Category: Advocacy

Category: Advocacy

Hope for Change – Reflections on the Paris Generation Equality Forum 2021

21 September 2021

by Panthea Pourmalek[1]

Every time a fellow advocate, grassroots organizer, peacebuilder, mentor, or elder shares with me that they were present in Beijing in 1995, or the adaptation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, I cannot help but feel immense awe and astonishment.

This International Peace Day, I am reflecting. It’s been over two months since I attended the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) as a youth participant and speaker, and I’m still thrilled to think about it. It was an exciting and empowering experience! After the end of the Forum, I am left wondering if, in a handful of years, I too will be able to proudly share that I was present for a powerful turning point that forever changed progress on gender equality. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented regression in women’s rights issues and gender equality across the globe, creating alongside it a ‘shadow pandemic’ of gender-based violence. The Paris Generation Equality Forum took place during this crucial moment, bringing together gender advocates and peacebuilders, civil society, policymakers, academics, international organizations, and the private sector to reinvigorate action on gender equality by 2026. As a young woman participating in the Forum, I am filled with hope for a just, resilient, and gender-equal recovery and a re-affirmed belief that I – among all others – play a crucial and indispensable role within it. 

The Forum was partly born out of frustration with the slow and stagnant pace of progress in gender equality despite numerous international policies. Therefore, the Forum created an environment for intergenerational and multi-stakeholder collaborations toward more ambitious and concrete commitments to gender equality. The Paris Generation Equality Forum took place from 30 June to 2 July 2021 as a follow-up to the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico held in March of this year. The Mexico Forum served as a launching point for six thematic ‘Action Coalitions’ that form a Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality. These Action Coalitions include:

  1. Gender-Based Violence
  2. Economic Justice and Rights
  3. Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
  4. Feminist Action for Climate Justice
  5. Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality
  6. Feminist Movements and Leadership

The Paris Forum encouraged all stakeholders to announce their commitments and actions within this framework. As a symbol of ambitious, collective, and collaborative effort, the Paris Forum concluded with an announcement of over US$40 billion in investments in accelerating global progress on gender equality over the next five years, including:

  • A $2.1 billion commitment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance women’s leadership, reproductive health and economic empowerment;
  • An investment of $1 billion into supporting programs to end gender-based violence by the United States Government; 
  • The expansion of the Global Alliance for Care to include over 39 countries and the commitment of $100 million toward addressing inequalities in the global care economy by the Government of Canada;
  • A commitment from the Malala Fund to provide $20 million in feminist funding for activists working on girls’ education.

The WPS-HA Compact

As a young peacebuilder, I spent my three days at the Forum attending events related to Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) and Youth, Peace, and Security (YPS). I was especially interested in events that provided a platform to young women and girls active at the grassroots level. For me, the biggest highlight of the Paris Forum was witnessing the launch of the Women, Peace, and Security – Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA) Compact.

The Compact seeks to drive a global inter-generational movement to carry out existing WPS and Humanitarian Action commitments. All stakeholders, from Member States to women-led organizations and beyond, can join as signatories to the Compact and contribute to concrete and coordinated action in the field. 

Unlike the Action Coalitions, the Compact was not an original component of the Generation Equality platform. However, due to the advocacy of over 150 organizations worldwide, WPS and YPS were integrated into the Forum in the form of the Compact. I am proud to say that the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) leads the global advocacy for the creation of the Compact.  Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, the CEO and founder of GNWP, reminded us of the core and origin of the Compact at its GEF launch event: 

“The Compact on WPS-HA is a result of civil society advocacy. Like the ground-breaking UN resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security that was advocated for and co-drafted by civil society, we also co-drafted the Compact framework. At the core of the Compact are the voices of women and young women who live through violent conflict and humanitarian emergencies every single day. Many of them cannot be in Paris, or in front of a computer or mobile phone to join us today… The lack of recognition, support, and enabling conditions for local women and young women to take their rightful seat in all places where decisions on peace and security, humanitarian action, gender equality, and politics are made – this is why GNWP and hundreds of civil society groups fought for the intentional integration of WPS, YPS, and Humanitarian Action in the Generation Equality Forum.”

