Research Report

Posted 1 October 2010
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Cross-Cutting Report No. 2: Women, Peace and Security

IntroductionHistorical ContextWomen, Peace and Security: the Normative FrameworkResolutionsPresidential StatementsMission MandatesTimor-Leste Case StudySecretary-General’s Reports on Country SituationsSecurity Council Visiting MissionsSecurity Council Engagement with StakeholdersInternational Legal FrameworkAddressing ViolationsDRC Case StudyCouncil DynamicsHow Successful has the Security Council BeenThe 2010 Anniversary and Related Events


1. Introduction
There is now very wide acceptance of the fact that modern armed conflict has a disproportionate impact on women and girls even though most are not directly engaged in combat. The significance of Security Council resolution 1325–adopted in October 2000–lies in the way it links the impact of war and conflict on women on the one hand and also promotes their participation in various peace and security processes such as in peace negotiations, constitutional and electoral reforms and reconstruction and reintegration on the other.

The Council’s decision to take up women, peace and security as a separate thematic topic flowed out of the Council’s broader thematic agenda. In the twelve months prior to resolution 1325, the Council had adopted its first resolutions on protection of civilians and children and armed conflict. This thematic examination was taking place after a bloody decade of peacekeeping failures, such as in Somalia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. As part of the examination of the broader atrocities committed, it became clear that, in Rwanda and Bosnia in particular, significant attacks had occurred specifically targeting women, including reports of systematic sexual violence.

Concerned about this pattern of gender-based violence, Council members in resolution 1325 agreed that it was important, in the future, to ensure that women’s needs, and therefore their views, were taken into account in the planning and execution of all aspects of conflict prevention, peace processes, peacekeeping operations and post-conflict recovery on the assumption that women had a critically important contribution to make regarding how peace could be achieved and maintained. Put simply, by involving and taking into account the views of half of society a negotiated peace was more likely to be able to be implemented by that society.

Resolution 1325 laid out a normative framework. Furthermore, it asked the Secretary-General to carry out a study on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the role of women in peacebuilding and the gender dimensions of peace processes and conflict resolution and to report to the Council.

Resolution 1325 also recognised that women were combatants in many conflicts, and were also a significant part of the support systems to armed groups, and must be paid special attention in demobilisation and reintegration programs. It also highlighted the obligations under international law of parties to conflict to protect women in armed conflict. This aspect was considerably strengthened by subsequent resolution 1820 (2008), in which the Council recognised that systematic sexual violence can significantly exacerbate situations of armed conflict and may impede the restoration of international peace and security. Resolution 1888 (2009) followed up this conclusion and requested the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Margot Wallström of Sweden was appointed to this position on 2 February 2010.

Resolution 1325 made some very practical recommendations to the Secretariat and member states:

  • to increase the number of female peacekeepers; and
  • to increase the number of women leaders dealing with issues of peace and security both in national governments and the UN system.

The Council made these recommendations believing that increasing the numbers of women in these functions would improve prospects for peace by: empowering women in conflict through positive female role models; changing the relationship between traumatised civilians and security services by putting a female face on authority; and by offering an alternative perspective in providing solutions to conflict situations.

The normative framework created by resolution 1325 has guided work on gender ‘mainstreaming’ policies (in practical terms taking into account women’s needs and views across a broad spectrum of functions and projects in which the UN is engaged) across the UN system and has thrown a spotlight on issues preventing gender equality within UN agencies.

It also called attention to the Secretary-General’s action plan to have gender equality in the Secretariat by 2000.

The framework also prompted the Council to continue taking up the thematic issue of women, peace and security in the ten years since. In the last three years it adopted three further resolutions on this subject (resolutions 1820, 1888 as well as 1889 which focused on the importance of women’s involvement in post-conflict recovery). In 2010 alone, the Council was expecting five different reports from the Secretary-General stemming from resolutions 1888 and 1889.

Finally, the tenth anniversary of 1325 will be recognised by a ministerial-level open debate of the Security Council in October.

This report demonstrates that during the past decade, the Security Council has attempted to address in a cross-cutting way the issues facing women in conflict (as laid out in resolution 1325) in its consideration of country-specific situations. It has managed to succeed in achieving this in many country situations. But its approach has not been fully systematic. The Council appears to have been considerably more successful in addressing the protection rather than the participation aspects of resolution 1325.

It appears that addressing the impact of conflict on women in specific mandates relies largely on the efforts of a few Council members or individuals within the Secretariat.

Over the years, the Council has lacked consistent, high-level leadership on this issue. Responsibility to mainstream the issue across the broader Council agenda often falls upon junior officers who cover gender issues in their portfolio in the General Assembly. Many come into the Council delegation just to discuss this issue and therefore have little experience in negotiation in the Council context or the country-specific situations. Accordingly, a mainstreaming or cross-cutting methodology is often absent from the delegations.

The changing composition of the Council has also significantly affected the Council’s approach to this issue. Elected members have tended to have a strong influence on Council dynamics.

At press time, negotiations were underway in the Council, ahead of the open debate in October, on an outcome for October. These are focused on the role of the Council in the implementation of resolution 1325 and ways to improve Council working methods in its consideration of women and peace and security across the Council agenda.

2. Historical Context

2000: Resolution 13252001 – 20072008: Resolution 1820 on Sexual Violence in Conflict2009: Resolutions 1888 and 1889

2000: Resolution 1325
Given that ten years have passed since its negotiation and adoption it is worthwhile to recall how and why the Council came to adopt resolution 1325 in the first place.

An important predecessor was the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, which adopted a Platform for Action which identified the importance of increased participation of women in conflict resolution. This was reiterated in the 23rd Special Session of the UN General Assembly: ‘Women 2000: Gender Equality, development and peace’, in June 2000, when the results of the review process of the Platform for Action (Beijing+5) were deliberated. While particular attention was paid to women as victims of armed conflict, mention was also made of the under representation of women in decision making positions related to peacekeeping, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconciliation, as well as lack of gender awareness in these areas.

Resolution 1325 came forward in this wider context. It was landmark because for the first time the UN organ with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security—the Security Council—was considering the importance of women’s role in peace and security.

At the time, there was doubt by some members of the Council about embracing these issues. The eventual adoption of resolution 1325 can be attributed to several factors. In particular the efforts, determination and personal conviction of several individuals serving on the Council at the time: the permanent representatives of Bangladesh, Namibia, Canada, Jamaica and Mali; as well as the influence of women’s NGOs carrying forward the Beijing Platform for Action; all working within an environment of assessment of the UN’s overall approach to peace operations.

Bangladesh came onto the Security Council in January 2000 and was due to hold its presidency in March 2000. Its Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury was convinced that gender equality was an important key to peace and proposed that the Council should adopt a resolution on the issue whilst Bangladesh had the presidency. He started negotiations within the Council in January but encountered resistance from some Council members, particularly from the P5, at introducing what was considered a ‘soft’ topic onto the agenda of the Council. This came at a time when the Council was hesitantly beginning to develop a number of thematic agenda items. The first related to Protection of Civilians (resolutions 1265 and 1296) and secondly Children and Armed Conflict (resolutions 1261 and 1314).

Bangladesh was unable to get Council support for a resolution or a presidential statement in March, but succeeded in getting members of the Council to agree to a press statement to be issued on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2000. The draft press statement, despite its less formal status, was carefully negotiated by the Council. Some members continued to have strong reservations.

The eventual press statement (SC/6816) highlighted the importance of women’s full participation in power structures and the role of women in preserving social order and as peace educators and touches upon several of the elements that would eventually form resolution 1325: full participation of women in all efforts for the prevention and resolution of conflicts, the particular effect of armed conflict on women and girls, awareness of gender-specific human rights abuses, protection for refugee and displaced women, and the importance of a visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in policies and programmes while addressing armed or other conflicts.

Chowdhury subsequently briefed the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which was in session at the time. While the response was largely positive, some delegates criticised the Council for encroaching on the mandate of the General Assembly, in particular the CSW.

In March 2000 the Council also began to incorporate elements relating to women, peace and security in its wider thematic work and in particular in two presidential statements adopted during the Bangladeshi March 2000 presidency. The first on ‘Maintaining peace and security: Humanitarian aspects of issues before the Security Council’ (S/PRST/2000/7) ‘notes the importance of adequate training for peacekeeping personnel in international humanitarian law and human rights and with regard to the special situations of women and children as well as vulnerable population groups’. The second on ‘Maintenance of peace and security and post-conflict peace-building’ (S/PRST/2000/10) ‘stresses the importance of addressing, in particular, the needs of women ex-combatants, notes the role of women in conflict resolution and peace-building and requests the Secretary-General to take that into account’.

These were the first instances when language of this nature appeared in Security Council decisions and were promoted by Bangladesh with support from other elected members, in particular Canada, Mali, Jamaica and Namibia.

Canada gave prominence to the issue during its presidency in April 2000. Angela King, the Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, was invited to address the Council during its debate on Afghanistan to discuss and answer questions about the situation facing Afghan women and children under the Taliban. (King was one of the first women ever appointed as a Special Representative and led the UN’s monitoring mission in South Africa, UNOMSA in 1992-94; she had also led the Inter-Agency Gender Mission to Afghanistan in November 1997, the first of its kind to assess the impact of conflict on women in a particular country situation.)

Jamaica during its presidency in July, proposed that the draft resolution on Children and Armed Conflict should include language on the special needs and particular vulnerabilities of girls affected by armed conflict. (It was introduced on the last day of Jamaica’s presidency and adopted on 11 August 2000 as resolution 1314). Jamaica also convened an open debate on the role of the Council in the prevention of armed conflict, chaired by the country’s foreign minister and the outcome document, a presidential statement (S/PRST/2000/25), recognised ‘the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building’. It also stressed ‘the importance of their increased participation in all aspects of the conflict prevention and resolution process’.

Namibia also gave prominence to the issue in 2000, taking the lead in cooperating with the Lessons Learned Unit of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and helping develop the Secretariat’s report Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Operations. Namibia co-hosted with the UN a seminar in May that led to the Windhoek Declaration and the Namibia Plan of Action on ‘Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Support Operations’ (S/2000/693). Namibia also chaired the 23rd Special Session (Beijing+5) of the General Assembly in June 2000 and was well-versed in the issues. In October, Namibia held the presidency of the Council and led negotiations on a draft resolution. It hosted an Arria-formula meeting on 23 October for members of the Council to meet relevant NGOs. An open S/PV.4208 followed in the Council on 24-25 October. Twenty-three non-Council members participated in this debate. The sustained attention given to the issue by Bangladesh and Namibia along with Canada and Jamaica built momentum throughout 2000 that led to the unanimous adoption of resolution 1325 on 31 October 2000.

In addition to its permanent members, the Council at that time included Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mali, Namibia, the Netherlands, Tunisia and Ukraine. Only Jamaica had a female permanent representative.

The efforts within the Council came against a backdrop of wider efforts by the UN system to consider the question of how and whether to address the gender dimension in peace operations. DPKO had been considering related issues since late 1998, when its Lessons Learned Unit was tasked to prepare the July 2000 report prepared with Namibia (mentioned above). The increasingly multidimensional nature of peacekeeping operations that had been mandated since the late 1980s, and in particular during the 1990s, had led to reflection on the nature of peacekeeping’s role, and how best to mandate the necessary tasks to avert failures of the kind that had occurred in the 1990s. Peacekeeping missions were no longer traditional operations to monitor ceasefires or the implementation of peace agreements and increasingly had a range of components that included in addition to a military contingent, civilian police, political affairs, rule of law, human rights, humanitarian, reconstruction and public information elements.

In May 2000, an NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security was formed (combining 14 separate civil society groups) with the goal of advocating for the Security Council to adopt a resolution on the issue. The NGO Working Group conducted advocacy to inform Council members of the relevance of the issue to the work of the Council, maintain pressure, help willing members build momentum and provide guidance to Council members on the eventual drafting of the resolution.

Starting in 2001, the Council met on each anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325. This usually resulted in a presidential statement reaffirming the Council’s commitment or highlighting a particular aspect of gender considerations in peace operations. Each of these statements slightly refined the emerging normative framework on women, peace and security.

