Coalition building centered around execution of UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security has become a significant aspect of peace initiatives by numerous civil society organizations. A growing number of organizations are seeking to collaborate and devise novel methods to leverage the resolution as a catalyst for change. The collaboration among Operation 1325’s partner organizations in Iraq, Sudan, and Yemen under the “Women Peacebuilders” program, established this year, represents a noteworthy example of this effort.
The exchange of experiences leads to innovative peacebuilding methods
Coalitions facilitate the implementation of new initiatives through shared knowledge and networking among peace advocates. The “Women Peacebuilders” program serves as a venue for this cross-border exchange of information and experience. The 16 women participating in the program hail from diverse backgrounds but share the common experience of living in countries affected by war and armed conflict.
A key component of the programme is a series of capacity-building meetings, the content is determined by the women according to their own needs. The meetings provide a platform for the women activists to network and share experiences from their respective countries, communities and contexts. The platform has led to the formation of a regional coalition at the initiative of the participants, which they look forward to expand in the coming years.
Coalitions exert pressure on decision-makers
They also increase legitimacy and visibility by unifying multiple organizations and voices behind a shared objective. Joint efforts by organizations to develop innovative approaches increase their ability to influence decision-makers at all levels, including national, local, and regional. This also enhances the potential for holding decision-makers accountable. Thus, supporting regional civil society cooperation, especially coalitions, is of great importance.
Research indicates that coalitions are most effective when they establish connections between states and civil society actors at various levels. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 22 years ago exemplifies the significance of coordinated efforts. The widespread adoption of the resolution was largely due to the concerted advocacy of civil society organizations worldwide, advocating for women’s active participation in peace and political processes.
Challenges of Civil Society Coalitions
Civil society coalitions face issues of continuity and conflict resolution within the coalition. These conflicts often stem from competition and unequal distribution of power, with larger organizations holding more sway in decision-making. However, these issues can be overcome by fostering a shared vision and promoting democratic, transparent, and inclusive structures within the coalition of civil society organizations (CSOs)
Operation 1325 supports the above-mentioned coalition by fostering dialogue, sharing information across borders, and defending the right to be heard. By doing so, it builds trust within the group, strengthening both coalition continuity and the implementation of Resolution 1325.