I genuinely believe that women and youth peacebuilders should not be regarded as passive observers in high-level decision-making. The creation of the Compact serves as a shining example of our innate agency and ability to assert our place within important conversations.

Youth in Action

Another highlight of the Paris Forum was the inclusion of a diverse range of young voices. 101 youth-led organizations created commitments across the Action Coalitions, and youth voices from across the world spoke in various events.

I had the opportunity to speak with Wevyn Muganda, the Cora Weiss Peacebuilding Fellow at GNWP, about her experience speaking at the GEF side event titled “Understanding the Triple Nexus through a Gender Lens”. Organized by GNWP, Austrian Development Cooperation, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and CARE Austria, this dialogue between women and youth activists, humanitarian and peacebuilding organizations, and development partners emphasized women’s leadership, expertise and innovation in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This response to COVID-19 is an example of integrating gender in the humanitarian, development and peace triple nexus.

For Wevyn, the commonalities between her work in Kenya and her fellow panelists’ work in Palestine uncovered the solidarity across movements despite geographic distance and cultural differences. Wevyn left the GEF feeling that the Forum has made a significant contribution to progress in gender equality, primarily through providing a non-tokenistic platform for grassroots voices. She shared the importance of this approach by explaining:

“The Forum has provided a chance for grassroots voices like mine to be heard– because our experiences are valid. When you look at it, all the six Action Coalitions and the Compact, all these documents, and all these nice laws and policies – when we wake up every day, we don’t think about them. We think, ‘Do we have food to eat today?’ ‘Are we safe?’ ‘Can I go out and walk safely as a young woman?’. Including grassroots voices like mine validates the aim of it all: it doesn’t matter how beautifully we put gender equality or how beautifully we describe the Generation Equality Forum. It has to match our reality. And that’s the only way it’s going to be sustainable.”

I echo Wevyn’s sentiments on grassroots youth participation wholeheartedly. I had the chance to organize and moderate a youth-led side event of my own, where several Indigenous and racialized young women spoke on their experiences with activism within spaces such as the Forum. I hope that other young women and girl activists and peacebuilders who had the chance to attend our side events left the forum with a renewed sense of agency and assurance that they belong in such spaces. 

After the first segment of the Generation Equality Forum, we cannot help but wonder – what’s next? This question, however, seems to carry a different weight from previous events. In a way, the GEF was the answer to that very question, posed after conferences and gatherings that ended with bold statements, words, and written agreements, but failed to deliver action and change. Through the Forum, all actors active in the arena of gender equality have committed to concrete actions and accountability. It is up to us to seize the next five years to harness the tools this collective process has produced, and create meaningful and lasting change. 

For me, words shared by Shantel Marakera, founder of the Little Dreamers Foundation, at the very start of the Forum encapsulate the perfect vision of this change: 

“Right now what we need is transformative change. Change that is visible to everyone – not just those in this room or those participating in the Forum virtually, but those who have no idea about the GEF. We want women, and girls, and gender-diverse individuals from every part of the world to notice this sudden shift in the air, and start questioning ‘Wait, why is there a noticeable shift in racial justice, in economic justice, in education?’ And then, we’ll be there, standing proud, and we’ll be saying ‘WE did that!’. That intergenerational, multi-stakeholder process did that! It is our process.”


[1] Panthea Pourmalek is a Research and Advocacy Intern at the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders. She supported GNWP’s work on the establishment of the WPS-HA Compact and coordinated advocacy efforts around the Paris Generation Equality Forum.

GNWP signs the Compact on Women, Peace, and Security and Humanitarian Action!

The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) is proud to be a Board Member and signatory to the Generation Equality Compact on Women, Peace, and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA).

