Category: National Action Plans

Category: National Action Plans

See Us, Hear Us, Join Us! Women Peacebuilders in Colombia Defy COVID-19 and Promote Inclusive Peace

November 30, 2020

By Beatriz Ciordia and Cecilia Lazara

Edited by Agnieszka Fal-Dutra Santos

“We will never be seen as changemakers if the public does not see, read or listen about the work that we, as women, do in our communities”, noted women’s rights activist and a member of the Red Nacional de Mujeres (National Women’s Network; RNM) Vanessa Liévano during a Localization of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) workshop held in December 2019 in Popayán. Popayán is the capital of Cauca, one of the departments most affected by the decades-long conflict in Colombia. The workshop was organized by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) in partnership with RNM and Red Departamental de Mujeres de Cauca (Departmental Network of Women in Cauca), and with the support of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). Liévano’s words resonate even louder today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – a public health crisis that has had severe impacts on women’s rights, human security and peace in Colombia. The pandemic has exacerbated gender inequalities, put women at a greater risk of violence, and created new challenges for the implementation of the peace agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC).

Despite these challenges, women and youth peacebuilders in Colombia have been at the forefront of the response to the intersecting health, humanitarian and security crises caused by COVID-19. RNM supported women peacebuilders to prepare and distribute food packages, hygiene and reproductive health products, such as contraceptive pills, condoms and pregnancy tests, to women and girls, the elderly, people with disabilities, refugees, and internally displaced persons. RNM collaborated with the indigenous guard to make sure that the packages reach indigenous women and girls living in remote areas. In parallel, women activists have also continued their peacebuilding work, monitoring the peace agreement implementation, translating local needs into concrete policy proposals, and advocating for the inclusion of gender-responsive provisions in local development plans.

However, illustrating the truth of Vanessa Liévano’s words, the work of Colombian women to address COVID-19 and its impacts remains largely unseen and unsupported. Against this background, women peacebuilders warn that the pandemic threatens the achievements of the women’s movement and the WPS agenda. Their message is clear: we cannot afford to back down. The implementation of the peace agreement and WPS agenda needs to continue despite the new and growing challenges. Peace simply cannot wait!

Peace in Colombia is more fragile than ever

The signing of the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC in 2018 was a great achievement for the women’s movement in the country. The agreement, which includes more than 120 gender-responsive provisions, has been hailed internationally as an example of good practice. Its strength came to a large extent from the contributions of women—both as negotiators and civil society. However, as a 2018 Kroc Institute report points out, the implementation of the agreement has been slow, and there have been many delays, especially on the implementation of gender-responsive provisions. The delays are partly due to the failure of President Iván Duque and his administration to make progress on key elements of the agreement, including the reintegration of the former combatants and the rural economic reform.

Women peacebuilders are concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic will further slow down the already delayed implementation. They warn that resources are diverted from peace agreement implementation to emergency health response. They also urge that adoption and implementation of the development plans at the municipal, departmental and national levels must not be delayed due to the pandemic, since they are key instruments in translating the peace agreement into concrete actions on the ground. “The current crisis is being used as an excuse not to address issues related to peace. For [the government], there’s only one priority: the pandemic”, says Francy Jaramillo, a member of the Red Departmental de Mujeres del Cauca. Women who participated in a recent research conducted by GNWP stressed that pandemic was used as an excuse to channel funds away from the transitional justice institutions established under the peace agreement, including the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, making their work more difficult.

Colombia’s fragile peace is further endangered by the ongoing fighting among armed groups to control key territories. During the pandemic, the groups have moved to consolidate their power, and fighting intensified in many departments. In Cauca, armed groups imposed confinement measures on local communities. In most cases, these restrictions were more severe than those imposed by the national government. In Popayán, for instance, armed groups dictated who was allowed to leave and enter certain territories, leaving women and communities completely at their mercy. “We now have to face two crises: the ongoing, worsening conflict in Colombia, and the new COVID-19 crisis”, Jaramillo stressed.

The armed groups have also stepped up their recruitment during the pandemic. The closure of schools and daycare centers has made children and young women and men more vulnerable, and allowed armed groups to easily recruit and exploit girls and boys, who no longer have the protection of a classroom. There has also been a spike in the number of girls and women killed by firearms in rural areas, where clashes between criminal groups have increased dramatically. All of this has made the peace in Colombia more fragile than ever.