Attention by the Council outside of the ‘anniversary’ debates was rare and usually the result of particular Council members seeking to draw attention to the issue. For example, on 25 July 2002 the UK presidency held a debate where Council members interacted with other UN member states and a Secretariat panel (comprised of Angela King and the heads of the UN Development Fund for Women, or UNIFEM, and DPKO) on the topic of conflict, peacekeeping and gender. During the debate Council members alternated speaking with non-Council members and at any time the Secretariat panel could ask questions of Council or non-Council member states and vice versa. Angela King presented the preliminary results from the Secretary-General’s study on the impact of conflict on women (requested in resolution 1325).

Another innovation was in March 2007 when South Africa also broke out of the ‘anniversary’ pattern proposing a debate on the occasion of International Women’s Day during its presidency. It successfully pushed for the adoption of a presidential statement. This was the first time the Council had spoken on International Women’s Day since 2000.

2008: Resolution 1820 on Sexual Violence in Conflict
In the jurisprudence that came out of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, it emerged that sexual violence had been a specific tactic of war and had been recognised as a constituent act of genocide. It was recognised that even if women survived the level of sexual violence inflicted upon them, and assuming they were able to reproduce after the attack (or repeated attacks) and assuming they were not pregnant with the perpetrator’s baby, the psychological damage to the individual can be irreparable and the social stigma within families and communities insurmountable. In short, combatants had recognised that systematic sexual violence was an effective tool to destroy a community—either of a rival ethnic group or in retaliation for cooperating with their foe. In 2008 the Council, responding to the jurisprudence, also formally recognised the dangers this development presented to international peace and security.

This was preceded in the General Assembly in 2007 when the US led negotiations on ‘Eliminating rape and other forms of sexual violence in all their manifestations, including in conflict and related situations’. The resolution was adopted by consensus (A/RES/62/134), but did not include the stronger language on the use rape in armed conflict that many of its sponsors had hoped.

In the spring of 2008 advocates persuaded key ambassadors to view a documentary film called The Greatest Silence—Rape in the Congo. The film followed a victim of gang rape as she spoke to victims of sexual violence at the hands of foreign militias and the Congolese army in eastern Congo.

The US proposed during its presidency of the Council in June 2008 to take the key elements related to rape and sexual violence in conflict situations in the General Assembly resolution into a new Council resolution on women, peace and security focused on the use of sexual violence in armed conflict as a weapon or tactic of warfare.

There was initially resistance in the Council to a new resolution on women, peace and security, including from key advocates of resolution 1325. Some considered that a new resolution that just focused on sexual violence would dilute the wider focus of the landmark 1325, which had not ignored this issue (it was mentioned in operative paragraphs 10 and 11). There was particular concern the draft would weaken support for women’s increased participation in leadership positions in resolution 1325, as it highlighted women’s vulnerability (or weakness). Others in the Council assessed that singling out sexual violence in conflict was unhelpful, given the range of other forms of violence specifically perpetrated against women during periods of conflict—such as murder and maiming.

However events on the ground in the DRC played an important role in shifting Council dynamics on this issue. Evidence of widespread, systematic, brutal and highly publicised sexual violence perpetrated against the women of the eastern DRC increased support in the Council for the US initiative.

On 19 June 2008 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, chaired an open debate of the Security Council, after which the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1820. For the first time the Security Council identified sexual violence when used or commissioned as a tactic of war in order to deliberately target civilian populations or as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilian populations as an impediment to international peace and security.

The elected members of the Council at the time were: Belgium, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Indonesia, Italy, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Panama, South Africa and Viet Nam. No Council member had a female permanent representative.

2009: Resolutions 1888 and 1889
On 30 September 2009 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chaired a meeting on sexual violence in armed conflict, as a follow up to resolution 1820. The meeting was public, but only Council members could speak. At this meeting the Council adopted resolution 1888, which recommended the Secretary-General appoint a special representative to implement resolution 1820.

One week later the Council took up the wider resolution 1325 agenda on 5 October 2009. Viet Nam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Gia Khiem presided over an open debate on women, peace and security. The Council adopted resolution 1889 which called upon the Secretary-General to submit to the Security Council a set of indicators for use at the global level to track implementation of resolution 1325. The Secretary-General submitted a preliminary set in April 2010, with a revised set expected in September 2010. (The Council is expected to take action on the indicators in October 2010.)

Resolution 1889 had a slightly complicated origin. Viet Nam had signalled early on its intentions to propose a resolution on women, peace and security during its presidency in October 2009, on the importance of women’s involvement in post-conflict recovery. Viet Nam wanted to draw upon the lessons it had learned emerging from conflict and highlight the importance of women’s education and other development issues. There was some resistance to such direct references to economic and social dimensions. There was also procedural resistance to adopting a second resolution so soon after resolution 1888. Some thought a presidential statement highlighting the importance of the upcoming tenth anniversary of resolution 1325 would be sufficient. Viet Nam was firm about a resolution. After detailed negotiations a draft resolution was agreed highlighting women’s role in post-conflict peacebuilding efforts and the impediments to women’s involvement and seeking, in addition to the indicators, a report from the Secretary-General on women in peacebuilding, to be drafted in coordination with the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO).

3. Women, Peace and Security: the Normative Framework
During the last decade the Council has established a wide normative framework under the theme of women, peace and security through its four resolutions and nine presidential statements. This framework now forms the mandate that directs Secretariat action on this issue, guides the Security Council approach, provides guidance and precedent for broader UN member state action on and consideration of the issue and establishes a set of generally accepted principles for handling the matter.

It is worthwhile to analyse this normative framework through a closer look at resolutions 1325, 1820 and the associated resolutions and presidential statements, prior to embarking on an analysis of how effectively the Council has incorporated this issue into its working methods and practice when considering country-specific and other thematic decisions. (See Annex I for a detailed analysis of the text of resolutions 1325 and 1820.)

Resolution 1325
There are essentially six sections in resolution 1325.

The first section (operative paragraphs 1-4) deals with increasing women’s participation in decision-making on the prevention, management and resolution of conflict: in national, regional and international institutions and in the UN system. It also urges an increase in the number of women appointed as special representatives and envoys to pursue good offices functions on behalf of the Secretary-General and in UN field-based operations, especially among military observers, civilian police, human rights and humanitarian personnel.

The second section of resolution 1325 (operative paragraphs 6-7) addresses capacity issues by focusing on developing guidelines and materials to train military, police and civilian personnel deploying with UN peace operations regarding the importance of involving women in all peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities, as well as on the protection, rights and particular needs of women; and increasing financial, technical and logistical support for gender-sensitive training.

The third section (operative paragraph 8) goes into detail on the specific areas where gender should be considered with respect to negotiating and implementing peace agreements: the special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement and for rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction; measures that support local women’s peace initiatives and indigenous processes for conflict resolution and measures that involve women in all of the implementation mechanisms of the peace agreements; and measures that ensure the protection and respect for human rights of women and girls, particularly as they relate to the constitution, the electoral system, the police and the judiciary.

The fourth section (operative paragraphs 9-11) focuses on the international legal framework relevant to the protection of women and girls as civilians, calling on all parties to armed conflict to: respect fully international law in this regard including their obligations under the Geneva Conventions, the Convention related to the Status of Refugees, Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child and the relevant provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC); take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, and all other forms of violence in situations of armed conflict; and goes on to emphasise the responsibility of all states to put an end to impunity and prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including those relating to sexual and other violence against women and girls and stresses the need to exclude these crimes, where feasible, from amnesty provisions.

The fifth section (operative paragraphs 12-13) outlines two practical areas for action on gender issues: respecting the humanitarian nature of refugee and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, taking into account the particular needs of women and girls in camp design; and the different needs of women ex-combatants and the needs of their dependants when planning DDR programmes.

Finally in the sixth section resolution 1325 commits the Council to using guidelines for its approach to gender issues across the broader Council agenda. In particular, the Council expresses its willingness to:

  • incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations (operative paragraph 5);
  • ensure that Council visiting missions take into account gender considerations and the rights of women, including through consultation with local and international women’s groups (operative paragraph 15); and
  • take into account, whenever sanctions are adopted under article 41 of the Charter, their potential impact on the civilian population, bearing in mind the special needs of women and girls, in order to consider appropriate humanitarian exemptions (operative paragraph 14).

It has become shorthand when referring to the content of resolution 1325 to say that it covers women’s participation and protection in situations of armed conflict. While this is the resolution’s main thrust, its scope is more complex than just participation and protection. Some issues, such as the demobilisation of female combatants or women voluntarily or involuntarily associated with armed groups, can fall into both (or neither) categories depending on the context. Generally, resolution 1325 is balanced between increasing women’s participation in all aspects of action and decision-making relevant to peace and security, and highlighting women’s rights and the importance of protecting women as a vulnerable subset of broader protection of civilian considerations.

Presidential Statements on Women, Peace and Security
Prior to the adoption of resolution 1820 in 2008, the scope of the resolution 1325 framework was supplemented by seven presidential statements. Most language in the presidential statements reiterated aspects of resolution 1325 or acknowledged particular achievements of women’s participation or gender mainstreaming within the UN system. Some elements were procedural requesting new reports from the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 1325 (including outlining obstacles to increased participation of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding) or on the impact of armed conflict on women. In contrast to earlier years, the latest requests for information on the impact of armed conflict on women were restricted to situations on the agenda of the Security Council (2007 and 2008).

Some presidential statements made small additions to the normative framework, including (in 2002) a condemnation of all violations of the human rights of women and girls in situations of armed conflict, and the use of sexual violence, including as a strategic and tactical weapon of war. This was a significant step further than resolution 1325 and a concept taken up directly by resolution 1820.

Specific additional requests to the Secretary-General included:

  • (in 2002) integrate gender perspectives into all standard operating procedures, manuals and other guidance material for peacekeeping operations; and include gender specialists in the teams of Council visiting missions where relevant;
  • (in 2004) ensure that human rights monitors and members of commissions of inquiry have the necessary expertise and training in gender-based crimes and in the conduct of investigations, including in a culturally sensitive manner favourable to victims; consider appointing a senior gender adviser within the Department of Political Affairs (DPA); ensure all policies and programmes in support of post-conflict constitutional, judicial and legislative reform, including truth and reconciliation and electoral processes, promote the full participation of women, gender equality and women’s human rights;
  • (in 2005) ensure that all peace accords concluded with UN assistance address the specific effects of armed conflict on women and girls, as well as their specific needs and priorities in the post-conflict context, underlining in this context the importance of broad and inclusive consultation with civil society in particular women’s organisations and groups; and
  • (in 2006) collect and compile good practices, lessons learned and identify remaining gaps and challenges in order to further promote the efficient and effective implementation of resolution 1325, in the context of increasing women’s participation in decision-making.

Broader requests by the Council addressed to the international community as a whole included:

  • (in 2002) encouraging relevant actors to include gender perspectives in humanitarian operations, rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes, and also to develop targeted activities, focused on the specific constraints facing women and girls in post-conflict situations, such as their lack of land and property rights and access to and control over economic resources;
  • (in 2004) urging all international and national courts specifically established to prosecute war-related crimes to provide gender expertise, gender training for all staff and gender-sensitive programmes for victims and witness protection;
  • (in 2007) emphasising the importance of strengthening cooperation between member states and between the UN and regional organisations in adopting and promoting regional approaches to implementing 1325.

Resolution 1820
The concepts of resolution 1820 derive from, and significantly elaborate upon, the Council’s previous decisions on protection of civilians, as well as the more limited protection aspects included in resolution 1325.

There were several elements in resolution 1820 that break new ground for a Council resolution. In it, the Security Council:

  • concluded that sexual violence when used or commissioned as a tactic of war in order to deliberately target civilian populations or as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilian populations may impede the restoration of international peace and security;
  • demanded the cessation by all parties to armed conflict of acts of sexual violence against civilians; and
  • affirmed its intention (which it had already expressed in two specific cases—the DRC and Côte d’Ivoire) when establishing and renewing state-specific sanctions regimes, to consider targeted sanctions and other graduated measures against parties to situations of armed conflict who commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls in situations of armed conflict.