The Compact was launched as part of the Generation Equality Forum (GEF), which took place in Paris between 30 June and 2 July 2021. The GEF was created to achieve immediate and irreversible progress towards gender equality. Despite global efforts, such as the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, gender equality progress has been slow, inconsistent, and risks further destabilization from armed conflicts, humanitarian crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other global issues such as climate change and economic injustice. The GEF’s purpose was to rally governments, activists, corporations, and civil rights groups to achieve change through ambitious investments and actionable policies.

What is the Generation Equality Compact on Women, Peace, and Security and Humanitarian Action?

One of the key outcomes of the GEF was the Generation Equality Compact on Women, Peace, and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA). The Compact is an inter-generational global movement that aims to accelerate implementation, strengthen accountability, and mobilize funding for the Women Peace & Security (WPS) agenda and gender equality in Humanitarian Action.

Mavic Cabrera Balleza, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Network of Peacebuilders, describes the Compact as:

“An opportunity to roll up our sleeves and get the job done! GNWP will work with all partners to build a vibrant, intersectional, and intergenerational global movement for sustainable peace, gender equality, and feminist humanitarian action, which champions the leadership of local women, young women, adolescent girls, and LGTBQIA+ persons.”

Over the next five years, the Compact will be guided by a framework that provides a clear path for concerted action for Member States, United Nations entities, regional organizations, civil society, private sector actors, and academic institutions. The Compact Framework includes specific actions across five thematic areas:

  • Financing the WPS Agenda and gender equality in humanitarian programming
  • Women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation and the inclusion of gender-related provisions in peace processes
  • Women’s economic security, access to resources, and other essential services
  • Women’s leadership and full, equal, and meaningful participation across peace, security, and humanitarian sectors
  • Protecting and promoting women’s human rights in conflict and crisis contexts 

Critically, the Compact Framework must be implemented in synergy with the Generation Equality Action Coalitions, a set of multistakeholder partnerships to catalyze collective action and deliver concrete results for women and girls. A monitoring scheme to assess the implementation of the Framework will be developed by the Compact Board and Catalytic members. The specific actions outlined in the Framework will be mapped against existing monitoring and accountability mechanisms.

GNWP’s commitment to the Compact

Along with Member States, UN entities, regional organizations, civil society organizations, private sector actors, and academic institutions, GNWP is proud to be a signatory to the Compact. GNWP has committed to 13 actions across four thematic areas of the Framework which will be implemented by:

  • Expanding and reinforcing partnerships with national and local women’s rights organizations to strengthen their capacity and eligibility to receive and manage donor funding, and eliminate barriers to financing for grassroots CSOs;
  • Growing and strengthening partnerships with youth-led and young women-focused organizations and networks to embed their priorities in YPS and WPS advocacy;
  • Providing technical and advisory support to women mediators and women peacebuilders in peace processes including through creating and sustaining systematic links between formal and informal peace processes;
  • Recognizing and engaging men and boys as partners and gender equality allies in addressing and reversing harmful gender norms; and 
  • Promoting the inclusion of gender-related provisions in all ceasefire and peace agreements in humanitarian assistance and delivery.

GNWP recognizes that effective implementation of the Compact Framework is contingent on the leadership, ownership, and participation of women and young women peacebuilders from conflict and crisis-affected communities. In the lead-up to the Paris Forum, GNWP convened 130 participants from over 35 countries in a Civil Society Briefing on 25 June 2021, to raise awareness of the Compact and its framework, and solicit support from national and local women’s civil society organizations and youth organizations for its implementation.

GNWP encourages women’s civil society organizations and youth groups, particularly from conflict and crisis-affected communities, to review the Compact Framework and register as Signatories.

