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Connecting Women and Peace and Security (WPS) and Youth and Peace and Security (YPS) to Beijing+25 and the Generation Equality Forum

In the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the 20th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, and the 5th anniversary of UNSCR 2250, women and youth peacebuilders formed a coalition to discuss urgent, intersecting issues related to the full and effective implementation of the Women and Peace and Security (WPS) and Youth and Peace and Security (YPS) agendas. This civil society-led coalition—the Beijing+25 WPS-YPS Action Coalition—presents the following key messages and recommendations, which strongly reflect local voices from conflict-affected communities, organized by thematic areas of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. These must be integrated into all Beijing+25/Generation Equality Forum processes and outcome documents.

Published by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders on behalf of the civil society-led Beijing+25 Women and Peace and Security (WPS) – Youth and Peace and Security (YPS) Action Coalition

© 2020 Beijing+25 WPS-YPS Action Coalition

Printed in New York, New York, USA

Authors

Mallika Iyer and Mavic Cabrera Balleza

Contributors

Agnieszka Fal Dutra Santos

Dinah Lakehal

Heela Yoon

Katrina Leclerc

Editor

Eleonore Veillet-Chowdhury

Layout and Design

Katrina Leclerc

Please feel free to use and cite parts of this publication, crediting the authors and the Beijing+25 WPS-YPS Action Coalition.

Acknowledgements

We thank participating organizations from the following countries for their contributions to this paper: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Canada, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Iraq, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, South Sudan, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uganda, and the United States of America.

Operationalizing Sustaining Peace: A series of Roundtable Discussions

Despite the spirit of the parallel resolutions 70/262 and 2282 and their endorsement of the term ‘Sustaining Peace’, there is still a gap in understanding what this means in practice and the implications of the changes called for at the regional and country levels. To support and inform preparations for the 2019 and 2020 Secretary-General reports on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (DHF) are convening a series of roundtable discussions in New York.

The objective of this series is to strengthen the implementation of the UN’s peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace agenda by creating a space for developing a shared practical understanding of the UN’s peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace agenda; contributing to the assessment of ongoing efforts undertaken by the UN and other actors to advance the agenda; and fostering discussions on how to advance efforts at Sustaining Peace in practice at the country and regional levels.

The series of roundtables aims to convene experts in peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace to discuss key thematic areas related to the implementation of the peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace resolutions. Participants include experts from civil society, member states, UN agencies, Funds, and programs, and the UN Secretariat. The roundtables are by invitation only and are held under chatham house rules. 

Research Report: Gender-Sensitive Provisions In Peace Agreements And Women’s Political And Economic Inclusion Post-Conflict

Summary of results of a research-based Practicum organized by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and the Center for Global Affairs of the School of Professional Studies at NYU

Jillian Abballe, Emma Grant, Foteini Papagioti, Dorie Reisman, Nicole Smith: Center for Global Affairs, School of Professional Studies, New York University

Agnieszka Fal-Dutra Santos, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders

Academic Supervisor: Dr. Anne-Marie Goetz

Project Advisor and Substantive Editor:

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza

GNWP thanks Center for Global Affairs of the School of Professional Studies (CGA) at the New York University for the partnership that led to this publication. The findings will inform GNWP’s advocacy and implementation to ensure women’s meaningful participation in peace processes and decision-making at all levels.

Solidarity & Peace Amidst the Pandemic: Young Women Leaders Meet Online for the First-Ever Global Dialogue

Solidarity & Peace Amidst the Pandemic: Young Women Leaders Meet Online for the First-Ever Global Dialogue

April 23, 2020 by Heela Yoon and Katrina Leclerc

Edited by Mavic Cabrera-Balleza and Agnieszka Fal Dutra-Santos

“Afghan women have been fighting for their right to be meaningfully included in the peace process with the Taliban throughout the past 20 years. Today, we are afraid that amidst the COVID-19 crisis, this progress will be lost, and provisions on women rights will be removed from the peace agreement.” This concern, shared by Sadaf Tahib, the Communication Associate of Afghan Women Welfare and Development Association (AWWDA), was echoed by many of over 50 youth peacebuilders from 11 countries, who came together in an online meeting to share their experiences of preventing conflict and violent extremism, building peace, and addressing the COVID-19 outbreak in their communities.