Colombian women are under threat during the pandemic

In parallel, COVID-19 has exacerbated threats faced by women and girls in Colombia, many of whom have become targets of unprecedented levels of violence, especially in rural areas. According to Indepaz, a local watchdog organization, at least 251 community and human rights leaders have been murdered in Colombia in 2020. The number of femicides increased at an extremely alarming rate  in September, when 86 women were murdered across the country—the highest monthly total since 2017. Cauca continues to be one of the most dangerous departments for women peacebuilders and human rights defenders. According to Jaramillo, since the beginning of the pandemic, 38 femicides have been registered in this department. Yet, like the work done by women peacebuilders, the attacks on women remain invisible, and many of the cases have not been reported by the media.

The lockdown measures implemented by the government have further exposed women to risk, as many of them found themselves trapped with their abusers. As a result, the domestic violence hotline (“linea purpura”) in Bogotá received twice as many reports of domestic violence during the lockdown as before. Moreover, as Colombia was put under lockdown to stop the spread of the deadly virus, many women were unable to carry out their work and advocacy. They had to give up the independence and freedom they had fought so hard for. “I don’t know if we’ll manage to make women leave their homes and become politically active again”, shared Jaramillo, adding that the situation is even more challenging for indigenous women. “Many of them tell us that, for them, there is no pandemic because they’ve always lived like this”.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also exposed the gendered digital gap and the inequalities that persist between rural and urban areas in Colombia. Due to the lack of internet connectivity in remote areas, many rural women were unable to actively participate in the advocacy for the implementation of the peace agreement, and better protection of women activists. This affected particularly indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, which had more limited access to technology, and capacity to make use of it, before the pandemic. Access to technology has become a basic right; therefore, it is essential to expand platforms to amplify the voices of women and girls at all levels.

An opportunity for mobilization and Innovation

At the same time, COVID-19 has also demonstrated the resilience of the women’s movement. Despite the challenges and the barriers in access to the digital spaces, women peacebuilders did not stop their work. According to Jaramillo, “the women’s movement has been strengthened as we resort to alternative strategies; this serves as a push for a more connected movement”. Women peacebuilders who participated in virtual convenings organized by GNWP and RNM pointed out that citizen involvement did not stop during COVID-19, and that some women feel more comfortable in the new situation, as they have the possibility to turn off their videos and express their feelings in a safe environment. “The pandemic can divide us physically, but it does not silence us”, said one of the participants of the Localization workshops in Cauca during one of the weekly virtual meetings RNM and GNWP held to monitor the progress of the peace agreement.

Women in Colombia and around the world are using the pandemic as an opportunity to call for structural changes needed to build sustainable and inclusive peace. These include:

  • Valuing women’s unpaid work

Beatriz Quintero, head of RNM, agrees that the health crisis has contributed to bringing more attention to women’s care work. “One positive side of this pandemic is that Colombians have finally started talking about women’s unpaid work”, she reflected, adding that “policy-makers must recognize the value of what has been considered a natural female task”. Additionally, feminists groups are also seizing this moment to advocate for more equitable economic policies that allow women in the informal sector to have more job security and receive pensions and other social benefits.

  • Shifting from militarized culture to human security

COVID-19 also creates an opportunity to re-evaluate global priorities. The record-high global military expenditure in 2019  has not stopped the health crisis, nor made anyone safer during COVID-19. On the contrary, the pandemic has brought to light the dangers of over-militarized cultures, including the abuse of power. Jaramillo shared that although “the military forces have always abused power in Colombia”, the distrust between the security forces and Colombian society has deepened since the pandemic.

  • Recognizing and amplifying women’s leadership

Women’s work can no longer be obscured by patriarchal narratives and approaches. As Liévano emphasized during the Localization workshop held by GNWP and RNM in December 2019, it is of utmost importance to recognize the efforts made by women peacebuilders to achieve sustainable and inclusive peace in their communities, especially during these challenging times.

At GNWP, we believe that journalists and media practitioners are critical allies in our fight for the recognition and advancement of women’s rights and sustainable and inclusive peace. They can define the way people perceive women and girls, either representing them as sex objects and helpless victims, or highlighting their agency and leadership. Unfortunately, the dominant narrative usually portrays women as passive victims in need of protection, rather than promoting their role as active agents for peace.

To challenge this perspective, GNWP and RNM, in partnership with Pacifista and with the support of Norad, launched a National Media and WPS Prize, to encourage journalists to write, film and record stories that promote women’s leadership in the peace process and showcase their relentless activism. Look out for our next blog sharing the results of the Prize!

COVID-19 gave rise to unprecedented challenges to peace, and to women’s rights, in Colombia and around the world. However, it also provides an opportunity to reflect on what type of future we hope for – and how to achieve it. Colombian women we engaged through GNWP’s Localization work want a peaceful world that has overcome unequal gender barriers, a world where women’s voices are heard, and their leadership capacity is justly recognized.