Rwandan government and civil society discuss the use of CEDAW to advance women’s meaningful participation in peace processes and recovery

15 June 2021

By Emem Bassey, Peacebuilding Program Intern for Africa, GNWP

“To implement something well, you have to monitor it. Monitoring helps see the gaps. Reporting on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) gives us an opportunity to reflect on the gaps in the implementation of Women, Peace and Security resolutions” –Agnieszka Fal-Dutra Santos, Director of Programs, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP)

GNWP in partnership with ISOKO Partners and Benimpuhwe, civil society organizations working in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region, organized a workshop on the synergies between CEDAW and the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) and its supporting resolutions from 31 March to 1 April 2021. The workshop was attended by representatives from the Rwandan Government, civil society, and UN entities, focused on the use of CEDAW as a complementary reporting mechanism on the implementation of the WPS resolutions. It was organized in relation to Rwanda’s report to CEDAW wherein both the Government and civil society will submit reports. The organizing of the workshop was supported by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation.  

Importance of assessment of WPS resolutions’ implementation and reporting

The workshop enabled the government and civil society participants to assess the progress in the implementation of the WPS resolutions and the remaining gaps. They also identified concrete recommendations for more effective implementation of the WPS resolutions and the National Action Plan (NAP) on WPS. Specific to civil society participants, it was an opportunity to review the draft report prepared by the government and provide their comments.

The workshop allowed participants to discuss many topics including the ways women are affected by conflicts and refugee crises; women’s roles as actors for peace; the need for women to be present in security sector institutions; the meaningful participation of women in local decision-making and conflict resolution structures; and, the need to support women both as voters and candidates in national and local elections. Importantly, the participants discussed the progress and the persistent challenges in the implementation of the WPS agenda, which should be reflected in the upcoming CEDAW report.

Analyzing the progress and gaps in WPS resolutions’ implementation

The topics discussed during the workshops were far-reaching and covered a multitude of areas. Some of the highlights of the discussions are the following: 

  • Identifying important advances to the implementation of the WPS agenda. Advances included the establishment of the national machinery for the advancement of women, the mainstreaming of gender equality across government policies and development frameworks –  including the country’s “Vision 2050” strategy, and the introduction of a quota for women’s participation in District Councils and the Executive Council in the city of Kigali.
  • The prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) and lack of access to services for GBV victims and survivors. Rates of violence remain high despite the measures put in place by the government – such as the Gender Accountability Days (GAD), a series of activities held at the district level to raise awareness, enhance accountability for gender equality, and prevention and response to GBV. The participants emphasized that CEDAW implementation and the effective use of the media and communication channels are critical instruments to address GBV.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on WPS agenda implementation in the country, and the need to ensure that the COVID-19 recovery be gender-responsive and conflict-sensitive. The pandemic has revealed the widened gaps in social systems, and their disproportionate impact on women and girls. Across Africa, lockdown measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus have left many women with no escape from abusive partners. As a result, the cases of domestic violence and GBV increased in Rwanda during the pandemic. The participants concluded that the pandemic underscored the urgent need for full and effective implementation of the WPS agenda, to ensure that women’s rights are protected and that they participate in advocacy and lead the search for solutions.
  • The importance of involving young women and men in conversations about WPS implementation and GBV prevention. The participants recommended that gender studies be included in school curricula, in order for children to grow up with the understanding of gender equality. They also emphasized the importance of localizing the WPS agenda (see #Localization1325), to raise local government’s awareness of this international law, and ensure they can effectively contribute to its implementation and eradication of GBV. They identified concrete strategies – such as town hall meetings and dissemination of leaflets – to ensure that community members, including women and young women, are aware of the government’s COVID-19 responses including the economic packages available to them.

Crisis and Risk Communications Training

The workshop on the synergies between CEDAW and the WPS resolutions was followed by a training focusing on the importance of communication during conflicts and crises, such as a pandemic. The training was organized by GNWP, in partnership with the Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN) with support from the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, and was attended by women and gender equality activists from across Rwanda, who have been first-responders to the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on the findings of the workshop on the CEDAW and WPS synergies, the workshop created a space for women from civil society to develop an advocacy and communications strategy that calls for a gender-specific and conflict-sensitive COVID-19 response and recovery.

During this second day of the workshop, participants identified advocacy messages around COVID-19 response and recovery and designed strategies to distribute messaging. As a follow-up to the workshop, GNWP and RWN will transform these messages into information, education and communications materials, which will be widely disseminated, and will complement civil society’s efforts to advance the implementation of WPS resolutions through CEDAW reporting and implementation.

