground. Related to this, in April, in the context of the upcoming renewals of the mandate of the operations in Western Sahara and Sudan there are issues as to whether these mandates should ensure the protection and respect for women and girls.

A second issue is whether to seek to respond now to the new material from the Secretary General or whether to seek to integrate this material into more in depth decisions in October in the context of the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325.

Options
Options for the Council may include adopting a presidential or press statement with all or some of the following:

  • welcoming of the Secretary-General’s proposals;
  • noting the proposed indicators;
  • deciding to incorporate Council responses to the proposed resolution in October; and
  • welcoming Margot Wallström in her new role.

Council Dynamics
Most Council members support intensified action to implement resolution 1325 and assert text better responding to the needs of women and girls in post-conflict situations needs to be addressed concentrating in individual cases. But there are differences as to whether any specific action should be taken at this time. Some members favour endorsing the indicators in April, while others feel they need more time and may prefer to wait until October.

Some members favour specific action incorporating women’s empowerment into post-conflict development efforts, but others see this as better managed in peacebuilding context.

The UK is the lead country on the issue of Women and Peace and Security in the Council.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1889 (5 October 2009) decided that women’s protection and empowerment should be taken into account during post-conflict needs assessment and planning.
  • S/RES/1888 (30 September 2009) strengthened UN structures to respond to sexual violence against women and children in conflict.
  • S/RES/1820 (19 June 2008) recognised that sexual violence as a tactic of war can exacerbate situations of armed conflict, demanded all parties to protect civilians from all forms of sexual violence and requested a report from the Secretary-General.
  • S/RES/1325 (31 October 2000) was the resolution on women, peace and security, in particular expressing the Council’s willingness to incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping missions, calling on all parties to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and to put an end to impunity for such crimes.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2009/465 (16 September 2009) was on resolution 1325.
  • S/2009/362 (originally issued on 15 July 2009 and reissued on 20 August 2009) was on resolution 1820.
  • S/2009/304 (11 June 2009) was on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict.
  • S/2008/622 (25 September 2008) was on women, peace and security.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/8 (21 April 2009) stressed the need for more women to participate in mediators’ teams.
  • S/PRST/2009/1 (14 January 2009) was on protection of civilians, including the revised aide-memoire.
  • S/PRST/2008/39 (29 October 2008) requested the Secretary-General to provide more information on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls in conflict situations.

Other

  • S/2010/62 (2 February 2010) was from the Secretary-General informing the Council of his intention to appoint Margot Wallström as his Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
  • SG/SM/12454/GA/10856 (15 September 2009) was the Secretary-General’s press statement welcoming the General Assembly resolution on system-wide coherence.
  • A/63/L.103 (11 September 2009) was the GA resolution on system-wide UN coherence.
  • SC/6816 (8 March 2000) was the press release on the occasion of International Women’s Day that brought the whole Security Council on board with the issue of Women, Peace and Security for the first time.

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