GNWP’s experience working with women peacebuilders around the world tells us that this is possible – but only if women are meaningfully included and their relentless work for just and equal societies recognized and supported. We are committed to continue our efforts towards this future. To our members and partners who are leading this change in Colombia and beyond, we say: we see you, we hear you and we are with you!


¡Mírenos, escúchenos, únase a nosotras! Mujeres constructoras de paz en Colombia desafían al COVID-19 y promueven una paz inclusiva.

30 de noviembre de 2020

Por Beatriz Ciordia y Cecilia Lazara

Editado por Agnieszka Fal-Dutra Santos

 “Nunca podremos ser reconocidas como agentes de cambio si otros no ven, leen o escuchan sobre el trabajo que nosotras, como mujeres, hacemos en nuestras comunidades”, señaló la activista por los derechos de las mujeres y miembro de la Red Nacional de Mujeres (RNM) Vanessa Liévano durante el taller de Localización sobre Mujeres, Paz y Seguridad (MPS) realizado en diciembre de 2019 en Popayán. Popayán es la capital del Cauca, uno de los departamentos más afectados por el conflicto armado de Colombia. El taller fue organizado por la Red Global de Mujeres Constructoras de Paz (GNWP, por sus siglas en inglés) en colaboración con RNM y la Red Departamental de Mujeres de Cauca, y con el apoyo de la Agencia Noruega para Cooperación al Desarrollo (Norad). Hoy en día, las palabras de Liévano resuenan aún más fuerte en medio de la pandemia de COVID-19 – una crisis de salud pública que ha causado un severo impacto sobre los derechos de las mujeres, la seguridad humana y la paz en Colombia. La pandemia ha exacerbado las desigualdades de género, ha puesto a las mujeres en mayor riesgo de violencia y ha creado nuevos desafíos para la implementación del acuerdo de paz con las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

A pesar de estos desafíos, en Colombia, las mujeres, así como las jóvenes y los jóvenes constructores de paz, han estado a la vanguardia de la respuesta a las crisis entrecruzadas de salud, humanitarias y de seguridad causadas por COVID-19. RNM ha estado apoyando a las mujeres constructoras de paz, preparando y distribuyendo paquetes de alimentos y productos de higiene y salud reproductiva (como píldoras anticonceptivas, condones y pruebas de embarazo) a mujeres y niñas, ancianos, personas con discapacidad, refugiados y desplazados internos. RNM también ha colaborado ​​con la guardia indígena para asegurarse de que los paquetes lleguen a las mujeres y niñas indígenas que viven en áreas remotas. Paralelamente, las mujeres activistas también han continuado su trabajo de consolidación de paz, monitoreando la implementación del acuerdo, traduciendo las necesidades locales en propuestas de políticas concretas y abogando por la inclusión de disposiciones con enfoque de género en los planes de desarrollo local.

Sin embargo, como bien ha señalado Vanessa Liévano, el trabajo de las mujeres colombianas para abordar el COVID-19 y sus impactos permanece en gran parte invisible y sin respaldo. En este contexto, las mujeres constructoras de paz advierten que la pandemia amenaza los logros del movimiento de mujeres y la agenda MPS. Por tanto, su mensaje es claro: no podemos darnos el lujo de dar marcha atrás. La implementación del acuerdo de paz y la agenda MPS debe continuar a pesar de los nuevos y crecientes desafíos. ¡La paz simplemente no puede esperar!

La paz en Colombia, más frágil que nunca

La firma del acuerdo de paz entre el Gobierno de Colombia y las FARC en el 2018 fue un gran logro para el movimiento de las mujeres en el país. El acuerdo, que incluye más de 120 disposiciones con enfoque de género, ha sido aclamado internacionalmente como un ejemplo de buena práctica. En gran medida, su fuerza provino de las contribuciones de las mujeres, tanto como negociadoras así como miembros de la sociedad civil. Sin embargo, como remarca el informe del Instituto Kroc de 2018, la implementación del acuerdo ha sido lenta y ha habido muchos retrasos, especialmente en lo que respecta a las disposiciones con enfoque de género. En parte, las demoras se deben a que el presidente Iván Duque y su administración no han logrado avanzar en elementos clave del acuerdo, tales como la reintegración de los excombatientes y la reforma económica rural.