The two workshops provided a rich space for discussion and resulted in concrete recommendations. GNWP and its civil society partners look forward to seeing them reflected in Rwanda’s State Party report and disseminated through information, education and communications materials. Stay tuned!

Background to GNWP’s work: UNSCR 1325 and the Rwandan Genocide

In Rwanda, the UNSCR 1325 was profoundly important, as it was adopted during Rwanda’s recovery from the 1994 genocide. During the genocide, Rwandan women were subjected to a mass scale of sexual violence, perpetrated by members of the infamous Hutu militia groups known as the Interahamwe. Although the exact number of women who were raped will never be known, testimonies from survivors confirm that rape and other forms of sexual violence – including sexual slavery – were a widespread practice. Such practices contributed to the genocide having a devastating impact on Rwandan women.

Despite Rwandan women being greatly impacted by the genocide, women have been leaders in reconstructing the country. Even before the adoption of the UNSCR 1325 in 2000, Rwandan women have played a central role in maintaining peace and security in their communities, country and region. Women mobilized to take care of the orphans and non-accompanied children left in their communities after the genocide. It is estimated that between 400,000 and 500,000 children were fostered or adopted by families and women-headed households.

Rwandan women worked together to rebuild solidarity and mutual understanding as a first step towards national reconciliation. For example, the Forum of Rwandese women leaders and Unity Club were formed, bringing together influential women from Rwanda to promote the message of reconciliation in communities, and foster cooperation among women parliamentarians from different backgrounds. Today, women make up 61.25 percent of Rwanda’s parliament, making it the country with the highest proportion of women in the national legislature.

Recognizing the important roles of women in peacebuilding resulted in Rwanda adopting its first three-year National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 in 2009. The second generation of the NAP, adopted in 2018 for the period 2018-2022, commits Rwanda to continue its efforts to implement the four pillars of UNSCR 1325 and other WPS resolutions: Protection, Prevention, Participation and Relief and Recovery. Effective monitoring of UNSCR 1325 implementation will be essential to ensuring meaningful participation, respect and protection of women’s rights.

Reflecting on the achievements, calling for more action! How did GNWP commemorate 20 Years of Resolution 1325?

November 16, 2020

October 2020 marked a critical milestone for women peacebuilders: the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations Security Resolution 1325. To us at the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), it was a time to reflect on achievements to date and persistent barriers, strengthen our advocacy, and do what we do best: amplify women’s voices for sustainable and inclusive peace.

Throughout the month of October, we hosted a number of events, which brought together women peacebuilders working at local, national, regional and global levels, with representatives of UN Member States, international and regional organizations, academia and other stakeholders.

Our events reached over 1,500 people from 50 countries. Read more about the discussions we held below!


Beijing+25: Is the Generation Equality Compact on Women, Peace, and Security and Humanitarian Action Fit for Purpose? Civil Society Perspectives and Recommendations Ahead of the Generation Equality Forum | October 8, 2020

GNWP kicked off the busy month with this event, which we organized on behalf of the civil society-led Beijing+25 Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) and Youth, Peace, and Security (YPS) Coalition, in partnership with UN Women, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth. This virtual panel discussion raised awareness of the Generation Equality Compact on Women, Peace, and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA). As a dedicated outcome of the Generation Equality Forum (GEF), the Compact on WPS-HA will serve as “a connector between the existing WPS-HA normative frameworks” to realize commitments. It presents a defining opportunity to increase the meaningful participation of women, young women, adolescent girls, and gender non-conforming individuals from conflict and crisis-affected areas in decision-making at all levels on peace, security, humanitarian action, and gender equality.