The meeting was organized by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), with support from NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, on April 15, 2020. It was the first-time members of GNWP’s Young Women Leaders for Peace (YWL) program from Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Sudan, came together. They were joined by women and youth leaders from Afghanistan, Georgia, Kenya, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Ukraine. By discussing the peace and security problems and the solutions to them amidst the pandemic and despite network connectivity issues, the women and youth peacebuilders sent a powerful message: COVID-19 will not stop us!

The event was also an opportunity to launch the Toolkit and Film for Young Women and Girls on Literacy, Leadership, Economic Empowerment, Media, and Theater. The toolkit and film are evidence-based, context-specific resources for elevating the voices and work of young women in preventing conflict and violent extremism drawn from GNWP’s work. They were developed based on the experiences of young women peacebuilders in Bangladesh and Indonesia, and good practices drawn from GNWP’s work around the world.

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic grows including the aggravated levels of personal anxiety and stress, the women and peacebuilders underscored the need to hold regular discussions and continue supporting each other. Members of the YWL shared their frontline initiatives to reduce the negative impacts of COVID-19 on women and youth peacebuilders. This is showcased in the new podcast ‘GNWP Talks Women, Peace and Security’: Episode 25 on the Young Women Leaders Global Dialogue.

Young women’s frontline leadership

Speaking from Bangladesh, Young Women Leaders Machen Hia and Mathenu Rakhine, shared that they joined the YWL program to “make sure that there is peace and gender equality in [their] community in Cox’s Bazar.” They emphasized that there is still a lot of challenges, and highlighted their contributions to improving the gender sensitivity of humanitarian emergency response to the influx of 1.3 million Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. They also shared their experience pre-COVID of conducting gender-sensitive, age-appropriate fundamental literacy and numeracy classes to Rohingya refugee and host community women and girls.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Young Women Leaders are workingto prevent, support and counter increased sexualized violence during the pandemic. During the meeting, Emilie Katondolo and Nicole Musimbi, shared that this work includes using media and technology to dismantle and challenge narratives of ‘victims’ to ‘survivors’ of sexual violence, and ensuring accurate and updated information is provided to women and youth across the communities of Eastern DRC. “Through our program, we try to provide women with opportunities to make income, so that they can improve their financial situation and change their life,” said Nicole.

In Indonesia, Young Women Leaders for Peace, conduct community-level advocacy on women’s rights; gender equality; youth, peace and security (YPS); and human security. Prior to COVID-19, young women have held advocacy meetings in their communities and have developed strong relationships with district-level leaders. Nur Aisyah Maullidah, Ilmiyah Maslahatul and Ririn Anggraeni, shared that since the COVID-19 outbreak, the YWL Indonesia have held online English classes to continue their capacity-building amidst the pandemic.

In the Philippines, Young Women Leaders are also at the forefront of COVID-19 response. Sophia Garcia and Lynrose Genon, presented that young women are distributing face masks, disinfectants, and ‘dignity kits’ to ensure that the specific needs of women and girls are met. These kits are prepared by YWL members and distributed to internally displaced women and youth in Sagonsongan Transitional Temporary Shelter in Marawi, a city ravaged by armed conflict between extremist groups and the Philippine Armed Forces.

Speaking from South Sudan, Elizabeth Biniya, a member ofYoung Women Leaders, and Nyuon Susan Sebit, former Cora Weiss Peacebuilding Fellow at GNWP, discussed their efforts in addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local populations. The South Sudanese young women leaders are using community radio to raise awareness of domestic violence and the available support for those affected. They also disseminate information on preventive measures such as hand washing and social distancing. Additionally, the South Sudanese Young Women Leaders organize theater performances in Torit, South Sudan to raise awareness on women’s rights, gender equality, and peace and security among local populations.

In today’s complex and interconnected world, it is important to recognize and promote the synergies between the women and peace and security (WPS) and youth and peace and security (YPS) agendas and how they are linked to humanitarian emergencies. This is highlighted during this global COVID-19 pandemic as we see young women peacebuilders who step up and become first responders in their local communities. In doing so, they not only mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis but they also secure the gains of Afghan women and all other women and youth peacebuilders who have been demanding to meaningfully participate in peace processes and all levels of decision-making.

Want to support young women leading on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic? Share and donate here.

GNWP is grateful for the support of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment; and the collaboration of the Asian Muslim Action Network – Indonesia and Jago Nari Unnayon Sangsta – Bangladesh for the production of the Toolkit and Film.

Please see also other articles produced by the GNWP on COVID-19 and the women and peace and security, and youth and peace and security agendas: