18-19 MAY 2022 Geneva, Switzerland
We, the representatives of Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Uruguay, as well as of the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Economic Community of West African States, the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), have come together in Geneva, Switzerland on 18 and 19 May 2022, for the fourth capital-level meeting of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Focal Points Network, hosted by Switzerland and South Africa as 2022 Co-Chairs of the Network, in close collaboration with UN Women as the Secretariat of the Network, and with the participation of women human rights defenders and civil society organizations working at global, regional, national and local level.
We reaffirm, as highlighted in the Technical Operative Guidelines of the Network, that civil society and local organizations are critical partners and welcome their substantive contributions to meeting deliberations.
We welcome the theme of the meeting, Partnering for Change: Translating the Women, Peace and Security Agenda into Action, with the recognition that responding to conflict and crisis situations requires sustained and impactful measures to implement the existing normative framework on women, peace and security.
We note with concern, current and escalating conflicts and crises taking place around the globe and reaffirm our commitment to take action to ensure women’s full, equal and meaningful leadership, participation and representation in all peace and security and humanitarian processes.
Women’s Participation in Peace Processes
1. An integrative and inclusive peace leadership approach which means working together, valuing and using diverse expertise, experiences, roles, views and contributions of all persons for peace. We recognize that the full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership of women will remain stalled as long as political power is seen as a zero-sum game – gains made by women are regarded as equivalent to losses for men. There is need for societies to reflect on their understanding of gender and how it informs and strengthens all stages of peace processes, and for governments to implement gender policies at all levels as a long-term strategy to address the participation of women in decision-making positions in peace processes.
2. Building on use of mechanisms, including quotas and targets, as appropriate, by some member states, for promoting the equal participation and representation of men and women in negotiation teams. This can ensure that women are included in official negotiation and mediation processes through use of selection criteria. Quotas and targets should be employed alongside other relevant instruments such as capacity building and mentoring opportunities. Third parties should lead by example and gain credibility by modeling diversity in their own delegations, which also enhances their effectiveness.
3. International and regional third parties, both formal and informal, to listen to and collectively work with diverse local actors – before, during and after formal negotiations to address specific context and cultural challenges to the inclusion of women in peace processes. Third parties should foster consensus among civil society actors, particularly women’s rights organizations and women’s mediator networks, on societal issues and priorities in order to strengthen civil society impact in negotiations.
Protection of Women’s Rights and Recognizing Women’s Agency
4. Addressing the gendered impacts of the trafficking in and illicit use of small arms and light weapons (SALW) at the local level. We recognize that this involves supporting women’s agency at the community level, mapping the flow of SALW, identifying geographical gaps in service provision, improving state-civil society collaboration and providing technical and political capacity building on regulation of SALW for women’s local organizations and WPS focal points. Where necessary, national authorities should ensure that WPS focal points are mandated and have adequate resources to engage meaningfully with local organizations.
5. Fostering collaboration between experts on WPS and SALW to incorporate gender equality in national action plans (NAPs), policies and strategies on SALW that recognizes the different impacts of firearms on women, men, girls and boys, and to include gender-specific indicators. Experts on SALW should be encouraged to provide technical input into WPS NAPs.
6. Strengthening firearms-related legislation and compliance mechanisms as necessary to prevent the trafficking in and the illicit use of firearms, which can enable gender-based violence (GBV), including domestic and family violence. We recognize the utility of greater transparency on the part of arms-exporting states with respect to the conduct of GBV risk assessments in arms export decisions.
WPS National Action Plans – Responding to Conflict and Crisis Situations
7. Creating gender-specific linkages between WPS national action plans (NAPs) and other national plans and strategies. We recognize the utility of context-specific and tailored WPS NAPs that go beyond the absence of conflict and the need to establish synergy with plans and strategies that address emergency and humanitarian response, refugees and internally displaced persons, climate change, youth, peace and security, countering all forms of extremism and radicalization, issues of trafficking, the gendered impacts of SALW, and gender-responsive early-warning systems.
8. Strengthening WPS national action plan accountability mechanisms to include more robust and systemic approaches to monitoring and reporting with appropriate allocation of financial and human resources. Where relevant, NAP indicators should incorporate indicators developed by regional organizations and where applicable, build synergy with the CEDAW monitoring mechanism and General Recommendation 30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations (CEDAW/C/GC/30). We also recognize the need to strengthen the roles and capacities of CSOs in monitoring NAP impacts at village, local, provincial and national levels.
