Category: Beijing+25

Category: Beijing+25

Civil Society Recommendations to the Compact on Women, Peace, and Security and Humanitarian Action

This document was prepared by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) based on the inputs of the members of the civil society-led Action Coalition on WPS and YPS.  It presents a set of recommendations on the points raised in the concept note of the Compact on Women and Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action in the Generation Equality Forum. The recommendations were generated from the Zoom meeting of the civil society-led Action Coalition on WPS and YPS on June 10, 2020, and a series of phone, Zoom, WhatsApp, and email consultations between June 19 –30, 2020. Local, national, regional and global CSOs from Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, UK, and the USA participated in these consultations. Representatives of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Youth, UN Department of Peace Operations, UNDP, UNFPA and UN Women also participated at the Zoom meeting on June 10, 2020.

Many of the recommendations echo those presented by civil society and local women peacebuilders in the Vienna Declaration 2020, the outcome document of the Global Women’s Forum on Women Peacebuilders & Humanitarian Actors, organized by the Austrian Development Cooperation,  the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fundin Vienna on February 19-20, 2020; the 2018-2019  Global Study of Civil Society And Local Women’s Perception of Sustaining Peace conducted by GNWP with  support from UN Women; and the report from the Local consultations with women from civil society on WPS and Sustaining Peace in Colombia, Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Uganda prepared by GNWP with support from Ireland and UN Women as a contribution to the Peacebuilding Architecture Review in 2020.”

Where are the women and youth peacebuilders?

Civil society Beijing +25 WPS-YPS Action Coalition launches its Advocacy Paper, calls for meaningful inclusion of Women and Peace and Security and Youth and Peace and Security in Generation Equality Forum

March 30, 2020 by Jenaina Irani and Katrina Leclerc

With the outbreak of the global pandemic of COVID-19, civil society-led Beijing+25 WPS-YPS Action Coalition strategized and mobilized. The pandemic did not stop their global advocacy: on March 17, 2020, they hosted an online event “Beijing+25: Where are the Women and Youth Peacebuilders?”, originally planned during the now-cancelled United Nations’ 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

As the situation continued to evolve – the CSW first postponed, then cancelled; gatherings in New York limited to maximum 10 people, then strongly discouraged altogether – women and youth peacebuilders who comprise the Action Coalition strategized and revised the modality of the event. Their determination and the success of the online discussion send a clear message: “Our resolve will not be stifled by the COVID-19. Our voices will not be silenced!”

Ultimately, the event took the form of a virtual roundtable discussion, which brought together 180 participants representing the civil society, Member States, and UN entities. They engaged in a strategic discussion on the necessary actions for the implementation of the WPS and YPS agendas and their intentional and meaningful inclusion in the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) process and outcomes, in order to prevent the weakening of agreed-upon language in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Women, Peace and Security and Youth, Peace and Security resolutions.

“There cannot be empowerment without peace, and there cannot be peace without gender equality,” said Mallika Iyer, GNWP’s Program Officer, as she introduced the Advocacy Paper developed by the Beijing +25 WPS-YPS Action Coalition identifying and coordinating messaging on key recommendations from civil society within the Beijing+25/GEF process. The key messages and recommendations of the paper were presented by participating organizations of the civil society-led Action Coalition from Afghanistan, Latin America, Iraq, the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Ukraine, and Canada. Their message was echoed by many of the other high-level speakers and grassroots activists who took the floor during the discussion.

Keynote speakers included Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and initiator of UNSCR 1325, Dr. Patricia Licuanan, former Chair of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Ms. Bandana Rana, Vice-Chair of the CEDAW Committee, Ms. Paivi Kannisto, Chief, Women, Peace, and Security and Humanitarian Action Section at  UN Women, Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill, Canada’s Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security, Ms. Cecile Mazzacurati, Head of the Secretariat of the Global Coalition on Youth, Peace, and Security at UNFPA and Ms. Shannon Kowalski, from the International Women’s Health Coalition and the civil society representative to the GEF Core Group and Dr. Lina Abirafeh, Executive Director of the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University. All of them have agreed that the GEF offers an important opportunity to step up the commitment and action for gender equality. As Ambassador Chowdhury put it, “The year 2020 gives us the opportunity to put renewed energy to roll back the dual scourges of patriarchy and misogyny” – but only if WPS and YPS are meaningfully integrated into all discussions and outcomes.

