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During the annual open debate on Resolution 1325 earlier this month the Security Council announced the unanimous adoption of a seventh resolution on Women, Peace and Security, Resolution 2122. Operation 1325 welcomes a clear determination to put the role of women’s participation at all stages of conflict prevention, peace negotiations and recovery at the forefront.

The resolutions following resolution 1325 have primarily emphasised raising the issue of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in conflict. As a result, the awareness around SGBV issues has grown over the years, however much at the expense of pushing women’s participation in peace processes down on the agenda. Strengthening women’s position and power in peace-building and decision-making is by far the most effective way to combat sexual and gender-based violence, especially in the long term. Hence, a multidimensional approach of both strengthening participation and combating sexual violence is necessary and a prerequisite to implement any of the resolutions on women, peace and security. 

Furthermore, a one-sided priority on sexual and gender-based violence in the implementation of Resolution 1325 and follow-up resolutions also risks playing into the hands of states in the international community that wish to remove women’s participation from the agenda of the Security Council.

Shifting focus

We’re therefore pleased to see a shift of focus through the adoption of Resolution 2122. In the fresh resolution the Security Council chooses to again highlight women as agents of change rather than victims of violence. Resolution 2122 thereby puts women at the centre of all phases of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peace-building and recognizes that gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment is critically needed to maintain international peace and security. The resolution also highlights the important contribution of civil society, and especially women’s organizations, to peace-building, and urges member states and the UN system itself to fund their work and women´s leadership initiatives. Sustained consultation and dialogue between women and national and international decision makers is thereby essential.  

The adoption of Resolution 2122 indicates a renewed determination from the Security Council to rebalance the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and to reintegrate the holistic approach once set forth in Resolution 1325. It sets in place stronger measures and holds member states, the UN and regional organizations responsible for implementing all of the resolutions. The Security Council also announced an upcoming High-Level Review in 2015, where assessment of progress and obstacles in the implementation of Resolution 1325 will take place, as well as the setting of renewed commitments. In preparation for the review, the Secretary-General will also, for the first time, commission a global study on the 1325 implementation, highlighting global trends and priorities for action, good practices, and gaps and challenges ahead. Hopefully this will build further political will and assist civil society to push government and key stake-holders to develop National Action Plans (NAPs) and increase the implementation on Resolution 1325. 

new resolutions the solution? 

Despite many positive aspects in the adoption of Resolution 2122, it is now more than ever critical that the words of the Security Council resolutions get translated into real actions. In June this year the UN Security Council adopted its sixth resolution, UNSCR 2106, on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda which was established in 2000 by the adoption of Resolution 1325. In a commentary Operation 1325 raised the question whether a new resolution is the way forward when the already existing ones remain to a large degree unimplemented. The same question mark applies to the newly adopted UNSCR 2122.

Is the international community really doing all in its might to implement the already existing resolutions, or are the steady adoptions of additional documents just symbolic acts? Yet, these questions have no answer.

Valter Vilkko
Communications Officer, Operation 1325

Jenny Molin
Intern, Operation 1325