Resolution 1820 also considerably expanded upon the legal dimensions addressed by resolution 1325 in several ways. It listed the possible measures parties could take to protect women and children from sexual violence; reinforced measures ending impunity. It noted that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide. It also reinforced the capacity components of resolution 1325, in particular the need to develop and deliver training for peacekeeping and humanitarian personnel deployed by the UN to better prevent, recognise and respond to sexual violence and other forms of violence against civilians.

While resolution 1820 included some mention of women’s involvement in peace processes it was in the context of addressing sexual violence that occurred during the conflict in question. Likewise, women’s involvement in post-conflict peacebuilding efforts was addressed in the context of protection of women in IDP camps, throughout demobilisation and reintegration programmes and in justice and security sector reform and addressing the long-term consequences of sexual violence in rebuilding society.

Resolution 1888
Resolution 1888 builds on resolution 1820. Over half of its operative paragraphs directly reinforce previous language from resolution 1820, some of which was in turn drawn from resolution 1325.

The key new elements of resolution 1888 were a range of measures to develop capacity to staff the implementation of resolution 1820. These included:

  • a request for the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative on sexual violence in conflict;
  • a request to deploy rapidly a team of experts to situations of particular concern with respect to sexual violence in armed conflict;
  • a decision to include specific provisions in peacekeeping mandates, as appropriate, for the protection of women and children from rape and other sexual violence, including the identification of women’s protection advisers among the gender adviser and human rights protection units in peacekeeping missions.

Resolution 1888 also stated that the Council would review the mandates of the Special Representative and the team of experts within two years, taking into account the establishment of the new UN gender entity (UN Women) in 2011.

Other new elements included: urging states to undertake comprehensive legal and judicial reforms with a view to bringing perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict to justice and ensuring appropriate treatment of survivors of sexual violence; urging parties to a conflict to ensure that all reports of sexual violence committed by civilians or by military personnel are thoroughly investigated and civilian superiors and military commanders use their authority and power to prevent sexual violence; encouraging states to increase access to the necessary support services for victims of sexual violence; encouraging local and national leaders, including traditional and religious leaders, to play a more active role in sensitising communities on sexual violence to avoid marginalisation and stigmatisation of victims; urging Special Representatives and the Emergency Relief Coordinator of the Secretary-General to work with member states to develop joint government-UN comprehensive strategies to combat sexual violence; and encouraging increased briefings and documentation on sexual violence in armed conflict to the Council.

Resolution 1888 also requested the Secretary-General to devise urgently and preferably within three months, specific proposals on ways to ensure monitoring and reporting in a more effective and efficient way within the existing UN system on the protection of women and children from rape and other sexual violence in armed conflict and post-conflict situations. (At press time it was unclear what formal action the Secretary-General had taken on this request, beyond the appointment of Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, on 2 February 2010.)

Further to the above request, the Council also requested a report from the Secretary-General on implementation of resolutions 1820 and 1888 by September 2010. The Secretary-General sought an extension of the deadline for the submission of this report, and it is now due to the Council in December 2010.

Resolution 1889
Resolution 1889 focused on the question of how to implement a key feature of resolution 1325, i.e. the increased participation of women in negotiating and implementing peace processes and in other aspects of post-conflict peacebuilding, by identifying obstacles to their full participation and seeking to address those obstacles. Resolution 1889 also looked toward the tenth anniversary of 1325 in 2010 as an opportunity to renew commitments to its implementation.

The bulk of resolution 1889 reinforced key elements and language of resolution 1325.

In resolution 1889 for the first time the Council urged Member States, UN bodies, donors and civil society:

  • to ensure women’s empowerment is taken into account during post-conflict needs assessments and planning, and factored into subsequent funding disbursements and programme activities;
  • to take all feasible measures to ensure women and girls’ equal access to education, given the vital role of education in the promotion of women’s participation in post-conflict decision making; and
  • requested the Secretary-General to ensure full cooperation and coordination between the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and the Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Resolution 1889 also requested three separate reports from the Secretary-General. The first request was for a set of indicators for use at the global level to track implementation of resolution 1325, which could serve as a common basis for reporting by relevant UN entities, other international and regional organisations and member states. (A preliminary set of 26 indicators was submitted to the Council in April 2010. The Council decided in a presidential statement that same month that these indicators needed increased technical and conceptual development and requested the Secretary-General to continue to work with the Security Council on them and to consult with the broader UN membership with a view to submitting a revised set in September 2010. The Council expressed its intention to take action on the indicators in October 2010.)

The second request in resolution 1889 was for the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the 2008-2009 UN System-Wide Action Plan on the implementation of resolution 1325 (requested by the Council in 2007, due in September 2010) to include an assessment of the processes by which the Security Council receives, analyses and takes action on information pertinent to resolution 1325, recommendations on further measures to improve coordination across the UN system, and with member states and civil society to deliver implementation, and data on women’s participation in UN missions. (It is expected that this report will also include the revised indicators referred to above and come out in September 2010.)

The third request in resolution 1889 was for the Secretary-General to submit a report to the Security Council by October 2010 on addressing women’s participation and inclusion in peacebuilding and planning in the aftermath of conflict, taking into account the views of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). The Secretariat undertook wide consultations on this report throughout 2010. The report is expected to be submitted to the Council in October. It is expected this report will be considered by the Council at the same time as the indicators.

In conclusion, therefore, it seems reasonable given the wide scope of this normative framework to expect to see references to the issues of women, peace and security in all Security Council peace operation mandates. In particular, based upon the normative framework, one would expect to see references specifically to women when the Council considers peace mediation, peace negotiations, implementing peace agreements, the design and execution of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programmes and DDR and repatriation (DDRR) programmes, mine action, security sector and justice reform, monitoring human rights situations, monitoring the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons and electoral planning to increase women’s participation (both as candidates and voters). It is reasonable to expect the Council to reinforce the importance of increasing the number of women in UN entities responsible for implementing the above mandates, especially in military and police components and in mission leadership positions.

One might also reasonably expect to see the framework reflected in other Council action on country-specific issues at different stages of the conflict cycle, including conflict prevention, preventive diplomacy, conflict resolution or peacebuilding.

Brief Outline of UN System Responses to Implement Resolution 1325


4. Cross-Cutting Analysis: Resolutions
Research Methodology

In collating the following data in order to test whether cross-cutting expectations have been met, we analysed Council resolutions from the period from November 2000 to August 2010. We separated the resolutions into the categories of: total number of resolutions; resolutions where one might reasonably expect to find a reference to the topics covered in resolution 1325 (or after their adoption to resolutions 1820, 1888 or 1889); and resolutions where indeed a reference to the topics covered in resolution 1325 (and associated resolutions) was found.

Given the breadth of relevant issues covered by resolution 1325, references to at least some of these might be expected in all country-specific resolutions. In particular references in resolutions that established or altered the mandate of peacekeeping operations seemed reasonable, given that in resolution 1325 the Council expressed ‘its willingness to incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations, and urged the Secretary-General to ensure that, where appropriate, field operations included a gender component’. (See Annex II for specific references to women, peace and security elements in peace operation mandates and resolutions renewing mandates from 2000 to 2010.)

A resolution containing only a reference to, say, ensuring HIV awareness amongst peacekeepers or to the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance approach to sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers was not considered as meeting the test. While both are important issues for the Council to address and reinforce, we considered each to be tangential to the scope and intent of resolution 1325.

In our analysis we categorised the following as thematic issues: UN peace operations (including the relationship between the Security Council and troop contributing countries), conflict prevention/mediation/peacebuilding (including the role of the PBC), the Security Council’s relationship with regional organisations (such as the African Union), protection of civilians, counter-terrorism, small arms and light weapons, children and armed conflict and non-proliferation.

Country Situations
The analysis shows that there has been a gradual increase in the number and quality of references to women, peace and security in Council resolutions on country situations. The period 2001 to 2006 saw a gradual increase from 22 percent to a steady plateau of around 30 percent (with a spike to 40 percent in 2003).

There was a significant change from the start of 2007. The Council moved from including a reference to women in 11 out of 38 relevant resolutions in 2006, to including such a reference in 20 of the 34 relevant resolutions in 2007. In other words, the number of references jumped from 30 to 60 percent in one year.

References increased further in 2008 (67 percent) and 2009 (73 percent). In January-August 2010, 13 of the 16 (or 81 percent) resolutions adopted by the Council on country-specific situations have included a reference to women, peace and security.

Composition of References in Resolutions
The detail of specific references to women, peace and security has varied widely over the decade. For example, some resolutions have only included a specific preambular reference to resolution 1325, with no further reference to women in the operative section of the resolution.

Early on, there appeared to have been a tendency for women’s participation to be encouraged in the preambular sections, where the Council usually would highlight a particular achievement of a women’s group described in the related Secretary-General’s report, for example the consistent references to the Mano River Women’s Peace Network in resolutions on Liberia and Sierra Leone from 2001-2003 or the efforts of Somali women in 2006. The references to women in the operative sections almost always focused on protection, as most often these references were expanding or reinforcing an existing mandate.

Since 2007, references to women became more consistent across country situations on the Council’s agenda. Since 2007 women, peace and security issues have been reflected consistently in all the resolutions on the situations in: Côte d’Ivoire, Nepal, Haiti, Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, Liberia, Sudan (both Darfur, and north/south issues), Chad/Central African Republic, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau. References to women, peace and security had been included in almost all resolutions on the DRC (nine out of 11) and Somalia (seven out of eight).

This compares to the period of 2000-2006 where there were no country situations that consistently contained a reference to women, peace and security. In most country situations, half or less than half, of the resolutions issued contained a reference. For example: Côte d’Ivoire (five out of 11); Haiti (three out of six); Timor-Leste (two out of seven); Liberia (three out of eight); Burundi (three out of eight) and Sierra Leone (seven out of 14). Notably, over this period for resolutions on the DRC, only eight out of 21 contained a reference to women.

The Council has never included a mention of women, peace and security in its resolutions on the situations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Croatia, Western Sahara, Cyprus or Ethiopia/Eritrea. There has not been a reference in the resolutions on the situation in Lebanon since expanding the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 2006.

Beyond these overall trends, several noteworthy patterns emerge:

  • the Council first expressed its concern over the level of sexual violence against women in its resolution 1370 (2001) on the situation in Sierra Leone;
  • resolution 1410 (2002) that established the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) was the first resolution to recognisethe importance of a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations and mandated a focal point for gender to be included within its civilian component;
  • the first resolution to mention resolution 1325 following its adoption was resolution 1445 (2002) renewing the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) mandate;
  • resolution 1445 on the DRC also saw the start of a trend to include vague language on including gender ‘perspectives’ or the importance of ‘gender mainstreaming’ in Council resolutions, without identifying elsewhere in the mandate the specific areas where gender was relevant or the action required;
  • the Council has only once encouraged a specific mission to increase the number of female peacekeepers. This came in 2003 in resolution 1493 regarding MONUC, when the Council called upon MONUC to increase the deployment of women as military observers as one response to address the use of violence against women and girls as a tool of warfare;
  • a preambular reference to resolution 1325 (without its title ‘women, peace and security’) appeared in UNIFIL resolutions in 2003; it continued to stay in the mandate extensions until 2006; starting with resolution 1701, there have been no mentions at all of resolution 1325 or women;
  • UNMIS is the only situation that has consistent references to women’s participation without also referring to protection, in the context of the importance of women’s involvement in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA);
  • the Council has only once called upon an operation to develop a gender equality strategy in cooperation with national authorities: in the mandate of UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) established in 2006 through resolution 1704;
  • the Council has mandated the head of a peacekeeping operation to identify women’s protection advisers in the case of one peace operation, MONUC in 2009 (also included in the mandate of its successor mission, MONUSCO).

Thematic Resolutions
The Council has adopted 19 relevant thematic resolutions since the adoption of resolution 1325. Of these, 13 contained a reference to women, peace and security issues. Three of these were specifically on women, peace and security (resolutions 1820, 1888 and 1889). The remaining ten were on the topics of protection of civilians (three), children and armed conflict (three), conflict prevention (two), peacebuilding (one) and peace operations (one).