9. Sustaining civil society involvement throughout the life cycle of a WPS national action plan. We discussed the importance of building bridges between governments and civil society organizations and codifying civil society representation in NAP committees. Youth representatives, including young women, should be supported to engage in WPS NAP development and implementation processes and to create linkages between women, peace and security and youth, peace and security.
Network members reaffirmed their commitment to continue sharing best practices and lessons learned on these and other women, peace and security issues and urged other Member States and regional organizations to join the Network.
For years, UN Women has highlighted the persistent under-investment in gender-inclusive peace in conflict and post-conflict settings and the significant gaps in financing that make the implementation of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) commitments much more difficult. However, there is a dearth of data on the size of this gap, and how exactly the pledges and promises from donor conferences, peace agreements or post-conflict planning frameworks dissipate when it comes to allocating and spending resources on these issues.
The Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA) Compact, a transformative initiative to see results on decades of commitments, was launched on July 2, 2021 at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris. The Compact – the product of a consensus-driven process including Member States, Regional Organizations, UN Entities, Civil Society, the Private Sector, and Academia – is an inter-generational, inclusive movement for action on women, peace and security and gender equality in humanitarian action.
6-9 June 2023, Washington, D.C.
We, the Members of the Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network, the “WPS Focal Points Network”, representing Argentina, Armenia Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Côte, d’Ivoire, Croatia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), European Union (EU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organisation for Security and Co- operation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization of American States (OAS) present in Washington, D.C., United States of America from 6 to 9 June 2023 for the 5th Capital-Level Meeting of the Network, hosted by the United States of America and Romania as the 2023 Co-Chairs of the Network, in partnership with UN Women as the Secretariat of the Network, and with the additional participation of women peacebuilders, parliamentarians and legislators from 29 countries;
Welcome the meeting theme on “Advancing the adaptability and evolution of WPS as a framework for implementing policy change” with the 2023 Co-Chair priorities to 1) Advance the shared solidarity and expectations of the national Focal Points through developing the role and responsibilities of WPS Focal Points; 2) Adjust WPS efforts and actions to meet global requirements through a national focus on WPS and continued support for WPS National Action Plan (NAP) implementation through resource-sharing and training; and 3) Increase/improve the adaptability and evolution of WPS to advance an inclusive approach and address intersectional power dynamics including through engaging with the expertise of Network members and Focal Points for coordinating on existing and future WPS Centers of Excellence;
Welcome the growth of the Network to 100 members, making this the largest cross-regional forum of UN Member States and regional organizations sharing experiences, good practices and solidarity to advance action to implement all ten Security Council resolutions on WPS, in partnership with civil society, academia, the private sector, parliamentarians, and local women’s rights organizations;
Welcome the affirmation of the Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) at their 2023 annual summit in Hiroshima to “commit to advancing, implementing and strengthening the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda including its application to disaster risk reduction (DRR), through partnership with the WPS Focal Points Network and support for National Action Plan development, and to promote intersectional approaches.”
Reaffirm the centrality of the WPS agenda and diverse women’s leadership to international and national peace and security and the prevention and resolution of wars and conflicts, as inter- and intra- state armed conflicts, humanitarian crises, gender-based violence, food insecurity, climate-related disasters and pandemics continue to have disproportionate impacts on women, girls, marginalized communities, and populations in vulnerable situations across regions;
Condemn the rollback on women’s human rights across the world, including related to the restriction of women’s freedom of movement and their ability to participate fully in peace processes, the perpetration of gender-based violence and reprisals against women, and limited accountability and inadequate access to justice for these acts;
Affirm that WPS NAPs and relevant human rights legislation and strategies are integral to WPS implementation, and congratulate the 107 UN Member States and territories that have adopted NAPs and their ongoing efforts to keep their NAPs current;
Welcome the engagement during this meeting with parliamentarians and legislators and take note of discussions to further strengthen WPS implementation through increased collaboration with WPS Focal Points and WPS leads, experts, policymakers, civil society leaders, and diverse sectors, to consider tools such as legislation where appropriate, WPS budgets, and robust monitoring and reporting processes;
Commit to implementing previous WPS Focal Points Network meeting communiqués and recommendations, as relevant, and highlight the following:
The Role and Responsibilities of WPS Focal Points
Recognizing that the role of a WPS Focal Point is understood, titled and defined differently in various contexts, and considering calls for the need for guidance that outlines the range of roles and responsibilities of WPS Focal Points, and which draws from the practices and experiences of Network members, we recommend:
- the development of a guidance document for the Network that outlines skills, qualifications, mandates, tasks and resources to inform the role of a WPS focal point to support increased coordination and monitoring on WPS within governments and organizations, bolster NAP adoption and implementation, and where relevant, WPS strategies and CEDAW General recommendation no. 30, to advance the global WPS agenda;
- the provision of comprehensive support from Member States and Regional Organizations to their respective WPS Focal Point or WPS lead, including human and financial resources to carry out their roles and responsibilities, such as targeted training and capacity building initiatives to effectively support implementation of WPS normative frameworks, policies and initiatives;
- support the institutionalization of the WPS Focal Point role within Member States and Regional Organizations and to ensure that WPS Focal Point responsibilities enable and support coordination of a whole-of-government approach, in partnership with civil society and local leaders and women’s rights organizations, and the application of WPS in ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ security interventions and peace processes.