Convening over 200 representatives from Member States, civil society, and UN entities, the event created space for grassroots women and youth peacebuilders and frontline responders from Libya, Nigeria, Venezuela, France, Uganda, Nepal, and Fiji to share their recommendations, priorities, and hopes for the Compact with the Generation Equality Forum Core Group stakeholders (UN Women, Mexico, and France). All panelists, including Mexican Ambassador Alicia Buenrostro, French Ambassador Delphine O who serves as the  Secretary-General of the Generation Equality Forum 2021, the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Åsa Regnér, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the UN, Ambassador Victoria Sulimani, and the Libyan youth activist, Hajer Shareif, emphasized the urgent need for strengthening accountability, mobilizing funding for, and accelerating implementation of existing commitments on WPS, YPS, and Humanitarian Action. At a time when women—including young women—and youth continue to be excluded from peace and security processes, political decision-making, and COVID-19 response and recovery taskforces, and attacks against women and youth human rights defenders and peace activists increase, the Compact presents an important arena through which civil society, Member States, and UN entities can work together to promote sustainable peace and gender equality.

View event recording here.

#WPSHACompact | #GenerationEquality


Women Peacebuilders & First Responders Define Priorities for Gender-Responsive Peacebuilding & COVID-19 Recovery in 2020 & Beyond |October 15, 2020

In partnership with the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) and the Austrian Development Cooperation, GNWP held a panel discussion, which built on the recommendations of the Global Women’s Forum for Peace & Humanitarian Action (GWF 2020) in Vienna, Austria on February 19-20, 2020. The concrete policy recommendations formulated during the forum were included in the Vienna 2020 Declaration.

The panel discussion, held virtually on October 15, 2020, brought together women peacebuilders and first responders from Georgia, Kenya and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), who participated in the GWF 2020, to share the key recommendations from the Vienna 2020 Declaration. The panelists reflected on the increased urgency of these recommendations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Julia Kharashvili, the speaker from Georgia noted, COVID-19 had multilayered impacts. It influenced women’s physical health, psychological wellbeing, and their security. She emphasized the vulnerability of the internally displaced persons during the pandemic, and the new threats faced by women leaders and peacebuilders – including online harassment and cyberbullying. Mercy Jerop from Kenya highlighted the leadership of women and youth in addressing the pandemic, and in promoting the WPS agenda. She pointed out  that in Kenya women and young women have been the key drivers behind the development of the country’s National Action Plan; yet, their work is often unrecognized. She called for media organizations to increase the portrayal of women as leaders and peacebuilders, rather than only helpless victims. Amal Tarazi, the speaker from OPT stressed the importance of economic empowerment as a pre-requisite for sustainable peace, and a key factor that enables women to meaningfully participate in decision-making. A key call from all speakers was: there is a need for more predictable, sustainable, and flexible funding to support women-led peacebuilding work! It is a requisite for ensuring effective implementation of the WPS agenda.

View event recording here.

#WPSin2020 | #GWF2020


Ensuring Feminist and Localized Humanitarian Emergency Response: Where Women, Peace, and Security and Humanitarian Action Meet | October 19, 2020

In partnership with UN Women, the WPHF, Women’s Refugee Commission, and the Permanent Missions of Canada and Norway to the United Nations, GNWP organized a virtual roundtable discussion to examine the linkages between peacebuilding, sustainable development, and humanitarian action. A resounding message from the event was: the WPS agenda is a critical instrument that brings both a gender and a conflict lens to humanitarian action. Grassroots women and youth peacebuilders from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Venezuela and Uganda – countries in the midst of the world’s most severe refugee crises and armed conflicts – highlighted their critical contributions to humanitarian action and peacebuilding. They advocated for increased recognition and investment in their work. They also called for the full and effective implementation of the WPS, which intersects with, and reinforces, humanitarian action frameworks. 

Representatives from the UN Women’s Humanitarian Research and Innovation Division, WPHF, the Women’s Refugee Commission, and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Gender Unit provided guidance on operationalizing the humanitarian-development-peacebuilding nexus. Effectively bridging the gaps between humanitarian action, gender equality and peacebuilding requires investing in the capacities of local actors, particularly women’s rights organizations. It also requires strengthening national systems to implement effective and empowering humanitarian emergency response rooted in the human security framework. Ms. Krista House, Deputy Director of the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program at Global Affairs Canada, and Ms. Hilde Salvesen, Policy Director for Humanitarian Affairs at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared their perspectives as donors for humanitarian action and WPS implementation, emphasizing their commitments to increasing funding for gender-sensitive crisis response and recovery and the meaningful participation of grassroots women and youth peacebuilders in the design and implementation of humanitarian action.