While the Council has consistently considered this issue over the period from 2000 to 2010, it has not always reflected it in relevant thematic resolutions. The Council has never mentioned women, peace and security elements in its resolutions on small arms and light weapons, nor on cooperation between the UN and regional organisations, particularly in the context of joint peacekeeping operations (see resolutions 1631 of 2005 and 1809 of 2008), nor in its 2001 resolution on the relationship between the Council and troop contributing countries (resolution 1353).

It is perhaps surprising that the Council has omitted women, peace and security issues from its consideration of cooperation between the UN and regional organisations, given the emphasis of these resolutions on the role of regional organisations, in particular the African Union (AU) in mediation, peace negotiations, peacekeeping operations and post-conflict recovery¾all prominent areas of resolution 1325. For example resolution 1809 (2008) considered, amongst a range of issues, the importance of the AU’s role in conflict mediation without mentioning resolution 1325. Also many AU peacekeeping missions have evolved into UN peacekeeping missions, often with the same troop contributors.

There is a strong overlap between the issues of resolution 1325 and children and armed conflict, in particular the effect of conflict on girls. Despite that overlap the Council has not drawn a link to resolution 1325 in its last two resolutions on children and armed conflict, including in the key resolution on this agenda item, resolution 1612 of 2005, which established a Council working group on this issue.

5. Cross-Cutting Analysis: Presidential Statements
Research Methodology

The analysis also covers presidential statements. Presidential statements, while often brief, are as carefully negotiated as resolutions. They are usually adopted when there are significant developments on the ground in country situations on the Council’s agenda, or to reinforce important points following open debates or the release of key documents by the Secretariat. The language in presidential statements is useful to analyse, as it is often less formulaic than resolutions and as such can reflect the mood of the Council on a given issue.

Since many presidential statements are issued in response to a particular event, we have considered carefully which statements should reasonably include a reference to women, peace and security. We have considered relevant those that discuss a country situation where the issues of resolution 1325 are part of the mandate of the peace operation or could be a prominent aspect of the development on the ground. We have also considered relevant those presidential statements that take the opportunity to reinforce key general points, where one might reasonably expect to see the issues of resolution 1325 reinforced or reiterated.

To remain consistent in our analysis between resolutions and presidential statements we have categorised the statements issued to condemn particular terrorist incidents as thematic, despite their often country-specific nature.

Country Situations
The analysis concludes that a relatively low number of relevant presidential statements contain references to women, peace and security. The lowest point was 2003 when there were no references. The highest point was 2009 when close to 30 percent contained a reference. So far in 2010 one (out of two) relevant country-situation presidential statements (issued in February on Guinea) contained a reference to resolution 1888, reiterating ‘the call it made in its resolution 1888 (2009) to increase the representation of women in mediation processes and decision-making processes with regard to conflict resolution and peacebuilding’.


The years with the highest number of resolutions mentioning women, peace and security issues, such as 2003 and 2007, correspond to the years with the lowest number of presidential statements, suggesting that the Council was reinforcing its key points in resolutions rather than presidential statements in those years.

The references to the women, peace and security vary significantly in quality between different statements. Some, such as that quoted above on Guinea, are specific to issues raised in 1325 or a related resolution, whereas others may simply call upon the women in a given country to vote in an upcoming election.

Over the past ten years the Council has included a reference to women, peace and security in the presidential statements it has issued on Liberia, Kenya and Zimbabwe (one statement has been issued for each in the last ten years). References to women were sporadic in statements issued on other country situations: Great Lakes/Uganda (three out of four); DRC (five out of thirty); Kosovo (two out of 11); Somalia (four out of 22); Sudan (one out of nine); Afghanistan (three out of eight); Haiti (one out of nine); Sierra Leone (one out of three); Burundi (one out of 15); and Chad/CAR (one out of 13). Not one of the 19 presidential statements issued on Côte d’Ivoire mentioned women, peace and security issues.

Thematic Presidential Statements
A significant proportion of thematic presidential statements include a reference to issues relevant to women, peace and security. For example in 2002 six out of seven relevant thematic statements included a reference, in 2005 it was six out of nine. In the first eight months of 2010, six out of eight relevant presidential statements included a reference to the issues covered by 1325 or its related resolutions.

The thematic topics covered by presidential statements are wide. Those that have included references to the issues of 1325 include post-conflict peacebuilding, small arms and light weapons, protection of civilians, children and armed conflict, peacekeeping policy, justice and the rule of law, security sector reform, mediation, and preventive diplomacy. Those where one might have expected to see reinforcement of the issues of resolution 1325, but where there was no mention, include the UN’s relationship with regional organisations, the role of civil society in the prevention and pacific settlement of disputes and some key statements on small arms, peacebuilding (including S/PRST/2005/30 that fed into the eventual mandate of the PBC) and peacekeeping policy, such as the most recent presidential statement on the importance of developing transition and exit strategies (S/PRST/2010/2).

6. Cross-Cutting Analysis: Mission Mandates
This section analyses whether the Council has incorporated gender issues in its mandated field missions. Council-mandated missions can include peacekeeping operations, special political missions and peacebuilding support missions. DPKO administers and directs peacekeeping operations. DPA administers and directs special political missions and peacebuilding support missions. The only current exception is the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which is a political mission directed by DPKO.

With two exceptions, all new mission mandates established by the Council since the adoption of 1325 have included a reference to women, peace and security issues. The peacebuilding operation, BINUCA, established in the Central African Republic in 2009 (via a presidential statement rather than a resolution) has a mandate focused on implementation of the peace process, political dialogue and DDR, however does not mention women. The other exception was UNAMA’s first mandate established in 2002 through resolution 1401 which included no reference at all to resolution 1325 or women. This was a striking omission, as all previous resolutions on Afghanistan had included at least a reference to the human rights situation facing women under the Taliban. This omission was subsequently rectified by the Council and the most recent renewal of UNAMA’s mandate includes monitoring the human rights situation facing women, as well as numerous references to women’s involvement in political and government institutions and protection and human rights issues relevant to women and girls.

A significant proportion of resolutions establishing and renewing Council-mandated missions contain a reference to women, peace and security issues (see the table below). However, there are several missions where this is consistently not the case. For example the mandates and renewals of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and UNIFIL do not mention women, peace and security, despite the mandates of these missions including issues covered by resolution 1325, such as peace negotiations, implementation of peace agreements and post-conflict community reconciliation (UNFICYP, MINURSO) or are significant peacekeeping operations where the mission should reasonably consider a gender perspective in fulfilling its mandate, such as UNIFIL (which is also mandated to undertake mine action). The UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has a narrow mandate regarding the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and arms monitoring. Yet the Council at least included in UNMIN’s mandate a preambular reference to recognising the need to pay special attention to the needs and the role of women in the peace process, as mentioned in Nepal’s CPA and resolution 1325.

See Annex II for a breakdown of the mandates of current missions established or renewed since the adoption of resolution 1325.

Summary of Council Mandated Missions

The increase in references to women, peace and security in Council mandates seems to reflect the increase in the number of missions with integrated mandates, (i.e. where all UN entities also come under the authority of the Special Representative heading the mission) and also the increasingly wide range of tasks missions have been mandated to undertake. Missions can be mandated to work with host authorities on a wide range of capacity building programmes, including to improve rule of law through security sector reform and justice reform and assist local authorities with human rights monitoring, IDP and refugee resettlement and mine action, as well as more traditional functions such as monitoring and assisting the implementation of peace agreements.

There have also been several missions where the UN is authorised under Chapter VII to undertake particular functions on behalf of the government in question or, in Kosovo and Timor-Leste (prior to 2002), to act as the government. When the UN is undertaking executive functions it is an opportunity for the Council to mandate the UN to implement directly aspects of resolution 1325 related to gender equality.

7. Timor-Leste Case Study: Successful Gender Mainstreaming and Steps Toward Equality
Since 1999 the UN has had a significant role in Timor-Leste. The UN’s role has involved preparations for the referendum in August 1999 and responding to the post-referendum violence, establishing a major peacekeeping mission and creating innovative new machinery for transitional administration and building the structures for an emergent state from 1999 to 2002. The UN has been working with and supporting an independent Timor-Leste since 2002. Since 1999 the UN has had five consecutive peacekeeping or political missions in the country. The current integrated mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) established in August 2006 was the first globally, and to date only, UN peacekeeping operation with a specific mandate to work together with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, to support the development of a national strategy to promote gender equality and empowerment of women.

UNMIT’s mandate also includes enhancing democratic governance and political dialogue, supporting electoral processes (including parliamentary, presidential and local elections), providing support and training to the national police (effectively rebuilding the leadership that collapsed in 2006), enhancing the effectiveness of the justice system and security sector, assisting national capacity for the monitoring, promotion and protection of human rights and cooperation and coordination with UN agencies, funds and programmes to maximise assistance in post-conflict peacebuilding and capacity building.

There are many challenges to gender equality and the protection of women in Timor-Leste, in particular persistently high levels of domestic violence. The post-referendum violence in 1999 was marked in particular by attacks against women by pro-integration militia, including documented murders of nuns and other civilian women. There had been a history of women’s involvement in the insurgent army, Falintil, and its support networks during Indonesian occupation. Women were known as effective runners, bringing food and information to fighters in hiding. As a result there were many women, as combatants and in support roles, in the Falintil cantonment sites created by the first international stabilisation forces to arrive in 1999. However, very few women were integrated when Falintil fighters were integrated into the national army established upon independence.

The violence in and around Dili of 2006 led to significant internal displacement, which at its peak saw close to 100,000 people living in IDP camps. Further unrest in other population centres in both the west and east in 2006 and 2007 saw further displacement. Increased incidents of violence against women occurred in the IDP camps as well as in communities when the displaced returned home. The IDP camps were gradually all closed. However it is estimated by UNMIT that currently domestic violence cases comprise over one-third of all cases pending before national courts.

The leadership of UNMIT has consistently sought to achieve gender mainstreaming throughout the implementation of its mandate. This has been supported by an active gender adviser role in the mission and by DPKO at UN headquarters. The UNMIT public information unit has also been an important tool. The DPKO desk officer responsible for Timor-Leste during the establishment of UNMIT had previously worked for UNIFEM, and helped to ensure that parties implementing the mandate were aware of the importance of taking gender into account. It seems that UNMIT has been very effective with UN funds and programmes in Dili, especially UNIFEM and UNDP on a range of gender specific programmes and projects.

Rule of Law: Justice System and Police
UNDP has a long-term programme in Timor-Leste to support capacity-building in the justice sector. UNDP supports a Legal Training Centre which by the end of 2009 had trained 13 national judges (four women), 13 prosecutors (six women) and 11 public defenders (three women).

UNMIT has supported active recruitment of women to the National Police of Timor-Leste (Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste, or PNTL). Women currently comprise 20 percent of the police force. The country’s first female district commander (in the district of Liquica) was appointed on 7 September 2010. In order to specifically deal with the problem of violence against women, UNMIT facilitated the establishment of a Vulnerable Persons Unit to deal primarily with gender-based crime, made up principally of women PNTL officers. With the support of the United Nations, child- and victim-friendly interview rooms were established in Vulnerable Persons Units in five districts. UNMIT has also consistently pushed police contributing countries to provide more female police. However, currently only 52 out of 928 community police in UNMIT are female.

The situation is less positive for women in the national military. In early 2009 women constituted 9 percent of the army. A recent recruitment campaign had a goal of attracting 10 percent women as new recruits. Only 7 percent recruited were women (none of whom were selected for the officer programme).

Supporting Women’s Increased Role in Decision Making
Following the 2007 parliamentary elections, women hold 29 percent of seats in Parliament, drawn from the spectrum of political parties. This was due to the requirement that political parties put forward at least one woman candidate out of four on their party lists. The deputy speaker of parliament is a woman.

Women hold three ministerial positions in the current coalition government in the portfolios of finance, justice and social solidarity, as well as the positions of prosecutor-general, vice minister for health and secretary of state for the promotion of equality.

In the village (suco) elections in 2009, 11 women were elected as suco chiefs (442 sucos in the country), and 37 women were elected as hamlet (aldeias) chiefs (2,225 aldeias). The relatively poor result for women at the suco and aldeia level, compared to the national outcome, demonstrated that many cultural and structural barriers remain to women in local politics (including patriarchal traditions at the local level and a lack of childcare).

