In light of the 20th anniversary of UN resolution 1325 on women and peace and security and in preparation for the UN Security Council Open Debate week, Cordaid and the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS) are jointly launching a series of virtual dialogues showcasing good practices and inspiring examples for the WPS Agenda.
We aim to encourage activists, policy makers and donors to continue or renew their commitment to the WPS agenda, and to accelerate action towards full implementation of the WPS agenda. After 20 years, we have seen progress on the implementation of women’s involvement in peace and security issues, with increased attention for women’s specific roles and needs in diverse conflict-affected settings. However, discussions on the WPS agenda often take place in isolation and implementation is still lagging behind. In moving forward, we must ensure to embark upon a more inclusive and participatory process. The 20th anniversary of the WPS agenda provides an opportunity to look back at previous efforts and set the stage for renewed commitment for action.
Key Voices for Lasting Change will provide a dialogue space for sharing valuable input by women’s (rights) activists and for showing the diversity of the WPS agenda. While UNSC resolution 1325 and its subsequent resolutions show a general and shared commitment on the part of member states towards the WPS agenda, the implementation of this agenda takes various forms. Attention to the specificities of local contexts helps to increase our awareness of the diverse roles that women fulfil in societies, especially in fragile contexts. We believe that the WPS agenda should be inclusive, transformative, and women-led. By providing a space to listen to key voices share how to shape the WPS agenda moving forward, the Key Voices for Lasting Change series offers an opportunity to learn and to develop our sensitivity and contextual understanding, allowing us to contribute to lasting change and move from resolutions to implementation on the ground. Ultimately, any effort towards change should always refer to and originate at the local level.
Monday 19 October – 9h EST / 15h CET
Youth-led activism for Women, Peace and Security: Looking for a paradigm shift
Young people across the world play a crucial role in peace and development, and particularly in achieving the WPS agenda. Young women and men are leaders in promoting gender equality, women’s and human rights, and standing up for oppressed and marginalized groups.
In this session, we will engage young women and men from Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen on the intersection between UNSC Resolutions 1325 and 2250 and the need for gender-responsive approaches to peace building. The young activists will share inspiring stories and examples of their work and explain how the YPS and the WPS agenda can mutually reinforce each other.
In partnership with: Cordaid, CSPPS, UNOY Peace builders, TWBI, APT, YWBOD, KRA and NJR
Tuesday 20 October – 9h EST / 15h CET
Call to action: Reflections, hopes, and challenges from women’s activists on the implementation of the WPS agenda
After 20 years, Cordaid, WIPC, and others warn that the WPS Agenda is losing its feminist conceptions of positive peace, softening from advocating for making armed conflict illegal to trying to make wars safer for women. There is growing concern that UNSCR 1325 is no longer a sufficient framework to ensure women’s participation and leadership.
This session will present research by WIPC on the evolution of the WPS agenda, the nature of pushbacks (in particular the shrinking civic space) against the feminist goals of WPS, and opportunities to rethink and strengthen the WPS agenda in sustainable ways. Additionally, we will bring in experiences and challenges women face in implementing the WPS agenda in Somalia – where women lack the space and opportunity to make real progress towards the agenda’s goals.
In partnership with: WIPC, IIDA Women’s Development Organization, and African Union
Wednesday 21 October – 9h EST / 15h CET
The WPS agenda and political participation: Challenges and best practices from Burundi, CAR, and Guinea Bissau
With Burundi and Guinea Bissau having just conducted elections, and CAR holding elections later this year, the three countries are facing similar issues – the questionable transparency and legitimacy of their electoral processes and outcomes. Women are more often than not the victims of this uncertainty. Women’s participation in the political process is often lacking, and the instability resulting from disputed elections threatens women disproportionately, particularly in the form of (S)GBV.
In this session, women working in civil society in Burundi, CAR and Guinea Bissau will reflect on their experiences as woman and activists working on political participation, the challenges they face, and the opportunities to harness existing solutions to increase women’s representation and participation in politics.
In partnership with: Cercle, AFRABU, Voz di Paz
Thursday 22 October – 9h EST / 15h CET
Religion and the WPS agenda: Harnessing the potential of religion to improve opportunities for women in the most fragile contexts
Religion and the WPS agenda are often considered within their silos, yet religion shapes the daily lives of the majority of the world’s population. Religion, religious actors and religious institutions offer viable pathways to access, legitimacy and ownership of the WPS agenda in local communities across the world.
This session aims to kick start the discussion around the positive and constructive role that religion can play in pursuing achievement of the WPS agenda. By bringing together faith-based and secular organizations working on the WPS agenda, we hope to build bridges that lead to positive action.
In partnership with: STAD, Association Rayons de Soleil Cameroon
Friday 23 October – 9h EST / 15h CET
Women’s rights on the line: Fighting for women’s rights when it matters most – peace processes
Research shows that women’s participation in peace talks improves the likelihood of reaching lasting peace. Higher levels of gender inequality increase risks of terrorism, instability and civil war.
Women barely participated in Yemeni peace efforts, and the same is happening now in Afghanistan. This session will examine women’s participation in those peace processes to develop lessons to advocate for women’s inclusion going forward.
In partnership with: YWBOD,WCLRF and Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security