GNWP responds to immediate crises, while helping to shape sustainable recovery for communities affected by conflict, humanitarian emergencies, pandemic, and natural disasters. Learn more about GNWP’s work on humanitarian action: https://gnwp.org/what-we-do/gender-inclusive-humanitarian-response/.

View event recording here.

#WPSin2020


Peacebuilding during a Pandemic: Launch of the COVID-19 and WPS Database | October 21, 2020

In partnership with UN Women and the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations, GNWP hosted a virtual panel for the launch of a Database on COVID-19 and its impacts on Women, Peace and Security. The COVID-19 and WPS Database documents a number of different impacts and responses with 30 sub-categories divided under 5 main brackets: (1) impact of COVID-19 on women and gender equality; (2) impact of COVID-19 on women’s rights and peacebuilding organizations; (3) impact of COVID-19 on peace and security; (4) women-led humanitarian response to COVID-19; and (5) women-led peacebuilding and conflict prevention during the pandemic. 

Recognizing the context-specific nature of pre-existing inequalities exacerbated by the concurrent health, humanitarian, socio-political and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 at the country-level, GNWP built the database on interviews, consultations and written contributions received by its partners – local and national women peacebuilders. The virtual panel discussion featured some of the grassroots experts, who have contributed to the development of the database. Each of them brought a unique perspective, informed by their experiences as first responders in the pandemic.

Dr. Roopa Dhatt, a medical practitioner from the United States of America and the chair of Women in Global Health emphasized the importance of women’s unpaid work, and the vast contributions women in public health. Sally Maforchi Mboumien Ndeh, director of COMAGEND organization from Cameroon shared women’s advocacy for an effective ceasefire in the country, emphasizing that while peace is more than an absence of war, the continued fighting exacerbates the health and humanitarian impacts of COVID-19. Dieketseng Diale, Chief Executive Officer of the Lady of Peace Community Foundation in South Africa focused on women’s resilience in the time of crisis. She shared how women peacebuilders have continued to communicate on WhatsApp, holding weekly discussions to share issues of violence and insecurity in their communities, jointly identify their roots and develop concrete strategies to address them. Finally, Helen M. Rojas, Chief of Staff of the Chair of the Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women from the Philippines shared how the local government in the conflict-affected Bangsamoro Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has taken steps towards institutionalizing a gender-responsive and conflict-sensitive COVID-19 response and recovery, by integrating measures to address the pandemic in the Regional Action Plan on WPS. Overall, the stories shared by the panelists highlighted women’s resilience agency and transformative leadership in response to COVID-19. They called for meaningful inclusion of women in COVID-19 task forces and committees, increasing funding for women peacebuilders who are at the frontlines of pandemic response, and basing COVID-19 recovery on a recognition and appreciation of the unpaid care work done by women around the world.

View event recording here.

#WPSin2020


Learning from Grassroots Women Peacebuilders: Advancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda Beyond 2020 | October 26, 2020

In partnership with the Government of Ireland, UN Women, and the Governments of South Africa, Uganda, and Colombia, GNWP held a high-level side event, which showcased local women peacebuilders’ perspectives and priorities for advancing the WPS agenda beyond its 20th Anniversary. The event served as a launch of a report commissioned by the Government of Ireland and produced by GNWP with support from UN Women. The report presents local women’s unique perspectives and innovative recommendations on what is needed to strengthen the implementation of the WPS agenda. Her Excellency Mary Robinson, the Chair of The Elders and Former President of Ireland delivered a keynote address during the event, during which she emphasized the need for a “structural change to enable inclusive and sustainable peace”, made clear in the report. H.E. Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence of Ireland and H. E. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women’s Executive Director also delivered remarks reinforcing the report’s recommendations.

