Women in countries affected by past or ongoing conflict today concluded a week of events organized by the United Nations to explore ways of strengthening women’s participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
The “Global Open Days for Women and Peace,” organized by several UN agencies and departments, were intended to raise awareness and take stock of progress made since the Security Council passed a landmark resolution 10 years ago that put women’s experiences of conflict on the international peace and security agenda.
The resolution, whose 10th anniversary will be marked in October, also drew attention to the impact of conflict on women and called for their engagement in ending conflict and in efforts to ensure peace prevails.
“This anniversary is an opportunity to reaffirm the core message of the landmark text: sustainable peace is possible only with women’s full participation – their perspectives, their leadership, their daily, equal presence wherever we seek to make and keep the peace,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message to mark the Open Days.
Recommendations made during the Open Days will be forwarded to the Security Council ahead of its October meeting, which will review implementation of the resolution.
The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), one of the co-organizers of the Open Days noted that while some progress has been made in the past decade, gaps in implementation of the resolution remain.
Highlighting the progress that had been Mr. Ban said that in many post-conflict countries, the number of women in government has increased.
“Within the UN itself, there are now eight women Special Representatives and Deputy Special Representatives; Bangladesh and India have deployed all-female UN police units to peacekeeping operations; and UN Police have developed strategies and measures to better protect women from violence.
“But the gaps remain significant: too few women participate in peacemaking and peacebuilding, and we have seen a disturbing escalation in levels of sexual violence during and after conflict,” the Secretary-General added.
UNIFEM cited studies that indicated that in 24 peace processes over the past two decades, women formed less than 8 per cent of negotiating teams. There is also a lack of funding for women's needs in post-conflict recovery plans, according to UNIFEM, as well as high levels of sexual violence in conflicts.
“In a sample of 300 peace agreements signed since the end of the Cold War, only 18 include a mention of sexual and gender-based violence,” it added.
Countries where open Open Day events have been held include Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Nepal, Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In the coming weeks Open Days will be held in Afghanistan, Haiti, Pakistan, Iraq, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Burundi, among others.