Una gran preocupación entre las mujeres constructoras de paz es que la pandemia de COVID-19 ralentice aún más la ya demorada implementación. En los últimos tiempos han advertido que los recursos nacionales se han desviado de la implementación del acuerdo hacia la respuesta de emergencia sanitaria. Asimismo, las mujeres exigen el cumplimiento de la adopción e implementación de los planes de desarrollo a nivel municipal, departamental y nacional por temor a que se retrasen debido a la pandemia. Los planes de desarrollo representan instrumentos clave para traducir el acuerdo de paz en acciones concretas sobre el terreno. “La crisis actual se utiliza como excusa para evitar abordar cuestiones relacionadas con la paz. Para [el gobierno], solo hay una prioridad: la pandemia”, explica Francy Jaramillo, integrante de la Red Departamental de Mujeres del Cauca. A su vez, en una investigación realizada por GNWP, las mujeres constructoras de paz han destacado que su trabajo resulta cada vez más difícil debido a que la pandemia se percibe como una excusa para desviar fondos de las instituciones de justicia transicional establecidas en virtud del acuerdo de paz, incluida la Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz.

Paralelamente, el frágil proceso de paz en Colombia se ve aún más amenazado por los constantes combates entre grupos armados que se disputan el control de territorios claves. Durante la pandemia, los grupos se han movilizado para consolidar su poder y la lucha se intensificó en muchos departamentos. En Cauca, por ejemplo, los grupos armados impusieron medidas de confinamiento a las comunidades locales. En la mayoría de los casos, estas restricciones fueron más severas que las impuestas por el gobierno nacional. En Popayán, por otra parte, los grupos armados controlaban a quién se le permitía salir y entrar en ciertos territorios, dejando a las mujeres y comunidades completamente a su merced. “Ahora tenemos que enfrentar dos crisis: el conflicto en curso en Colombia y la nueva crisis del COVID-19”, enfatizó Jaramillo.

Lamentablemente también se ha intensificado el reclutamiento por parte de los grupos armados durante la pandemia. El cierre de escuelas y guarderías ha aumentado la vulnerabilidad de los niños, las mujeres y los hombres jóvenes y ha permitido que los grupos recluten y exploten fácilmente a niñas y niños, que no cuentan con la protección de un aula. A su vez, se ha producido un aumento en el número de niñas y mujeres asesinadas por armas de fuego en las zonas rurales, donde los enfrentamientos entre grupos criminales han aumentado de manera dramática. Todos estos hechos demuestran que el proceso de paz de Colombia se encuentra más frágil que nunca.

Mujeres colombianas amenazadas durante la pandemia

COVID-19 ha exacerbado las amenazas que enfrentan las mujeres y niñas en Colombia, muchas de las cuales se han convertido en blanco de niveles de violencia sin precedentes, especialmente en áreas rurales. Según Indepaz, una organización que realiza el monitoreo del conflicto, al menos 251 líderes comunitarios y de derechos humanos han sido asesinados en Colombia durante el 2020. Además, el número de femicidios aumentó a un ritmo extremadamente alarmante. En septiembre, 86 mujeres fueron asesinadas en todo el país, el total mensual más alto desde 2017. El Cauca sigue siendo uno de los departamentos más peligrosos para las mujeres constructoras de paz y defensoras de derechos humanos. Según Jaramillo, desde el inicio de la pandemia se han registrado 38 femicidios en este departamento. Sin embargo, al igual que el trabajo realizado por mujeres constructoras de paz, los ataques a las mujeres permanecen invisibles y muchos de los casos no son reportados por los medios de comunicación.

Las medidas de contención implementadas por el gobierno para detener la propagación del virus mortal han incrementado el riesgo de violencia para las mujeres, ya que muchas de ellas permanecieron atrapadas con sus abusadores. Como resultado, la línea directa de violencia doméstica (“línea púrpura”) en Bogotá recibió el doble de denuncias de violencia doméstica durante el encierro en comparación al período previo a la cuarentena. A su vez, a causa de estas medidas, varias mujeres activistas no pudieron llevar a cabo su trabajo de promoción y defensa por la paz. Tuvieron que renunciar a su independencia y libertad por la que tanto habían luchado. “No sé si lograremos que las mujeres abandonen sus hogares y vuelvan a ser políticamente activas”, compartió Jaramillo, y agregó que la situación es aún más desafiante para las mujeres indígenas. “Muchos nos dicen que, para ellos, no hay pandemia porque siempre han vivido así”.

