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On Wednesday, 24th of October, Operation 1325 attended the launc

On Wednesday, 24th of October, Operation 1325 attended the launch of a report titled “Mapping Women, Peace, and Security in the UN Security Council” by the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security. The launch was held at the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in New York and was attended by civil society representatives, UN Women, UN member states representatives, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

The report covering the period 1st of August 2011 – 31st of July 2012 is an assessment of the Security Council’s obligations with regard to the women, peace, and security agenda (resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, and 1960). Sarah Taylor of the NGO Working Group, Maria Butler of PeaceWomen, and Harriette Williams Bright from Femmes Africa Solidarité presented the report and their findings. After finishing the assessment they concluded that the work of the Security Council with regards to women, peace, and security is inconsistent. The NGO Working Group has analyzed country situation reports received by the Council, Security Council meetings, Security Council resolutions, and presidential statements. The degree to which the women, peace, and security agenda is addressed varies a lot between thematic issues and country situations.

Of the 97 relevant debates or briefings in the Security Council, 52 meetings, or 54% contained a reference to women, peace, and security.  Sarah Taylor pointed out that briefings are when Council members should be addressing immediate concerns for women in conflict areas.  The NGO Working Group points out in the report that this is particularly important in crisis areas such as Syria and Mali.
When it comes to country specific reports received by the Council the NGO Working Group analyzed 82 and found that 52, or 63% addressed these issues. The reports are inconsistent and often lack information, assessments, or recommendations regarding the role of women in peace processes and conflict transformation.

While assessing the work of the Council the NGO Working Group also found that only 3 out of 15, 20% of presidential statements on country situations in the Council addressed women, peace, and security issues. This is a particular concern given that the presidential statements often are a means for the council to respond quickly to crisis situations, situations in which women are vulnerable and find it difficult to make their voices heard.
Lastly the report looks at resolutions adopted by the Security Council. 30 out of 48, or 63% of the relevant resolutions adopted during the assessment period addressed women, peace, and security.
Even though, much remains to be done in this area a positive development is that Council members increasingly are including references to civil society in mandates for special political missions and peacekeeping.

The discussion following the presentation of the report offered many insights. The main topic discussed was why the work of the Council is so inconsistent. The participants agreed that when the women, peace, and security agenda is adequately addressed in country specific situations it is due to a number of factors. When it is properly addressed there is often a strong gender unit in the country mission and mainstreaming throughout the mission. There is also understanding of the importance of the women, peace, and security agenda from mission leadership. Moreover, a strong mandate language is crucial. Every line in mission mandate that mentions gender is important.

Operation 1325 is glad to have attended the launch as it was a success and the report will serve as a tool for highlighting the need for a consistent and systematic approach to the women, peace, and security agenda by the Security Council.

Emmicki Roos