In an encouraging development for women and youth peacebuilders around the world, keynote speaker Ms. Sarah Hendricks, Director, Policy, Program, and Intergovernmental Division at UN Women announced that GEF’s core group set up a task force to identify specific actions that can strengthen WPS and YPS integration into the GEF process. The task force identified four possible modalities for WPS and YPS integration and conducted consultations with the civil society, from which two options emerged as the most viable:

1)        a stand-alone Action Coalition, or

2)        a “hybrid” mechanism, which, for now, has been termed a WPS compact

Ms. Hendricks explained that the compact approach has some strong level of support, as it would build on existing normative frameworks of both the WPS and YPS agendas, while remaining grounded in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Discussions on the potential compact will continue to be shaped based on consultations with civil society, Member States, and the core group of the GEF process.

The welcome announcement came as a result of persistent civil society advocacy over the past months. The strong and enthusiastic participation of peacebuilding organizations from around the world in the virtual discussion shows that women and youth peacebuilders are ready to continue the advocacy for their meaningful inclusion in GEF progress and outcomes. As Ms. Mavic Cabrera Balleza, CEO and founder of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders emphasized in her closing remarks, “COVID-19 will not stop women and youth peacebuilders from our advocacy to make our voices heard!”


Want to know more about the Beijing+25 Action Coalition on WPS-YPS? Click here.

For full recording of the March 17th event: Click here.

No empowerment without peace! Civil Society-Led Coalition Launches Advocacy Paper, Urges Intentional Integration of the Women and Peace and Security and Youth and Peace and Security Agendas in the Generation Equality Forum

No empowerment without peace! Civil Society-Led Coalition Launches Advocacy Paper, Urges Intentional Integration of the Women and Peace and Security and Youth and Peace and Security Agendas in the Generation Equality Forum

March 18, 2020 by Mavic Cabrera Balleza, Agnieszka Fal Dutra Santos and Katrina Leclerc with contributions from Jenaina Irani

The Women and Peace and Security (WPS) and Youth, and Peace and Security (YPS) agendas cannot be siloed from the gender equality agenda! This was the resounding message from Ambassadors Ghanshyam Bhandari of Nepal, Xolisa Mabhongo of South Africa and Victoria Sulimani of Sierra Leone who co-sponsored the online roundtable discussion Beijing+25: Where are the Women and Youth Peacebuilders? on March 17, 2020. The message from the three Ambassadors reinforces the persistent call and advocacy of more than 150 civil society networks and organizations that formed a civil society-led Beijing +25 WPS and YPS Action Coalition[1] in November 2019: The call was further reiterated by the other speakers who expressed concern about the under-representation of women and youth peacebuilders in the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action and its new incarnation, the Generation Equality Forum (GEF); and called for a stand-alone Action Coalition on WPS and YPS.  

Making our voices heard: civil society Advocacy Paper on WPS and YPS

The roundtable discussion was organized by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) on behalf of the civil society-led Beijing +25 WPS and YPS Action Coalition[3]. It was initially planned as an in-person event. However, given the movement restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID19), the organizers have decided to hold the event online. This did not deter civil society, government and UN representatives from around the world from attending. A staggering 180+ participants joined the online roundtable to discuss the centrality of peace and security in the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the GEF and its outcomes.

The discussion also served as the platform to launch the Advocacy Paper, a document which explores the nexus between the gender equality agenda and WPS and YPS agendas, and presents actionable recommendations for the achievement of lasting gender equality for all – with an inclusive peace as its pre-requisite. Developed through a participatory process with substantive inputs from regional, national and local organizations that form the civil society-led Action Coalition, the Advocacy Paper reflects a broad range of views and perspectives of what gender equality means in the context of conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations.  Its core message is clear: there can be no empowerment without peace; and no peace without gender equality!

This key message drove the civil-society led Beijing +25 WPS-YPS Action Coalition to staunchly advocate for the full, intentional and meaningful integration of WPS and YPS in all outcomes of the Beijing +25 and GEF processes. This includes in particular the Action Coalitions, the multi-stakeholder thematic groupings expected to catalyze collective action, spark global and inter-generational conversations, mobilize resources and political will, and deliver results that further advance equality for women and girls. WPS and YPS were not included among the Action Coalitions announced by UN Women in early 2020. Peace and security was also not included among the cross-cutting issues.