La pandemia de COVID-19 también ha puesto de manifiesto la brecha digital de género y las desigualdades que persisten entre las zonas rurales y urbanas de Colombia. Debido a la falta de conectividad a Internet en áreas remotas, muchas mujeres rurales no pudieron participar activamente en la promoción para la implementación del acuerdo de paz, y una mejor protección de las mujeres activistas. Esto afectó particularmente a las comunidades indígenas y afrocolombianas, ya que antes de la pandemia tenían un acceso más limitado a la tecnología y a los recursos para su utilización. Como se puede observar, el acceso a la tecnología se ha convertido en un derecho básico; por lo tanto, es fundamental ampliar las plataformas para amplificar las voces de las mujeres y las niñas en todos los niveles posibles.

Una oportunidad para la movilización y la innovación

Simultáneamente, COVID-19 también ha destacado la resistencia del movimiento de mujeres. A pesar de los desafíos y las barreras en el acceso a los espacios digitales, las mujeres constructoras de paz no detuvieron su trabajo. Según Jaramillo, “el movimiento de mujeres se ha fortalecido al recurrir a estrategias alternativas; esto sirve como impulso para un movimiento más conectado”. Las mujeres constructoras de paz que participaron en convocatorias virtuales organizadas por GNWP y RNM señalaron que la participación ciudadana no se suspendió durante el COVID-19, y que algunas mujeres incluso se sienten más cómodas con esta nueva situación, ya que tienen la posibilidad de apagar sus videos y expresar sus sentimientos en un ambiente seguro. “La pandemia puede dividirnos físicamente, pero no nos silencia”, expresó uno de los participantes de los talleres de localización en Cauca durante una de las reuniones virtuales semanales que RNM y GNWP realizaron para monitorear el avance del acuerdo de paz.

Las mujeres en Colombia y en todo el mundo están utilizando la pandemia como una oportunidad para reclamar cambios estructurales necesarios para la construcción de una paz sostenible e inclusiva. Estos cambios incluyen:

  • Valorar el trabajo no remunerado de las mujeres

Beatriz Quintero, directora de RNM, coincide en que la crisis de salud ha contribuido a resaltar el trabajo de cuidado de la mujer. “Un lado positivo de esta pandemia es que los colombianos finalmente han comenzado a hablar sobre el trabajo no remunerado que ejercen las mujeres”, y a su vez agrega que “los legisladores deben reconocer el valor de lo que se ha considerado una tarea natural de las mujeres”. Asimismo, los grupos feministas también están aprovechando este momento para abogar por políticas económicas más equitativas que permitan a las mujeres en el sector informal tener más seguridad laboral y recibir pensiones y otros beneficios sociales.

  • Pasar de una cultura militarizada a una cultura que tenga en cuenta la seguridad humana

COVID-19 también crea una oportunidad para reevaluar las prioridades globales. El gasto militar mundial récord durante el 2019 no ha detenido la crisis de salud ni ha garantizado una mayor seguridad para los individuos. Por el contrario, la pandemia ha develado los peligros de las culturas sobre-militarizadas, incluido el abuso de poder. Jaramillo compartió que aunque “las fuerzas militares siempre han abusado del poder en Colombia”, la desconfianza entre las fuerzas de seguridad y la sociedad colombiana se ha profundizado desde el inicio de la emergencia sanitaria.

  • Reconocer y ampliar el liderazgo de las mujeres

El trabajo de las mujeres no puede seguir oculto detrás de narrativas y enfoques patriarcales. Como bien destacó Liévano durante el taller de localización celebrado por GNWP y RNM en diciembre de 2019, es esencial que se reconozcan los esfuerzos realizados por las mujeres constructoras de paz para lograr una paz sostenible e inclusiva en sus comunidades, especialmente durante estos tiempos desafiantes.

En GNWP, creemos que los periodistas y los profesionales de los medios de comunicación son aliados fundamentales en nuestra lucha por el reconocimiento y el avance de los derechos de las mujeres y una paz sostenible e inclusiva. Estos actores pueden definir la forma en que las personas perciben a las mujeres y las niñas, ya sea representándolas como objetos sexuales y víctimas indefensas, o destacando su agencia y liderazgo. No obstante, desafortunadamente, la narrativa dominante suele presentar a las mujeres como víctimas pasivas que necesitan protección, en lugar de promover su papel como agentes activos para la paz.

Para desafiar esta perspectiva, GNWP y RNM, en asociación con Pacifista y con el apoyo de Norad, lanzaron un Premio Nacional de Medios y MPS. Su objetivo principal fue alentar a los periodistas a escribir, filmar y grabar historias que promuevan el liderazgo de las mujeres en el proceso de paz y muestren su implacable activismo. ¡Estén atentos a nuestro próximo blog que compartirá los resultados del Premio!