UNIFEM and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have a range of projects in Timor-Leste to support women’s active involvement in politics.

UNIFEM’s ‘Integrated Programme for Women in Politics and Decision Making’ aims to promote gender equality by increasing women’s participation in politics and in decision-making at the national, district, suco and aldeia levels. At the national level, the programme involves providing training and support to female parliamentarians, support for the women’s wings of political parties and the resourcing of a Gender Resource Centre at the national parliament (that assists in providing gender-sensitive analysis of national budgets).

UNDP’s closely related project, ‘Strengthening Parliamentary Democracy in Timor-Leste’ provides support to parliamentary standing committees and individual parliamentarians to draft, scrutinise and amend bills as well as analyse and present their policy implications. The project also assists parliament to communicate its work to the public and promote the empowerment of women.

UNDP, UNIFEM, UNMIT and the secretary of state for the promotion of equality supported the parliamentary women’s caucus in the development of a five-year plan (2008-2012) to mainstream gender in the work of the national parliament.The Special Representative has an active programme of meetings with key political actors to support ongoing high-level political dialogue in which the gender element of the Security Council mandate plays an important role. As part of this programme, the Special Representative meets the parliamentary women’s caucus on a regular basis.

Gender in Timorese Policymaking and the Role of the Civil Society
UNMIT and UNIFEM have worked closely on policies to incorporate gender across the activities of the Timorese government, in order to implement UNMIT’s mandate to support the Timorese develop a national strategy to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. The implementation of this strategy was strengthened by a decision by Timorese authorities in March 2008 to create gender focal points across all Timorese government ministries. These gender focal points have developed sector-wide policies on gender in the areas of education, health, agriculture and vocational and professional training (under the overall guidance of the secretary of state for the promotion of equality).

Significant legislative reform has taken place to harmonise national legislation with CEDAW. Land laws and a civil code have been adopted which grant equal rights to both women and men to use and own land and in all aspects of matrimonial regime and inheritance rights. The criminal code now categorises domestic violence as a public crime, which ensures criminal procedures do not depend upon a formal complaint by the victim. A specific law against domestic violence was recently adopted by parliament. The relationship between formal justice institutions and traditional justice mechanisms, which are most commonly utilised to address domestic violence and sexual violence, may be enhanced through the development of a draft bill on customary law which seeks to ensure that customary practices are consistent with national and international human rights standards, particularly in relation to women and children.

The efforts of the Timorese government, UN entities and civil society to raise the profile of gender issues and put in place gender-sensitive institutional structures and policies have come into sharp relief following the successful election of their nominated candidate, Maria Pires, to the UN CEDAW Committee in June 2010. This was the first victory for Timor-Leste, or one of its nominated candidates, in a UN election; and was the first time Timor-Leste had nominated a candidate for a treaty body. The election was highly competitive with 28 candidates competing for 12 available positions. Pires had served as Country Programme Coordinator for UNIFEM and was a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted Timor’s constitution. The campaign was closely supported by the gender adviser from UNMIT, who had been specifically placed in UNMIT to assist Timor-Leste in its implementation of and reporting to CEDAW. This adviser is now placed within the Office of the Secretary of State for the Promotion of Equality.

There are several active NGOs working on women’s issues in Timor-Leste. These include the umbrella civil society organisation Redefeto, the head of which addressed the Security Council on the issues facing Timorese women during its debate on women, peace and security in October 2006.

Timor-Leste appointed a woman as permanent representative to the UN in New York for the first time in March 2010.

1325 Project: Liberia/Ireland/Timor-Leste
Liberia, Northern Ireland (supported by Ireland) and Timor-Leste have established a trilateral cross-learning initiative on implementation of resolution 1325. Each partner has hosted information sharing meetings on an aspect of implementing resolution 1325: participation (hosted by Ireland, led by Northern Ireland), protection (Liberia) and prevention (Timor-Leste). The focus of the initiative is to facilitate the sharing of experiences between women in conflict-affected areas and help Ireland and Timor-Leste develop their National Action Plans to implement resolution 1325.

8. Cross-Cutting Analysis: Secretary-General’s Reports on Country Situations
Secretary-General’s reports are a key source of information for Council members. Some Council members base their negotiating positions entirely on the information contained in these reports.

In resolution 1325 the Council requested the Secretary-General, where appropriate, to include reporting on gender mainstreaming throughout peacekeeping missions and all other aspects relating to women and girls. In resolution 1820 the Council reinforced this with a request for the Secretary-General systematically to include in his written reports to the Council on conflict situations his observations and recommendations concerning the protection of women and girls from all forms of sexual violence.

Research Methodology
Our analysis is therefore based upon a review of all country-situation reports submitted by the Secretary-General to the Council since the adoption of resolution 1325 to the end of August 2010. We did not include the reports specifically prepared for the working group on children and armed conflict, despite the potential overlap with gender issues. This is because those reports are only handled by the Council’s working group on children and armed conflict and do not explicitly contain the information requested by the Council cited above.

Our analysis is broken down according to the number of reports with a reference to gender issues, and further into those reports with more than one paragraph on gender issues. This is an attempt to gauge the relative depth of references to women and gender issues in Secretary-General’s reports.

Secretary-General’s Reports on Country Situations
From the adoption of resolution 1325 to the end of 2005 the number of references in reports to gender gradually increased from 50 percent of all country-situation reports in 2001 to 86 percent in 2005.

The number of references in reports to gender which contain material greater than one paragraph also increased from around 60 percent in 2001 to closer to 90 percent in 2005.

Over this period we observed an increasing tendency for the Secretary-General to report on gender as a separate section which cuts across missions’ mandates. (Some even have a separate section entitled ‘Implementation of resolution 1325’.) On the other hand, other missions combine gender issues with governance or human rights.

The proportion of Secretary-General’s reports including references to gender issues did not continue to increase in 2007. Moreover it actually dropped to 82 percent in 2008. The proportion increases in 2009 to over 90 percent. It stays at this level for the reports released so far in 2010. The proportion of those with a reference of more than one paragraph peaked at 95 percent in 2009 and has dipped to 85 percent in the first eight months of 2010.

Following the adoption of resolution 1820 there was an increase in reporting specifically on instances of sexual violence and measures being taken by UN missions and host governments to address the issue.

Only one mission includes a separate section on sexual violence—the mission in the DRC.

There has been a gradual increase in information on women, peace and security in Secretary-General’s reports, in particular over the past five years. It is now routine to see gender addressed as a cross-cutting issue in a separate section in most reports. This increase can be attributed to a gradual increase in UN activities to implement resolution 1325 in the field, as well as increased calls for information from the Council. Despite such increases, the amount and detail of information in many Secretary-General’s reports still falls short of that requested by the Council. In particular, there has yet to be an increase in detailed information or analysis of the challenges to protecting women from sexual violence in relevant country situations.

There is wide divergence in the quality and quantity of references to women, peace and security between reports on different country situations. This suggests that each mission has its own approach to reporting on its implementation of resolutions 1325 and 1820 and that there is a lack of guidance from UN Headquarters. The lack of consistent information across country situations makes it difficult for the Council to compare the situation of women, or the issues affecting the security of women, across countries on its agenda.

The lack of consistency becomes clear when one looks at some examples. The Secretary-General’s reports on Timor-Leste consistently discuss gender aspects across UNMIT’s entire mandate. The February 2010 report for example contains a reference to women or gender in 25 paragraphs, on top of the nine specifically entitled ‘gender’. UNMIT also seems more successful than other missions in disaggregating data by gender (and reporting that data). This contrasts to Secretary-General’s reports from Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire which on average include a reference to gender in only four or five paragraphs per report and tend to provide disaggregated data only on the staffing composition of the mission.

The reports on the peacebuilding offices in CAR, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau tend to include more detailed information on women and gender issues, perhaps reflecting their capacity building mandates in areas such as justice, security sector and electoral reform.

Interestingly, even though the Council has never included language on women, peace and security in its resolutions on MINURSO in Western Sahara and UNFICYP in Cyprus, the Secretary-General’s reports have increasingly included information on the circumstances facing women in both situations. In particular, the Secretary-General highlights efforts to include women’s groups and perspectives into both respective peace negotiations.

While some Secretary-General’s reports include detailed information on women, peace and security there is not yet enough information in country-specific reports to eliminate the need for the Secretary-General to prepare an annual report on the impact of conflict on women in the countries on the Council’s agenda (as the Council requested in 2007 and 2008).

9. Cross-Cutting Analysis: Security Council Visiting Missions
The Council travels two to three times a year to the field. These Council missions are normally to locations where there is a Council-mandated mission.

In resolution 1325 the Council expressed its willingness to ensure that such Security Council missions ‘take into account gender considerations and the rights of women, including through consultation with local and international women’s groups’. This has been repeatedly reinforced in Council presidential statements and also in resolutions 1820 and 1888.

The published reports on Council missions indicate the outcomes of the visit to the field, who the Council met and the terms of reference (TOR) of the mission.

Since the adoption of resolution 1325 the Council has undertaken 24 missions to the field. Council missions have met representatives of local women’s groups during 14 of its 24 missions (according to the published mission reports). It was noted in some mission reports that only some members of the mission met with women’s groups. In two additional missions the Council met civil society, but it was not clear that women’s groups were met specifically or separately.

The Council included gender considerations and monitoring the rights of women in only eight out of 24 of its published TOR. For some missions although gender issues were included in the TOR, they were not reflected in actual meetings or the eventual written mission report.

The Council has discussed gender considerations in 19 out of 24 published reports, sometimes in situations where the Council did not meet women’s groups.

By contrast in the 13 missions undertaken prior to the adoption of resolution 1325 the Council met with women’s groups specifically in only one mission (to Western Sahara—but did not reflect any gender issues in its written mission report) and met with civil society representatives (not specified if women’s groups were present) in seven of the 13 missions.

Resolution 1325 seems to have led to an increase in effort by the Council to meet with women’s representatives and reflect gender considerations in subsequent mission reports. However, there is still resistance in the Council to including gender issues in the TOR of Council missions, despite the commitments of resolution 1325 and the reiteration of this willingness in further Council decisions. It is also apparent that even when the Council met representatives of women’s groups or survivors of sexual violence that the meetings were not always detailed in the eventual report.

10. Security Council Engagement with Stakeholders
10.1 Secretary-General
The Secretary-General has submitted nine reports on women, peace and security at the request of the Council. Eight of these are specific to resolution 1325 and one to resolution 1820.

The first report (S/2002/1154), prepared by Angela King, then Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, remains the most informative to those unfamiliar with the issue or the reasons why it is on the Council’s agenda. Based on the Secretary-General’s study into the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the report highlighted the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and girls compared to male civilians, both as specific targets of gender-based and sexual violence and because they constitute the majority of the world’s refugees and internally displaced persons.

Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Girls (conclusions from S/2002/1154)

The next four Secretary-General’s reports focused on the implementation of resolution 1325 across the UN system. The second report (in 2004) highlighted the wide range of UN entities responsible for implementing 1325 and the challenges to ensure coordination. The next three reports focused entirely on the design and execution of a series of UN action plans (2005-2007, 2008-2009) to implement resolution 1325 across the UN system. The informative, and for some revelatory, nature of the first Secretary-General’s report seemed to become lost in a bureaucratic exercise. As a result it would be easy to see how Council members, not to mention those in the General Assembly and Secretariat, not well-versed in the impact of conflict on women might have questioned why women, peace and security was on the Council’s agenda. While it could be argued that reporting on the impact on women and girls of armed conflict should have been present in country-specific Secretary-General’s reports, this was yet to systematically occur and could not be relied upon. (See analysis above of the Secretary-General’s country-specific reports.)

When reviewing the 2005-2007 action plan (which was divided into 12 different categories) the Secretary-General acknowledged that the plan had not been established as a tool for monitoring, evaluation or accountability. Nor was the plan established as an integrated UN system-wide strategy, but was rather a compilation of ongoing activities by UN entities. Most importantly the system-wide plan did not provide any links between the actions reported and undertaken and their impact on the lives of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. The Secretary-General sought to rectify some of these issues by simplifying the 2008-2009 plan to five categories and posting it online to enhance accountability. In response to a Council request, the Secretariat also undertook to compile a database on good practices and lessons learned.