The keynote address was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Ambassador Geraldine Byrne-Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN, during which women peacebuilders from Colombia, Northern Ireland and Uganda shared their perspectives. Elizabeth Law, the chair of the Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform underlined that COVID-19 has aggravated some of the conflict dynamics in the country, but that gender and peacebuilding perspectives were not reflected in the COVID-19 response. Citing one of the women peacebuilders who contributed to the report, she reflected that exclusion of women from decision-making – especially on peace and security – “is not an accident; it is an aspiration.” Rebecca Turyatunga Juna, a young peacebuilder from Uganda emphasized the importance of inclusion of young women, especially those living in rural or remote areas, in WPS planning and implementation. Building on the findings of the research, which highlighted Localization as a key implementation strategy, she also added that young women must be given access to global spaces. The digital divide is a major barrier that has to be addressed, she said. “I was able to borrow a smartphone to join you today. But what about women in rural settings who do not have access to a smartphone?” Beatriz Quintero, the Executive Director of the Red Nacional de Mujeres (National Women’s Network) in Colombia also agreed that broad-base inclusion is the most important next frontier to move the implementation of the WPS agenda forward. She stressed that preexisting inequalities and the patriarchal system mean that women, ethnic minorities and lesbian, bay and transgender persons have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. They need to be included in the planning for recovery – as well as in WPS implementation!

GNWP’s Chief Executive Officer Mavic Cabrera-Balleza underscored that many of the recommendations put forth by the women peacebuilders are not new. But they take on a renewed urgency in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Women peacebuilders have concrete ideas on how to fulfil those recommendations. “The good practices and locally-driven solutions presented by local women peacebuilders need to be recognized, supported, amplified and replicated. It is the time for the international community to talk less, and instead listen more and learn from women peacebuilders,” she strongly emphasized.

The powerful remarks of women peacebuilders were intertwined with interventions from Member State representatives. This allowed for an exchange of perspectives and a much needed reality check on the status of WP implementation.

View event recording here.

#WPSin2020 | #PeaceCannotWait | #WomenPeacePower

#FacebookPromotesViolence: GNWP is Boycotting Facebook

For the month of September, we’re hitting pause on Facebook.

During the next thirty days the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) is boycotting Facebook. We will stop all activity to raise awareness of the platform’s role in threatening peace and democracy.

We say ENOUGH! Facebook must be held to account and reformed to curb disinformation, human rights violations and the warmongering it has become a space for. Disinformation and fake news stories on Facebook have reached unprecedented numbers, at unprecedented speed. The largest-ever study on fake news, conducted by data scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), shows that false information on social media spreads faster and reaches more people than true information.

We can no longer turn a blind eye to how Facebook facilitates wide-ranging and pervasive human rights abuses that threaten all people, but disproportionately affect marginalized groups, such as women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA+) people, and other minority groups.

We use the following examples from across the world to illustrate the need to raise our voices against Facebook’s inaction:

Facebook must take responsibility for the hateful narratives, extremist and misogynistic views and for the incitements of violence being widely spread across its global platforms.  It must take clear and unequivocal action against the spread of hate and violence.

Our Call to Action:

  • We call on Facebook to strengthen its accountability and fact-checking mechanisms, and to ensure immediate removal of false content that incites violence.
  • We call on companies to remove their advertising from Facebook to protest the platform’s complicity in promoting violence.
  • We call on governments to adopt robust accountability regulations for Facebook to prevent the dissemination of fake news, hate speech and violent messages in their countries.
  • We call on civil society organizations, governments, the UN, and all other actors, to call Facebook’s contributions to promoting war and violence, demand greater accountability and join our #FacebookPromotesViolence campaign to spread awareness about the use of misinformation and hate speech.

Please contact the GNWP team at communications@gnwp.org for any questions or to join our efforts in transforming social media into a safe space for information sharing, and discussions that promote peace, justice, and equality.