COVID-19 generó desafíos sin precedentes para la paz y los derechos de las mujeres en Colombia y en el mundo. Sin embargo, también representa una oportunidad para reflexionar sobre el tipo de futuro que deseamos y cómo lograrlo. Las mujeres colombianas, que tuvimos el placer de conocer a través del trabajo de localización de GNWP, desean un mundo pacífico que haya superado las barreras de género desiguales; un mundo donde se escuchen sus voces y se reconozca con justicia su capacidad de liderazgo.

La experiencia de GNWP, trabajando con mujeres constructoras de paz en todo el mundo, nos dice que esto es posible – pero sólo si se incluye a las mujeres de manera significativa y se reconoce y apoya su incansable trabajo para construir sociedades justas e igualitarias. Estamos comprometidas para continuar nuestros esfuerzos para avanzar hacia este futuro. A todxs nuestrxs miembrxs y aliadxs globales que están liderando este cambio en Colombia y más allá, les queremos decir que: ¡lxs vemos, lxs escuchamos y estamos con ustedes!

Not an afterthought: Integrating a media strategy in Iraq’s 2nd National Action Plan on Resolution 1325

Not an afterthought: Integrating a media strategy in Iraq’s 2nd National Action Plan on Resolution 1325

November 15, 2018 by Dinah Lakehal*

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

 Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

What is the relationship between journalism, peace, and gender? According to a female journalist working in Erbil in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, “The role of mass media is to break the traditionally conservative stereotypes around gender in Iraq, but also to report on our government and hold it accountable.” This conversation took place during the workshop on the role of the media in implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1325, organized in Erbil on November 15 by GNWP in partnership with Women’s Empowerment Organization (WEO), and with support from Global Affairs Canada. The workshop convened journalists from across Iraq to discuss how media can highlight women’s roles as leaders, peacebuilders and decision-makers; and to draft a comprehensive media and communications strategy for  Iraq’s 2nd National Action Plan (NAP) on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and its supporting resolutions.

Media reporters who adopt a gender lens become key actors in promoting broad public awareness of WPS, and support and recognition of the role women play in preventing conflict, building and sustaining peace. This is particularly important in a context such as Iraq, where the war with the Islamic State has left a lasting impact on the entire society, including in particular women. However, while there is no better partner than media in advancing the role of women in peace and security, media is often an after-thought in the implementation of WPS. Put simply, media is often not considered a key partner in building and sustaining a gender-sensitive peace. In addition, policy-makers, civil society, and other stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of NAPs often speak in policy jargon, rendering their work “unattractive” to the press.

The workshop is part of GNWP’s broader work with media around the world to raise awareness of the WPS resolutions, stimulate debates, and generate public support for implementation. It is a component of GNWP’s “full cycle” approach to NAP implementation, which involves advocacy for the development of NAPs; drafting; costing and budgeting; implementation –especially through Localization; media partnership for broad-base awareness and support; and monitoring and evaluation.

The participants analyzed the media portrayal of women and men living in conflict-affected regions, such as Basra or Mosul; and discussed how to ensure gender-representativeness in reporting.  

Through the interactive discussions and hands-on exercises, the journalists drafted a media and communications strategy for the 2nd NAP. They worked hand in hand with representatives of the Cross-Sectoral Task Force (CSTF) on UNSCR 1325, responsible for drafting and implementing the NAP. The members of the CSTF committed to strengthening the coordination with media practitioners. Moreover, they committed to ensuring that rather than being an afterthought, the strategy will be integrated into the plan, and will form its integral 

part.

Some of the measures to be included in the media and communications strategy are:

– Train journalists on the NAP, human rights treaties and international documents, such as CEDAW;

– Include a media expert within the CSTF 1325;

– Institutionalize media work across all government branches;

– Report on positive stories of peacebuilding;

– Report on local women’s perspectives in conflict-affected cities or communities;

– Produce more “creative” content related to WPS using theatre, documentaries, music, etc., to attract wider audiences; and

– Conduct more investigative journalism on gender-based violence and other impacts of conflict on women.

GNWP and WEO will work closely with the CSTF 1325 and a local media expert to finalize the strategy and ensure that it is integrated into the NAP.

 

*The author is a Program Officer at the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders.