10.2 Security Council Debates
Since the adoption of resolution 1325 in October 2000 the Council has held twelve debates on women, peace and security. Two of these debates were only open to Council members to speak. But most were open debates and the theme has over the years provided opportunities for a large number of countries and other stakeholders to address the Council.

Including the debate when resolution 1325 was adopted, 107 member states have addressed the Council. (Only two member states, Australia and Liechtenstein, have participated in all debates open to non-members).

In addition to the Secretary-General, the heads of UN entities such as the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, the UN Population Fund, the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, PBSO, UNIFEM and DPKO have addressed the Council under this agenda item, as have the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the senior gender adviser of MONUC, the former force commander of MONUC, the chair of the PBC, the president of ECOSOC and the president of the General Assembly. The heads of DPA and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have never addressed the Security Council specifically under this agenda item.

Representatives of other intergovernmental organisations such as the Inter Parliamentary Union and the Commonwealth Secretariat have also addressed the Council during these debates.

The thematic debates have also afforded non-governmental organisations a rare opportunity to address the Council in a formal meeting. This started in 2004 when Ms. Agathe Rwankuba a lawyer at the Bukavu Court of Appeals in South Kivu, DRC, and member of the NGO organisation Women’s Network for the Protection of Human Rights and Peace (Réseau des femmes pour la défense des droits et la paix) was invited under the UK presidency to address the Council. The Council has also invited representatives of women’s NGOs from Afghanistan, West Africa, Burundi and Timor-Leste to speak at debates in 2005 and 2006.

Representatives of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security have been invited to speak on three occasions, starting in 2007. Council members, including the President hosting the debate, also often engage directly with NGOs ahead of consideration of items related to women, peace and security.

10.3 Arria-Formula Briefings
The Council has also held seven Arria-formula meetings with representatives of women’s civil society, including women affected by armed conflict. Six of these briefings came ahead of the thematic open debates; one hosted by Belgium in December 2008 was focused specifically on the situation in eastern DRC. The Arria-formula briefings were often held the day prior to the open debate, but on a few occasions they were held in the weeks prior, giving Council members longer to reflect on their discussions with women’s representatives prior to their public statements on the topic.

Brief Outline of Member States Work and Contributions to Women, Peace and Security

Shifting Attitudes? DPKO Comments During Debates

10.4 Peacebuilding Commission
In its 2005 presidential statement on women, peace and security, the Council welcomed the 2005 World Summit outcome to establish the PBC and looked forward to its contribution to implementing resolution 1325, inviting the PBC to pay particular attention to the knowledge and understanding women can bring through their participation and empowerment to peacebuilding processes. The Council’s request for a specific report on women and peacebuilding in resolution 1889 appeared to be an effort to increase interaction between the Council and PBC on gender issues within their respective and overlapping mandates. This approach recognised that there was great scope for the PBC to address gender issues in the detailed work it does in its country-specific configurations. Given its mandate it seems a better fit for the PBC to consider the gender dimensions of post-conflict recovery than the Council. However, the limited geographic scope of the PBC and lack of systematic working methods to coordinate discussions between the Council and PBC may limit the potential for regular interaction on this issue.

11. International Legal Framework
As described above, a normative framework has now emerged through adoption of resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889 and relevant presidential statements. This normative framework builds on existing international law as a framework of protection for women and girls during armed conflict. This framework includes international humanitarian law, international human rights law, international criminal law and international refugee law.

As expressed in resolution 1888, international humanitarian law affords general protection to women and children as part of the civilian population during armed conflicts and special protection due to the fact that they can be placed particularly at risk. The four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their two additional protocols of 1977 address the protection of civilians or non-combatants during armed conflict and have specific measures for the protection of women within the overall protection offered non-combatants. This international humanitarian law regulates the conduct of armed conflict by defining who are combatants and non-combatants to the conflict and the responsibilities of combatants towards protecting civilians/non-combatants. International humanitarian law is primarily concerned with the concepts of distinction (i.e. methods of warfare where reasonable distinction can be made between combatants and non-combatants with the purpose of minimising civilian injury and death) and proportionality (i.e. acceptance that some civilian casualties will occur when pursuing military objectives, but ensuring that these casualties are not excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage). Generally speaking any direct attack on civilians, even if to pursue a military objective, is a violation of humanitarian law and considered a war crime or a crime against humanity.

International human rights law is also applicable during armed conflict. Key human rights instruments with a gender focus include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which specifically addresses trafficking in women and the exploitation and prostitution of women. Trafficking is comprehensively covered by the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementary protocols. Specifically, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, was adopted by General Assembly resolution in 2000. It entered into force on 25 December 2003. Girls benefit from the specific protections for children set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols on the sale of children, child prostitution and the involvement of children in armed conflict.

Gender-sensitive interpretation of the definition of refugees contained in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees allows for women and girls to seek refugee status on the basis of gender-based persecution, including sexual violence.

In the last decade these concepts have been expanded to address some of the particular crimes experienced by women and girls in armed conflict, such as rape, forced pregnancy, enforced prostitution, trafficking and enslavement. These crimes are addressed within definitions of war crimes, crimes against humanity and as components of the crime of genocide as well as torture. Such crimes are included in the statutes of the International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Looking more closely at the Rome Statute, it is worth highlighting that specific acts against women are defined as a constituent element of the act of genocide, such as article 6(1)(d): imposing measures intended to prevent births within a group; crimes against humanity, under article 7(1)(g): rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilisation, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; and war crimes under article 8(2)(b)(xxi): committing crimes upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment and article 8(2)(b)(xxii): committing rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, enforced pregnancy, enforced sterilisation and any other form of sexual violence.

A key element of the Rome Statute, and a key to addressing the issue of impunity for crimes committed against women in armed conflict, is the codification of direct and indirect command responsibility for violations of the Statute under article 25.

12. Addressing Violations
The Council has a series of measures at its disposal to address violations of international law and the 1325 normative framework as well as reducing impunity for violations against women in armed conflict.

The following analysis looks at Council action in terms of three such options: imposition of sanctions, establishment of independent Commissions of Inquiry and referrals to the International Criminal Court.

12.1 Sanctions
In resolution 1820 the Council expressed its willingness to use sanctions against perpetrators of sexual violence in armed conflict. This was expanded further in resolution 1888 to consider including designation criteria for the imposition of individual sanctions pertaining to acts of rape and other forms of sexual violence; and called upon all relevant UN missions and UN bodies to share all pertinent information about sexual violence with relevant Security Council sanctions committees, including through the sanctions committees’ monitoring groups and groups of experts. This went much further than resolution 1325. The only explicit mention of sanctions in resolution 1325 was the Council’s readiness, whenever measures were adopted under article 41 (i.e. sanctions regimes) to give consideration to their potential impact on the civilian population, bearing in mind the special needs of women and girls, in order to consider appropriate humanitarian exceptions. 

DRC Sanctions Committee
The DRC was the first case where the Council included sexual violence among the criteria for designation by the Sanctions Committee for individually targeted measures. (Sanctions were first imposed in on the DRC in 2004 and the sanctions regime had been modified and strengthened in nine subsequent resolutions. Key amongst these is resolution 1807 (2008), adopted in March 2008 (i.e. three months before the adoption of resolution 1820), whereby the Council extended sanctions to perpetrators of serious human rights abuses involving the targeting of women and children in armed conflict, including killing or maiming, sexual violence, abduction and forced displacement.) This is one of six criteria for designation by the Sanctions Committee.

Despite the existence of resolutions providing these new criteria and the abundant evidence of violations, designations have been rare and very slow. The list of individuals and entities under DRC sanctions was last updated on 3 March 2009. It is surprising that, of the 26 individuals or entities on the list, no party is listed for perpetrating sexual violence against women. Three of the 26 parties are listed for violations related to sexual violence, but these are in the context of recruiting and using child soldiers: Leopold Mujyambere (Commander of the Second Division of FOCA/FDLR), Pacifique Ntawunguka (Commander of the First Division of FOCA/FDLR) and Stanislas Nzeyimana (Deputy Commander of FOCA) have been listed for using child soldiers, with evidence that the girls recovered from their groups had been abducted and sexually abused.

The latest substantive report of the Group of Experts on the DRC to the Council (S/2009/603), submitted 23 November 2009 lists current FARDC (i.e. government troops) commanders, including those deployed on joint operations with MONUC, that the DRC Sanctions Committee’s Group of Experts had verified as having committed violations of human rights and humanitarian law. While the list is not exhaustive, of the 21 commanders listed four are cited to have either direct or command responsibility for sexual violence. They are: Colonel Mosala Jean Claude, Lieutenant Colonel Mahindule Wabo, Lieutenant Colonel Ndayambaje Kipanga and Major Pichen Lungu. To date none of these individuals have been added to the DRC sanctions list.

The Council has not authorised any other sanctions committee to use sexual violence against women or children as a specific criterion for designation. There is currently provision the Côte d’Ivoire Sanctions Committee to impose targeted measures against persons who are determined to be a threat to the peace and national reconciliation process in Côte d’Ivoire; and responsible for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. No individual or entity currently listed under the sanctions regime for Côte d’Ivoire is listed for serious violations of human rights or international law.

12.2 Commissions of Inquiry
The Council can request the Secretary-General to establish independent commissions of inquiry (COI) into events of concern regarding possible violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. In the past decade the Council has done this on a few occasions.

For example, in May 2004 it asked the Secretary-General to establish an international commission of inquiry to investigate all human rights violations committed in Côte d’Ivoire since 19 September 2002 and determine responsibility. (That report was submitted in December 2004 but never made public). A second case was Darfur (request made in September 2004, report issued in January 2005).

Protests by a pro-democracy movement against the military government of Guinea in late August and September 2009, culminated in an attack by the military on a peaceful pro-democracy rally in a sports stadium in the capital, Conakry. Several national and international human rights organisations confirmed at least 157 deaths, thousands injured and worryingly a significant number of public rapes by the military.

In the case of Guinea, the Council supported the Secretary-General’s decision to appoint a COI. The COI for Guinea was established on 16 October 2009, travelled to Guinea from 25 November to 4 December and the Secretary-General transmitted its final S/2009/693 to the Security Council on 18 December 2009. Two members of the three person COI panel were well-regarded female experts in the field of gender and justice (see sidebar). The speed of the COI’s work was impressive. The Council has yet to act on the Commission’s recommendations, mainly due to several significant developments in Guinea’s politics, including the appointment of the organiser of the 28 September 2009 demonstration as prime minister and the findings of a separate national COI, which recommended Guinean courts deal with the matter.

One of the key outstanding issues for the Council, in future situations where sexual violence or other violations against women is a factor, is how to act on the outcomes or recommendations of independent Commissions of Inquiry.

Composition of the Guinea Commission of Inquiry


12.3 Referrals to the ICC
A key legal instrument for the Security Council is to refer situations to the International Criminal Court (assuming the alleged offences have taken place since the Rome Statute came into force in July 2002) when domestic legal systems are incapable or otherwise unlikely to prosecute the crimes. There are currently four situations before the ICC: Sudan, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)/Uganda, DRC and CAR. Preliminary investigations are ongoing into the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007 and the Conakry stadium attack. The DRC cases were referred by the DRC government in 2003.

The Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, carried out a preliminary investigation into the 28 September 2009 events in Conakry, from 17-19 February 2010. She concluded her visit by stating that the killing of opposition supporters on 28 September 2009 and its aftermath constituted a crime against humanity and that the ICC could continue with its preliminary investigation.

Sexual violence features in all four country situations before the ICC. In three of the five cases against leaders of the LRA, including leader Joseph Kony and two of his co-accused, there are allegations of sexual enslavement, attempted sexual enslavement, rape and inducing of rape constituting war crimes.

One of the three cases in the situation in the DRC (incidents in Ituri from July 2002 to the end of 2003) involves sexual violence. The other two cases focus on the use of child soldiers. The trial of Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, which commenced on 24 November 2009, involves charges of sexual slavery as a crime against humanity and sexual slavery and rape as a war crime.

13. DRC Case Study: An Opportunity for Action?
The DRC is a situation which has proved particularly challenging for the Council—both as it has sought to develop unprecedented strategies to deal with gender issues, in particular sexual violence, but also because of its hesitation, at times, about taking decisive action and failure to use all available tools it had created.

The conflict in the DRC that began in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide has been ongoing. It has at different times pitted diverse rebel groups as well as various neighbouring countries’ forces against the government. Currently, the combatants most active and most deadly in the DRC are members the rebel group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), operating in the east of the country, though other areas are far from being conflict free, especially with the LRA having been active in the country since late 2008. Sexual violence has been rampant and widely used as a tactic of war.

Starting in 1999, the UN has deployed one of its largest and most costly peacekeeping operations. (At its peak in early 2010 the operation, then called MONUC, stood at over 20,000 military and police personnel with nearly 4,000 civilian staff and a cost of well over a billion dollars annually). In 2009, with the approaching fiftieth anniversary of the country’s independence, DRC President Joseph Kabila indicated that he wanted the UN to begin drawing down its operation by the time of the anniversary in June 2010. Addressing these wishes of the host country, on 28 May 2010 the Council in resolution 1925 terminated MONUC as of 1 July. It is now renamed the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC, or MONUSCO. Protection of civilians (and protection from sexual violence) was a top priority for MONUC and this continues in the MONUSCO mandate.

The scale of atrocities committed against women throughout the various stages of the conflict in eastern DRC cannot be overstated. The Council has been made aware of the situation through numerous briefings (including by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in consultations in May 2007, and civil society representatives in an Arria format in December 2008), and through numerous reports, including from the Secretary-General, the Council’s DRC Sanctions Committee Group of Experts, and other UN entities.

It is believed that over the past five years in some towns four out of five women have been raped. In 2009, two military campaigns, led by the Congolese army (FARDC) against FDLR in the east and LRA in the north, resulted in a dramatic increase in violence against civilians by all sides. The joint military operations conducted by Rwandan and Congolese military against the FDLR in 2009 were followed by deliberate and targeted retaliatory attacks by the FDLR on civilians. According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which provides assistance to survivors of sexual violence in the DRC, in the first seven months of 2009 at least 2,500 civilians were massacred, and an estimated 7,000 cases of sexual violence against women and girls were registered at health centres across North and South Kivu. UNFPA estimates over 8,000 women were raped in 2009 in the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu.

The attacks have continued in 2010. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, during the year’s first three months, 1,244 women were sexually assaulted throughout the country—an average of almost fourteen assaults each day.

A major atrocity took place over a four-day period from 30 July through 2 August when 200-400 armed men allegedly from FDLR and from the Mai Mai tribal militia raided some 13 villages in North Kivu Province’s Walikale region and committed mass rape. At press time, humanitarian sources were reporting that 303 rape survivors had been treated.

In addition to its gravity, this event seems an important case study in its own right demonstrating the failure of several mechanisms established by the Council specifically to prevent or mitigate atrocities of this kind:

  • The Council-established operation MONUSCO, whose top priority is protection of civilians, with particular emphasis on prevention of sexual violence, was deployed in the area but seems to have been unable to play any role in preventing, stopping or quickly investigating the abuse.
  • The mission failed to publicise the events for several weeks after they occurred. There are indications that MONUSCO elements knew of the presence of FDLR and likely attacks as early as 30 July. Rape victims started coming forward to medical centres for treatment from 5 August. In initial official statements, MONUSCO stated it was notified on 12 August. Yet first public reports did not emerge until the weekend of 21-22 August. The Council was officially informed of the events on 23 August through the UN media spokesman.
  • The events in the Walikale region could have been the first road test for the newly appointed and Council-mandated Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict. Margot Wallström was appointed to the job on 2 February and indicated she would make the DRC a top priority. She visited the country on her first field trip in April. Yet, according to her statement to the press on 31 August, she clearly failed in that mission to impress upon the actors in the field the relevance or utility of her role. The events were never communicated to her office and she first learned of them from the media. The fact that the senior UN official with a mandate on sexual violence was entirely out of the loop suggests a major failure at both ends.
  • The Council itself also learned about the events with considerable delay and via media on 22 August and statements made by the Secretary-General’s spokesman in response to questions from the media on 23 August. This is a worrying repeat of the way in which the Council was caught flat-footed and unsighted of events when major fighting broke out in the DRC in late 2008 and suggests that all the initiatives to improve oversight of peacekeeping that followed the 2008-2009 debacle are yet to yield fruit. The Secretary-General, who issued a statement condemning the rapes on 24 August, used the occasion of the 25 August Somalia debate to inform the Council of the events and the steps he was taking. On 26 August the Council issued a press statement in which it expressed outrage at the events and its desire for a briefing from an investigative mission being dispatched by the Secretary-General.
  • On 7 September, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Atul Khare briefed the Council on his investigative trip, which included travel to Kinshasa and the Walikale region. Khare outlined MONUSCO’s response to the attacks and plans to change its future approach. Khare said MONUSCO had failed in its mission to protect civilians and it must do better. Among specific recommendations he put forward, he urged the Council to use sanctions against perpetrators and/or their commanders. (Wallström also briefed the Council on 7 September.)
  • On 17 September the Council adopted a presidential statement in response to Khare’s briefing. The Council noted DPKO’s recommendations and reiterated its support for Wallström’s office, requesting a briefing from her following her upcoming trip to the DRC.
  • The DRC has probably been the country-specific situation where the Council has paid most attention to gender-based violence in the past few years.
  • Since 2007 almost all its resolutions (nine out of 11) had references to women, peace and security, focused on the issue of sexual violence;
  • DRC is the only situation where the Secretary-General’s reports consistently include a separate section on sexual violence; and
  • Nearly three months before adopting resolution 1820, in its March 2008 resolution 1807 on sanctions in the DRC, the Council added acts of sexual violence to the criteria for imposing individually targeted sanctions.

In principle, the Council seems to have done all the right things to address a known risk and, along with establishing the mandate of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, had given itself a full range of tools. But the results are disappointing.

An explanation may lay in the phenomenon identified above when analysing the overall Council approach to women, peace and security, which is the lack of consistent and coordinated leadership and focused attention to this issue—exacerbated by the way many delegations structure their policy input on this issue, separating gender issues from country-specific concerns or related thematic issues such as protection of civilians. Council attention seems to go in and out of focus.

Another example of this phenomenon can be seen in the context of the Council mission to the DRC in 2009. The Council adopted a series of resolutions highlighting sexual violence in the DRC. But when it went to the DRC in 2009, it initially had no specific plans to address the issue. It was only after visiting rape victims in a Goma hospital that members on the spot decided to raise five cases of alleged perpetrators still within the country’s military command structures with the country’s top leaders the next day in Kinshasa.

Another such indicator can be seen in the fact that, although the Council, in 2008 in a groundbreaking move, had added sexual violence in the DRC as a criterion for individually targeted sanctions, more than two years later and despite its Group of Experts having identified names of several individuals who had committed sexual crimes in its reports, only four individuals had been added to the list and these were added under another criterion, primarily because they had simultaneously also recruited child soldiers.

Another indicator of attention and focus can be seen in terms of the Council’s interactions with Special Representatives. In 2006, the Council had signalled its desire to have dialogues with all the newly appointed Special Representatives. After the difficulties in 2008-2009 then Special Representative Alan Doss copped a great deal of informal criticism. Recent events suggest that his successor Roger Meece is also struggling to establish leadership. Yet the Council missed a critical opportunity in mid-2010 to impress strongly its sense of priorities on the newly appointed Meece who spent several days at UN Headquarters prior to deploying. The Council as a whole did not meet him during his time in New York and missed the opportunity to sensitise him to the complex gender violence issues and to the fact that the matter was a top priority for the Council.

There are indications that when the Council does show resolve, results follow. After bringing up the five names with the Kinshasa authorities in 2009, all five were relieved of their posts and most were arrested. A few weeks later, President Kabila announced a zero tolerance policy on sexual violence. When the Council visited Kinshasa in May 2010, it was informed that judicial proceedings had been initiated against three of the five, including a general, who had been arrested and was being held in Kinshasa central prison and that trials in absentia were being considered for two officers, who had absconded. Given the scale of the problem, sending the right messages on a consistent basis seems essential. Sustained attention and persistence on the part of the Council could probably produce more results. But important changes to Council working methods may be necessary to achieve this.

14. Council Dynamics

Past DynamicCurrent Dynamic

14.1 Past Dynamic

Elected Council members have played a prominent role in driving the dynamics on women, peace and security within the Council, often leading on the specific language in the different thematic decisions as well as promoting initiatives on how gender perspectives would be considered in country-specific situations. As a result the overall Council dynamics on this issue have varied considerably depending upon the composition of the Council. A range of elected members, including both ‘champions’ and ‘spoilers’, have often determined the extent to which in practice this issue has been reflected in Council decisions. It has been noted by many within and outside the Council that women, peace and security has at times suffered through lack of a consistent ‘champion’.

The P5 have also played a key role. As noted in the section on the history of resolution 1325 there was resistance at the outset from all five permanent members about the idea of women, peace and security becoming a separate agenda item amongst a range of increasing thematic agendas. Women, peace and security was considered a ‘soft’ topic, without the action-oriented focus of related themes of preventing the recruitment of child soldiers and protection of civilian populations in armed conflict.

Russia and China raised procedural objections, saying that they were supportive of the concept in general, but that gender equality was not the business of the Security Council. Rather it should be dealt with by other UN organs, such ECOSOC or the General Assembly. In the end, however, they supported the adoption of resolution 1325. But both Russia and China subsequently emphasised that the role of national authorities should take prominence in follow-up and implementation of the resolution—perhaps with support from UN funds and programmes. In addition the Russian and Chinese delegations have been vigilant about ensuring that all language proposed with regard to women, peace and security was directly relevant to the Council’s mandate. Both delegations preferred that language on this thematic issue stayed in thematic resolutions and did not enter into country-specific decisions.

In the early years the US delegation also took a conservative approach to references to women, peace and security. The US delegation started to pay closer attention to the gender dimension of conflicts from around 2006, particularly in light of the emerging reports of violence against women in Darfur, Sudan.

The UK and France were quicker to warm to resolution 1325. This was evident in the innovative approach taken by the UK president of the Council in July 2002 to host a genuinely interactive open debate to discuss the preliminary outcomes of the first Secretary-General’s report on the impact of armed conflict on women. The UK was also the first Council president to get the Council to agree to a representative of a women’s NGO addressing the Council at a formal meeting on this topic in October 2004. The commitment from the UK, supported by elected members including Cameroon, Chile, Guinea and Mexico resulted in an increase in 2003 of references in Council decisions to women, peace and security elements. From 2003 more and more resolutions saw references to the ‘importance of a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations and post-conflict peace-building’. From 2003 it became practice to include such language when new peace operation mandates were established.

After 2003, as the atmosphere in the Council became more tense and as the composition of the Council shifted, it seems that it became harder to garner the political will to discuss women, peace and security across the Council agenda and this in turn resulted in a focus only on the annual ‘anniversary’ debate. This probably contributed to the decrease in references to women in relevant resolutions after 2003, outside resolutions launching new peace operation mandates. The reduction in political will was reinforced by a series of Secretary-General’s reports on the subject that focused on bureaucratic aspects rather than the relevance of the theme to specific situations on the Council agenda.

In 2005, the fifth anniversary of 1325 saw a flurry of ‘anniversary’ activities. For example, the World Summit outcome document reinforced the importance of implementing 1325. However, in the Council the fifth anniversary saw no significant change to Council dynamics.

By 2006 the Council had settled into a relatively comfortable low key approach to women, peace and security. New mandates included language on the importance of ‘mainstreaming gender’ across all aspects of the mandate and a few lines about the importance of protecting women (and children, usually in terms of ‘and other vulnerable groups’). Occasionally the Council responded to particular points highlighted in Secretary-General’s reports on specific country situations, usually prompted by particularly serious gender-based violence. But, on the whole, in resolutions it was seen as sufficient to have a preambular reference, plus a ‘gender paragraph’ as the full extent of gender references. These paragraphs became standard language and were rarely negotiated at length.