New possibilities: Compact Coalition on WPS and YPS

One of the highlights of the roundtable discussion was the presentation by Ms. Sarah Hendriks, UN Women’s Director of Policy, Program and Intergovernmental Division. She presented several different options to ensure meaningful and intentional integration of the WPS and YPS agendas in the GEF, which were devised by the GEF Task Force in response to the civil society advocacy:

1. A stand-alone Action Coalition on WPS and YPS;

2. Broadening an existing Action Coalition by incorporating WPS and YPS;

3. Integrating WPS and YPS actions across all existing Action Coalitions; and

4. Building a Compact Coalition on WPS and YPS to spur action on the existing normative frameworks on WPS and humanitarian action.

According to Ms. Hendriks, consultations with women and youth peacebuilders in New York and around the world reveal that a Stand-alone Action Coalition and a Compact Coalition are the most acceptable and highly viable options. The Compact Coalition, which Ms. Hendricks referred to as a “hybrid solution” in particular emerged as a salient option, given the fact that there is already a strong normative framework and a number of coordination mechanisms on WPS. The Compact Coalition would help consolidate and advance the normative framework on WPS – including National Action Plans – and bring more visibility and opportunities for implementation of both WPS and YPS, without replicating already existing efforts. Ms. Hendricks explained some of the principles of the Compact Coalition further, including:

1. It would be grounded in the principles of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action;

2. It would purposely and intentionally engage young women peacebuilders & young women affected by crises;

3. It would strengthen coordination between the existing WPS and humanitarian action systems, networks, mechanisms, partnerships and capacities;

4. Women and young women peacebuilders & crisis-affected women and young women – would be meaningfully included in its design and management structure;

5. It would be guaranteed strong visibility throughout the GEF process and will serve as an opportunity to give impetus to the 20th Anniversary of UNSCR 1325;

6. It would receive the recognition, political support and financial commitment akin to this given to the Action Coalitions;

7. It would be accompanied by sustainable and predictable financing, with due diligence applied to the funding partners; and would include an accountability mechanism.

We have come a long way: civil society advocacy for women and youth peacebuilders voices

The announcement of the four options – including the Compact Coalition – came following months of intense civil society advocacy for meaningful and intentional integration of WPS and YPS in the GEF. Prior to the roundtable discussion and the launch of the Advocacy Paper, the Beijing + 25 WPS-YPS Action Coalition under the coordination of GNWP, circulated an open letter to the core group of the GEF[2] calling for the official recognition of the WPS-YPS Action Coalition.  The UN High-Level Advisory Group for the 2015 Global Study on UNSCR 1325 under the coordination of Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury also sent out a letter to the GEF Core Group calling for a stand-alone Action Coalition on WPS and YPS. GNWP CEO, Mavic Cabrera-Balleza wrote an op-ed “A Woman Peacebuilder’s Reflections on Beijing+25 & the Generation Equality Forum” published by Inter Press Service that explains why the success of the GEF and its outcomes are dependent on the extent and quality of the participation of civil society groups representing diverse issues and initiatives – including women and youth peacebuilders.

Since July 2019, GNWP has actively participated in numerous discussions on the Beijing + 25 and Generation Equality Forum processes. From July 2019 to February 2020, GNWP consulted with grassroots women’s rights and feminist organizations as well as national, regional, and global civil society networks to develop an Advocacy Paper that presents shared messages and recommendations of women and youth peacebuilders for the GEF, as well as the 20th anniversary of UNSCR 1325, 5th anniversary of UNSCR 2250, and 5-year review of the Sustainable Development Goals. In December 2019, it launched the civil society-led WPS and YPS Action Coalition. It monitored the national and regional Beijing + 25 Review processes outcome documents. It participated in the “design sprint” in Paris, in February 2020, during which the modalities and format of the proposed Action Coalitions were discussed, and used this platform to demonstrate the impossibility of simply mainstreaming WPS and YPS into existing Action Coalitions. It held numerous meetings with other civil society groups from around the world, Member States, UN agencies and entities, and high-level UN leadership to advocate for a stand-alone Coalition on WPS and YPS and find ways to meaningfully integrate the WPS and YPS agendas in the GEF process and outcomes.

During the roundtable discussion, GNWP stressed the commitment of civil society to work closely with UN Women and other members of the GEF Core Group to examine the details of the Compact Coalition and ensure that it leads to full and meaningful integration of WPS and YPS priorities. We have come a long way, but there is still a way to go. The civil society and women and youth peacebuilders are ready for it!

To join the Beijing+25 WPS-YPS Global Coalition listserv, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/6Z7tsyj8xe8bPneU7

For more information, please contact: Mallika Iyer, Program Officer, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders; Mallika@gnwp.org


[1] The civil society-led Beijing +25 WPS-YPS Action Coalition is composed of more than 150 grassroots women’s rights and feminist organizations and civil society networks around the world who are advocating for the meaningful participation of women and youth peacebuilders in the Generation Equality Forum.

[2] The Generation Equality Forum core group is composed of the Governments of France and Mexico, UN Women and the International Women’s Health Coalition and the Foundation for Studies and Research on Women representing civil society.

[3] In partnership with The Permanent Missions of Sierra Leone, Nepal, and South Africa; UN Women; UNFPA; UNDP; The Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth; the NGO CSW/NY; Oxfam; Wo=men the Dutch Gender Platform; Center for Civil Society and Democracy; Canadian Council of Young Feminists; Institute of International Women’s Rights; Fontaine-Isoko and the NGO Working Group on WPS in the Great Lakes Region of Africa; Women, Peace, and Security Network – Canada; Inclusive Society; Canadian Voice of Women for Peace; and the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Center for Women

55+ Women and Youth Organizations and Networks Launch the Beijing+25 Women, Peace, and Security – Youth, Peace, and Security Action Coalition

55+ Women and Youth Organizations and Networks Launch the Beijing+25 Women, Peace, and Security – Youth, Peace, and Security Action Coalition

 

On December 12th, 2019, 55+ organizations and networks representing over 35 countries from all regions of the world launched the Beijing+25 Women, Peace, and Security – Youth, Peace, and Security Action Coalition in New York and online. They expressed concerned about the weak participation of women and young women peacebuilders in regional Beijing +25 consultations. They vowed to advocate for strong language on Women, Peace, and Security and Youth, Peace, and Security in the outcome documents of the Beijing +25 processes.

 

The WPS-YPS Action Coalition’s objectives are to:

1. Increase awareness of civil society organizations, in particular grassroots organizations working in conflict affected countries and territories about the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Beijing +25 process and ensure that their key messages on the WPS and YPS Agendas are reflected in all discussions on Beijing +25, including the Generation Equality Global Forum and their outcome documents;

2. Improve coordination and collaboration among civil society organizations that advocate for the effective implementation of the YPS and WPS resolutions in order to strengthen impact of advocacy with Member States, UN entities, regional organizations in the lead up to the Generation Equality Global Forum and beyond;

3. Facilitate discussions on the intersection of WPS and YPS with the other thematic focuses of the Generation Equality Forum namely, environmental conservation; protection and rehabilitation; freedom from violence; stigma and stereotypes; poverty eradication; social protection and social services; inclusive development, shared prosperity and decent work; participation, accountability and gender-responsive institutions;

4. Produce a WPS-YPS advocacy paper that strongly reflects local voices and brings together key civil society advocacy messages and asks from all sub-thematic areas of the WPS and YPS Agendas, including their intersections with the other thematic areas of the Generation Equality Global Forum; and

5. Present core messages in the WPS-YPS advocacy paper in all key events on Beijing + 25, 20th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 and 5th anniversary of UNSCR 2250; and advocate for their integration into the Beijing+25 Feminist and Women’s Movement Action Plan as well as in 2020 reports of the Secretary-General on WPS and YPS.

 

The 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action coincides with two other important anniversaries: the 20th anniversary of the landmark United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS); and the 5th anniversary of UNSCR 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS). WPS and YPS agendas recognize the agency and critical roles played by women and young women in conflict-resolution, conflict-prevention, prevention of sexual violence in conflict, peacebuilding, and sustaining peace. Strong synergy between the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the WPS and YPS resolutions is necessary to build intersectional solidarity and galvanize global action on women’s rights, gender equality, peaceful and inclusive societies.

 

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To join the B+25 WPS-YPS Global Coalition listserv, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/6Z7tsyj8xe8bPneU7

For more information, please contact: Mallika Iyer, Program Officer, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders; Mallika@gnwp.org

 


The Fourth World Women’s Conference was held over a two-week period in Beijing, China in September 1995. The Conference provided a forum for thousands of delegates representing 189 countries and approximately 30,000 activists to collaborate on the most ambitious framework for the advancement of women’s rights to date. This collaborative process, which involved debate, negotiation, lobbying and networking between stakeholders resulted in the policy framework called the Beijing Platform for Action.

The Beijing Platform outlined twelve critical areas of concern for the advancement of women’s rights, which continue to be relevant today. They deal with the relationships between women and: Poverty; Education and training; Health; Violence against women; Armed Conflict; Economy; Power and decision-making; Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women; Human rights; Media; Environment; and the girl child.