From Building Awareness to Building Peace – Local Actors in Gagauzia, Moldova, Commit to Implement Women, Peace and Security Resolutions in their Communities

From Building Awareness to Building Peace – Local Actors in Gagauzia, Moldova, Commit to Implement Women, Peace and Security Resolutions in their Communities

August 15, 2018 by Shalini Medepalli

Editor: Agnieszka Fal Dutra-Santos

“Ordinary people and grassroots organizations need to better understand the position of the government, so that they can be part of Moldova’s overall objectives and implementation of the National Action Plan  Women, Peace and Security.” – said Oxana Allistratova, a former teacher who now runs ‘NGO Interaction’ based in Tiraspol, the capital of the separatist Transnistrian region.

Oxana’s organization promotes human rights, women’s participation, and protection for victims of domestic violence in the Transnistrian region. During the Localization of the United Nations Security Council (UNSCR) 1325 workshop in Gagauzia, an autonomous region of Moldova bordering the Transnistrian region, she shared the challenges women and human rights defenders face across the administrative line, and the hope that the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda may contribute to addressing them. The workshop was organized by GNWP in partnership with Gender-Centru, Foreign Policy Association (APE) Moldova and the Moldovan State Bureau for Reintegration, and with support from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

Oxana was one of several representatives of the Transnistrian civil society who attended the workshop. For two days – August 14 and 15, 2018 – they worked alongside civil society organizations from Gagauzia; local Gagauzian authorities; representatives of the Moldovan government; security sector and the media, to increase their understanding of UNSCR 1325, the supporting WPS resolutions, and the recently adopted Moldovan National Action Plan to implement them; and identify concrete actions to implement these policies in their local communities.

The importance of knowledge, awareness and education was one of the key issues consistently brought up by participants. For example, the need for government transparency; and for Romanian language to be taught throughout the country to facilitate communication, and provide equal opportunities to all, were some of the ideas that emerged from the discussions on the impact of conflict in Gagauzia and Tiraspol.

During the two-day workshop, national and international experts explained the history and content of the UNSCR 1325 and supporting resolutions; related regional policies, such as the EU Comprehensive Approach and EU Gender Action Plan; and the existing national policies and government commitments on women, peace and security—among other topics.  The participants also discussed the concept of gender, the impact of gender norms on the lives of women and men in Gagauzia, and the linkages between peace and security, development and good governance. The participants applied the knowledge they acquired to analyze the conflict in the Transnistrian region; its impacts, the needs of women and men; and identify concrete actions to address these needs, and implement the WPS resolutions. Civil society representatives from Georgia and Ukraine came to the workshop as part of GNWP’s Peace Exchange Program and shared their work in implementing the resolutions in their countries. This enabled the participants to analyze the similarities and differences between these countries’ contexts, and understand potential  obstacles and next steps forward.

The workshop allowed the participants to identify the gaps and challenges that still remain for gender equality and gender-sensitive security in Gagauzia and Transnistria. It also resulted in some concrete plans and commitments, and inspired hope. As Mavic Cabrera-Balleza put it in an interview following the workshop, “it is crucial for the local actors, not just those in the room, but in all of Gagauzia, to understand how local development plans are implemented; and how they can contribute. Only then that we can expect effective implementation.”

Cooperation for better security – national stakeholders in Moldova discuss next steps for UNSCR 1325 implementation

Cooperation for better security – national stakeholders in Moldova discuss next steps for UNSCR 1325 implementation

August 13, 2018 by Agnieszka Fal-Dutra Santos

“Security means different things to different people. Especially today, human security is crucial. The National Action Plan (NAP) on UNSCR 1325 is important because it brought together different actors and governmental institutions to ensure comprehensive, inclusive and sustainable peace in Moldova” – said Ms. Elena Marzac, the civil society coordinator for the NAP process in Moldova. Moldova adopted its first NAP on 27 April 2018 – an important achievement, especially in the context, in which the effects of the separatist armed conflict in 1990s are still felt, both in the complex political situation and in everyday lives of the citizens.

On August 13, 2018, GNWP in partnership with Gender-Centru, Foreign Policy Association (APE) Moldova and the Moldovan State Bureau for Reintegration, and with support from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), held a workshop aimed at identifying the next steps and strategies for the implementation of the NAP. The workshop brought together government officials from the key Ministries responsible for NAP implementation; civil society representatives, including from the separatist region of Transnistria; media representatives; and international partners, including UN Women and the Austrian Embassy.

The workshop included expert presentations on the latest global developments on the Women, Peace and Security agenda; the Localization as a strategy for NAP implementation; and the process, content and challenges related to the Moldovan NAP. The participants also listened to Localization accounts and experiences from the representatives of civil society in Georgia and Ukraine, who participated in the workshop as part of GNWP’s Peace Exchange program.

The knowledge gained through the presentations allowed the participants to identify key gaps and next steps needed to effectively implement the Moldovan NAP. These included using media and social media to promote positive images of women in the security sector; and establishing or strengthening reporting and accountability mechanisms for sexual harassment in security institutions. Moreover, by bringing together representatives of different sectors, the workshop reinforced the cooperation and coordination on the NAP implementation. As Ms.Valentina Bodrug, President of the Gender Centru concluded, “Everyone has to be involved in NAP implementation – government, civil society, international organizations and the media all have a role to play”.  The workshop brought Moldova one step closer to an effective, intersectoral implementation of UNSCR 1325.

 

From Best Practice Example to a Standard Practice: Conference on the Localization of UNSCR 1325 and Supporting Resolutions

From Best Practice Example to a Standard Practice: Conference on the Localization of UNSCR 1325 and Supporting Resolutions

 February 13, 2018 by Agnieszka Fal-Dutra Santos

Kathmandu, Nepal–An increase in the number of women running for local elections in Nepal and the Philippines. Regular and systematic assessment of mayors’ and other local authorities’ implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). Better response to and prevention of gender-based violence in local districts. More realistic and implementable National Action Plan on WPS. These were some of the impacts of the Localization of UNSCR 1325 presented by the participants of the Conference on the Localization of UNSCR 1325 and Supporting Resolutions held in Kathmandu, Nepal on February 8 -10, 2018.

Organized by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), in partnership with 1325 Action Group – Nepal, the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction of Nepal, with support from UN Women, the Conference brought together lead implementers of National Action Plans (NAPs) on UNSCR 1325 and Localization practitioners from governments and civil society from 17 countries.  Representatives from the UN Women Headquarters in New York and UN Women Country Offices in Nepal and Ukraine also attended the Conference.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Bandana Rana, Coordinator of 1325 Action Group, Board Chair of GNWP and CEDAW Committee Member, described the Conference as an “exemplary illustration of the cooperation between the local, national and international partners.”

The Conference enabled participants to share outcomes and impacts of the Localization strategy in their countries, and to discuss Localization’s application to other political and peace processes such as the prevention of violent extremism and community-based conflict prevention; mediation, de-stigmatization of sexual violence; and the work towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Conference participants also discussed the challenges in implementing the Localization strategy, including limited funding and difficulty in ensuring continuity and institutional memory, especially given the frequent turnover of local officials. Changes in leadership at the national level following elections or cabinet re-shuffling was also cited as an obstacle to the sustainability of the Localization strategy and overall implementation of NAPs.

A key output of the Conference was the validation and endorsement of the draft Localization Toolkit, currently being developed by GNWP. The Toolkit aims to encourage and support stakeholders around the world to implement the Localization of 1325. The participants reviewed the Toolkit and provided invaluable feedback and inputs, which will help shape and strengthen not only the Localization Toolkit, but the overall implementation of the WPS resolutions.

The Localization of UNSCR 1325, pioneered by GNWP, is a people-based, bottom-up strategy that is based on the premise that local ownership and participation leads to more effective policy making and policy implementation. It convenes governors, mayors, councillors, community leaders, paramount chiefs, indigenous leaders and traditional leaders, religious leaders, women leaders, youth leaders, teachers, the security sector and all other key local actors — to formulate local action plans (LAPs), local legislation, and integrate UNSCR 1325 and the supporting WPS resolutions into community development plans. In the past six years, GNWP has facilitated the localization of the WPS resolutions in various countries including Armenia, Burundi, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Kenya, Nepal, Liberia, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Serbia, South Sudan and Uganda.  The Localization strategy and its outcomes have also been cited by the UN Secretary-General in his reports to the Security Council and highlighted by the 2015 Global Study on UNSCR 1325.

The Conference was an excellent opportunity to strengthen commitments and inspire partners from around the world to continue their important work on Localizing UNCR 1325. The rich discussions, feedback and validation and endorsement of the Toolkit, as well as the concrete commitments made by all participants contributed to making it an important step towards making Localization a standard practice for all countries!

“If we do not make a positive difference in the lives of women in communities affected by violent conflicts, we are failing the promise of Resolution 1325,” said Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, GNWP’S CEO in an interview after the Conference.

The Conference was also featured in Nepali newspapers: The Himalayan Times; and My Republica.

 

Participants listening to the “talk-show” format panel on Localization outcomes and impact in Colombia, Nepal and the Philippines

Participants listening to the “talk-show” format panel on Localization outcomes and impact in Colombia, Nepal and the Philippines

 

 

Participants working on the feedback for the Toolkit

Participants working on the feedback for the Toolkit