Discussions leading up to each year’s annual resolution 1325 open debate was usually led by ‘gender experts’, often from the missions’ delegations to the Third Committee of the General Assembly. These delegates would usually negotiate the annual presidential statement on women, peace and security in response to the annual Secretary-General’s report on the Secretariat’s implementation of 1325. This allocation of duties seemed to result in a ‘split-personality’ approach by the Council to women, peace and security, whereby on one day the Council might put out a well-informed thematic statement on the importance of women’s participation in the full range of peace activities, followed the next day by a resolution or presidential statement on a closely related thematic topic (for example the UN’s role in mediation) without a single reference to women’s participation.

Through this period, the UK and France became steadily more supportive of including language on women in country-specific and thematic resolutions. While their preferred approach was for an elected member to raise the topic in negotiations, once raised both would support including the reference. If an elected member did not raise gender language in relevant situations, then the UK or France would often do so.

While the Council was not particularly engaged on women, peace and security prior to 2007 that is not to say that there were no champions of resolution 1325 during these years. Argentina and Denmark were both strongly committed advocates for gender issues during their time on the Council in 2005-2006, actively seeking to introduce more specific language on women into country-specific resolutions. Other supporters in preceding years included Japan, Ireland, Norway, Singapore, Colombia, Cameroon, Mexico, Guinea, Chile and Tanzania.

Ongoing reluctance came from the US, Russia and China. However, it was rare that this resistance from permanent members came in isolation. Often countries such as Qatar (2006-2007) took the lead on questioning the relevance of references to women, peace and security—which was then backed by some of the P5. While Western and Latin countries consistently raised the importance of including resolution 1325 references, these efforts were most likely to succeed when they had the backing of a member of another group, in particular Africa. Ghana, during its membership in 2006-2007, was often supportive of mentioning resolution 1325. We should note that Ghana continued to be active on this issue after it left the Council, working closely with UNIFEM on determining good practices on the implementation of resolution 1325 in West Africa.

The dynamics began to shift rather more in 2007. There was an increase in the number of references to women, peace and security in Council decisions. Elected members at the time, Italy and Belgium took a lead. Especially important was the support of South Africa, bolstering the ongoing efforts of Ghana. Support from a broad range of geographic groups seemed to have a significant effect on softening opposition by Russia and China. Language which had been suggested before, but defeated, from 2007 stayed in resolutions.

South Africa had also made a point of raising this issue during its Council presidency in March 2007 and proposed a rare ‘non-October’ presidential statement on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

However, efforts to include language on women, peace and security in specific situations continued to be controversial. Often suggested language was toned down during negotiations, even when the situation outlined by the Secretary-General in his reports suggested such references were highly relevant. An example was the negotiation on the mandate of UNMIN in Nepal in January 2007. The Secretary-General’s S/2007/7 had estimated that 40 percent of combatants in the Maoist Army were women. It was therefore reasonable that a gender perspective would be particularly relevant in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with respect to the demobilisation and reintegration of the Maoist Army into the Nepal National Army. Following lengthy negotiations on the language in the UNMIN mandate, the final resolution only made a passing reference in the preambular section to recognising the need to pay special attention to the needs of women and children in the peace process as mentioned in the CPA and resolution 1325. There was no mention of female combatants in the resolution (nor its subsequent renewals). Council members who participated in these negotiations observed that highlighting the issue of minors in the Maoist Army had been of much greater concern to Council members than women.

It is interesting to contrast the strong constituency within the Council during the same period for addressing the issue of children and armed conflict (exemplified by the formation of the working group on children and armed conflict in 2005) with the relative lack of support for gender issues.

Starting in 2007, the US shifted ground somewhat, taking a strong interest in the issue of sexual violence in conflict. In 2008 the US led negotiations to adopt what became resolution 1820, condemning the use of sexual violence against civilians as a tactic of war. The UK and France worked closely with the US on this initiative. But the negotiations on this resolution highlighted a divide in the Council’s approach to implementing resolution 1325.

On the whole Council members supported the adoption of resolution 1820. There was, however, resistance to dividing resolution 1325 into constituent parts, by adopting a resolution that focused on only one aspect—protection of women against sexual violence. Russia, in particular, was reluctant to divide the protection of women’s agenda into a single focus on sexual violence, rather than taking into account the full range of threats to women in conflict, which also included targeted killings or maiming. China considered that while sexual violence in conflict was of great concern, it was largely an issue for national authorities to handle. During the negotiations on 1820, the format of the Council’s decision on this issue also became an issue. Russia and China argued that a presidential statement would be sufficient.

Also controversial was the proposal for a process to permit more systematic oversight by the Council of the issue of sexual violence, similar to the working group on children and armed conflict. This was not supported by Russia, China, Indonesia or Viet Nam. Others, such as Costa Rica, wanted the Council to focus more on highlighting existing legal mechanisms, such as the role of the ICC. Yet others felt that the Council should more directly indicate its willingness to adopt sanctions against perpetrators. All members agreed, however, that making a link between sexual violence and women’s participation in peace processes was a priority.

The dynamic within a delegation and the allocation of duties between officers sometimes seems to be an important aspect which affects the overall dynamics. As mentioned above, in some delegations the officer responsible for gender issues is also responsible for human rights issues, covering Third Committee in the General Assembly rather than being part of the formal Council team within the mission. The impact of this tends to be less pronounced in smaller delegations but in larger ones this allocation of duties appears to affect how much attention is paid to the thematic issue of women, peace and security when addressing specific situations.

A less exaggerated divide can also occur when one officer is responsible for several thematic issues, such as women, peace and security; children and armed conflict; protection of civilians; and peacekeeping policy. While the thematic issues have significant overlaps and it makes sense to deal with them under one portfolio, this poses a challenge integrating thematic considerations into country-situation decisions.

The officer with gender in their portfolio must deliberately focus on informing their colleagues in the Security Council team on the relevance of considering gender issues in their country situations. It appears that country-specific officers at times forget to seek out this information on their own initiative. The impact of this is mitigated in delegations where officers have a balance of thematic and geographic issues in their portfolios. Political Coordinators within missions are not always involved in this aspect of internal coordination because in some cases the officer dealing with gender issues reports to the economic and social coordinator in the mission. Relatively junior officers in delegations sometimes end up being at odds with senior members of delegations, with varying degrees of success. The lack of senior leadership on this issue may also explain the difficulty of consistently including gender issues in terms of reference for and reports from Council missions as these are often determined at ambassador-level.

14.2 Current Dynamic
Over the past two years the Council has been much more active on the thematic issue of women, peace and security. This activity has flowed also much more into the consideration of country-situations. There are currently few situations on the Council agenda that do not have specific language on women, peace and security in their mandate resolutions.

The US continues to be the lead country on sexual violence in conflict and is likely to take up this issue again during its presidency in December 2010, when the second Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of 1820 is due. The UK is the lead country on women, peace and security overall. Uganda, as the Council president in October, will preside over the tenth anniversary open debate and is also very supportive. Uganda will lead negotiations on an outcome for the October debate that will take action on the two Secretary-General’s reports requested in resolution 1889: an update on the implementation of 1325 (including a set of global indicators to track its implementation) and women and peacebuilding.

Russia and China are now much more supportive of 1325. They remain concerned that references in country-specific situations are not included as ‘token’ efforts but are considered on a case-by-case basis for relevance. Both emphasise that there are no longer significant differences between Council members on this topic.

Current elected members Austria, Mexico, Turkey and Japan are all very active on women, peace and security. Austria has folded this issue into its broader focus on rule of law and protection of civilians. Austria hosted a retreat at Alpbach, 4-5 September 2010, where Council members, UN Secretariat and civil society discussed protection issues, focusing on the Council’s role with regard to implementing resolution 1325. Japan’s peace and security priorities are on peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery and it considers gender considerations key to these areas.

However, overall, in country-specific negotiations, there is still a tendency within the Council country-specific experts, sometimes to see gender references as ‘clip-ons’ rather than elements integrated into a resolution with a range of other issues. Sometimes this results in the final stages of a negotiation in gender references being pared back or deleted to ensure a ‘balanced’ text.

The current negotiations on Council action on a set of indicators to track implementation of resolution 1325 prepared by the Secretariat in response to resolution 1889 is focusing Council attention on its specific role in implementing resolution 1325. The Council is expected to take action on the indicators in October. (Please see our October Monthly Forecast for further detail of the specific dynamics in these negotiations.)

Impact of 1325: a Snapshot of Women in Peacekeeping


15. How Successful Has the Security Council Been in Making Women, Peace and Security a Cross-Cutting Issue?
There has been a significant increase in Council activity on women, peace and security in the last several years, including an increase in references to gender across the Council agenda. Despite these developments, it appears that the issue is still not yet fully ‘mainstreamed’ in the Council agenda. There has been erratic leadership within the Council and often limited priority is given to this issue by the senior levels of delegations. There seems to be a continuing level of scepticism—especially among those who do not work specifically on the gender portfolio—as to whether this issue is really relevant. The scepticism tends to be particularly pronounced with regards to the relevance of women’s participation, such as their inclusion in peace processes (as opposed to the importance of protection issues).

When new Council members join the Council, or when new experts arrive in permanent delegations, there often tends to be a need for a renewed learning process as to why mainstreaming women, peace and security in a cross-cutting way into the various portfolios of country-specific issues is important.

16. The 2010 Anniversary and Related Events
As a result of requests for Secretary-General’s reports in resolutions 1888 and 1889, as well as the request in a 2007 presidential statement, the Council was expecting a total of five Secretary-General’s reports on women, peace and security by the end of 2010.

There have been or are expected a significant number of events involving Council members to mark the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325. It remains to be seen whether the Council will fatigue of this issue, or to the contrary, whether the anniversary will generate fresh energy and renewed commitment.

There are some strong supporters of women, peace and security on the current Council. Given the influence of elected members on the dynamic of this issue, many are also looking to next year’s Council for potential champions.

Much of the future dynamics within the Council on this issue will depend on the approach the Council takes in October towards the indicators. There is an opportunity for the Council to take some decisions to adjust its working methods so as to be more effective on this issue and to ensure a more systematic approach to considering it across the Council’s agenda. Many on the Council want to apply lessons from the Council’s handling of children and armed conflict. Many agree that a more determined approach to leadership within the Council on the issue is required to overcome the inevitable backsliding that comes from regular membership changes.

The Council has asked for significantly more detailed information from the UN system on instances of sexual violence. It now has an interlocutor on the issue following the appointment in early 2010 of Margot Wallström as Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict. The next few years will prove if there is willingness in the Council to follow up on the language of resolution 1888 and consider applying sanctions to known perpetrators of sexual violence. The Council’s response to the latest incidents of sexual violence in the DRC will be a key test in the immediate future.

The Council will also be closely following the set-up of a new UN gender entity—UN Women—in January 2011. The Council has already signalled its readiness to consider reviewing the mandate of the Special Representative for Sexual Violence and Conflict after two years in light of the functions of UN Women because it is widely acknowledged that it will be several years before UN Women is properly established and can play all the envisaged roles. Currently the Council benefits greatly, in its consideration of children and armed conflict, from the information it receives from the range of UN actors in the field covering the issue, including UNICEF and UNDP, and their relationship with the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. It is less clear at this stage how UN Women will work in the field or act in a similar way as a point of coordination on women, peace and security issues. It is likely that UN Women will never have the resources or reach of UNICEF.

Institutional and financial support for the Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict is also an issue. Currently it is supported by the coalition of UN actors that form UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict. Funding for the position will be considered by the General Assembly. It remains possible that the position will be funded through voluntary contributions (as was the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict at the outset). Consideration in the General Assembly may be complicated by the fact that the Security Council, rather than the General Assembly, requested the Secretary-General to establish the position (unlike the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict which was requested by the General Assembly). Ahead of General Assembly budgetary approval, Wallström’s office is under-staffed and her capacity is limited.

The relationship between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Council with regard to women, peace and security is also an issue. Resolution 1889, and its request for a specific report from the Secretary-General on women and peacebuilding, seemed an effort to involve the PBC more on this issue. While the PBC is able to discuss specific country situations in significantly more detail and with a much wider scope than the Council, its current strict geographic scope and limited working methods to coordinate with the Council will limit its impact on this issue.


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