National Action Plan Implementation
Recognizing that National Action Plan adoption does not always result in transformative WPS implementation, and noting the need for targeted action and resources for more effective implementation, we recommend:
- that parliamentarians and policymakers advocate for and support the full implementation of the WPS agenda to promote inclusive and comprehensive approaches to peace and security, nationally and internationally, and to promote monitoring and reporting across government, WPS capacity strengthening, and adequate financing for WPS NAPs, policies, and initiatives;
- that civil society, including but not limited to women with disabilities, young women, Indigenous women, religious leaders, and the media, is recognized as critical partners in coordinating, developing, implementing and monitoring WPS NAPs, and that localization is seen as a critical strategy to implement the WPS agenda and to address the needs and to promote the rights of local women peacebuilders and members of local communities, ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion;
- that the structure of NAPs and funding mechanisms remain flexible to respond to crises and emerging issues, where relevant, including those related to climate change, cybersecurity, technological advancement and accessibility, trafficking, preventing and countering violent extremism (PVE/CVE), pandemics and health emergencies, food and economic insecurity, and space security, and that aligning NAPs and integrating the WPS agenda with other plans and policies and human rights instruments, is critical to comprehensively address the interconnected challenges to peace and security, to avoid duplication of efforts and support partnerships, and to enable cost-sharing.
WPS Sustainability & WPS Centers of Excellence
Noting that this year will mark the 23rd anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) (2000) and taking note of the prevailing need to strengthen political will to match WPS normative commitments with sustained action, as well as to expand the knowledge and evidence base on WPS to address current challenges and coordinate with existing efforts to enact transformative change through knowledge-sharing efforts such as WPS centers of excellence, we recommend:
- increased focus on the prevention pillar of UNSCR 1325 and the underlying causes of conflict, violence, and discrimination, and investment in arms control, non- proliferation and disarmament and a range of human security interventions such as access to quality and safe education for all women and girls, creating economic opportunities for women and championing gender equality and women’s leadership in all sectors of society, fostering social inclusion, preventing and responding to gender-based violence, and protecting and promoting women’s and girls’ human rights;
- adequate financial allocations, including, where appropriate and subject to the availability of funds, dedicated budgets for government ministries, departments, and agencies to implement the WPS agenda, and the provision of flexible, long-term financing to women peacebuilders and civil society organizations working on WPS, particularly those that are women-led;
- a context-specific regional and multi-sectoral approach to facilitate the easy access and availability of cutting edge and practical WPS knowledge products and research, technical expertise, and resources to advance WPS efforts, in collaboration with existing initiatives, mechanisms, knowledge/research centers, and further exploring engagement with existing and future WPS centers of excellence, to ensure sustainability of the WPS agenda by addressing diverse issues and engaging expertise from a variety of sectors and actors.
We urge Member States and regional organizations, who have not yet done so, to adopt and implement WPS action plans and strategies, and to join the WPS Focal Points Network.
Strengthening women’s participation in peace processes: What roles and responsibilities for states?
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) organized an international seminar on Strengthening Women’s Participation in Peace Processes: What Roles and Responsibilities for States? in Rome, Italy, on 3 to 4 December 2019.
Building on Italy’s goal to strengthen the role of women in peace processes and in all decision-making processes as formalized in its Third National Action Plan on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000); its spearheading of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network (MWMN); as well as its active facilitation of women’s participation in peace and political processes across the Mediterranean region, the high-level seminar examined the role of Member States in advancing the full and effective participation of women in mediation and peace processes.