For a Lasting Peace, There Must Be a Means of Implementation: Colombia’s Call for a National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 and 1820

For a Lasting Peace, There Must Be a Means of Implementation: Colombia’s Call for a National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 and 1820

By: Lauren von Eckartsberg, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders

February 10, 2016

Last week the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) returned to Colombia to follow up and expand on its localization of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1325 and 1820 program with a high level event and two workshops in Bogotá, Colombia February 3 – 5, 2016.

On February 3, Coalición 1325, under the leadership of Red Nacional de Mujeres, with the support of UN Women Colombia and GNWP, and the participation of the Consejo Nacional de Mujeres Indigenas de Colombia (CONAMIC – formerly known as Red PIEMISIKUPANAYAF) and Conferencia Nacional de Organizaciones Afrocolombianas (CNOA) hosted an event highlighting how the anticipated signing of the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will create a strong momentum to building a sustainable peace.  The organizers of this event used the platform to underscore how this momentum can and should be tapped to advocate the Colombian Government for a National Action Plan (NAP) on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 and that in addition to the NAP, the model of localization should be further used to implement the plan at the local level.

In the welcoming remarks, Martha Ordoñez, the Presidential Adviser on Equality for Women, stressed that the foreseen peace agreement creates an opening for women to take on more roles of participation and act as the central protagonists that they are in the construction of a sustainable peace in Colombia.  In her Office, they are working on addressing the way the conflict affects women specifically at the national and territorial levels.  Following Ms. Ordoñez’s welcoming remarks, Belén Sanz of UN Women Colombia added that the future of the Colombian Peace Agreement will not only be in the agreement itself but also in how it is implemented.  She said, “We don’t have time to ask for the participation of women but should demand it.”  Ms. Sanz also lauded GNWP’s localization strategy as a means of implementation at the local level.

The content of the event began with a panel of Colombian women civil society actors sharing the projects they’ve worked on recently that show evidence as to why Colombia needs to create a NAP and that it can only benefit from doing so.  Beatriz Quintero, representing Coalición 1325 and Red Nacional de Mujeres, spoke first to summarize the findings on the state of Colombian women in relation to UNSCR 1325, 15 years after its passing.  She cited examples of the drastic disparity between men and women in decision-making roles, in sexual violence, in domestic work, among other indicators stating that, “in order to have gender parity, it would take another 200 years at this rate.”   Rosa Emilia Salamanca, representing Coalición 1325 and Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (CIASE) spoke next to introduce the work they have done in collaboration with CONAMIC and CNOA to conduct monitoring of UNSCR 1325 with a new set of indicators that represent the context of indigenous and Afro-Colombian women.  She echoed the call for the government to create a NAP when she stated, “We consider the State to have the obligation to implement [UNSCR] 1325 and the supporting resolutions.”  She went on to explain how the construction of Women’s agendas in places such as Valle de Cauca, women are using the localization and it’s output of a Regional Action plan to advocate in tandem with the agenda for insertion into Local Development Plans.   However, she clarified that the context in Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities is different and must address localization in a different manner.  To illustrate these distinctions, representatives from the aforementioned organizations, CONAMIC and CNOA shared findings from their monitoring reports with the audience and how they illustrate the experiences that are felt by indigenous and Afro-Colombian women in distinct ways from non-indigenous and non Afro-Colombian women.

The following presentation was an overview of the Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 strategy and program by Mavic Cabrera Balleza, the International Coordinator of GNWP.  Speaking to the local government officials who were present, she declared, “You are our main partners! You and our civil society partner organizations are working to take these resolutions and to convert them to real actions on the ground.”  She went on to affirm that “the local Agendas and Local Action Plans that our colleagues are talking about shouldn’t be separate from the Local Development Plans that you are working on.  They should be fully integrated together into the Local Development Plans.”  Ms. Cabrera Balleza went on to describe the localization experience in other countries where GNWP has carried out the program in conjunction with its members on the ground and that while there are commonalities and common principles, each context is unique to its environment and local community.  Ending her presentation, she stressed the urgency of implementation of the resolutions when she stated, “If 1325 isn’t represented in local communities, if women aren’t at the core of the implementation, and if women aren’t at the core of the peace agreement, then we’ve failed.”

The final presentation of the day was given by Diana Espinoza of UN Women Colombia who provided the audience with an overview of what UNSCR 1325 and the supporting resolutions mean and how they can be implemented.  Furthermore, she delved into the Global Study on UNSCR 1325 and its findings as evidence that women must be active participants in peace processes for there to be sustainable peace.  She also touched on the gaps between laws and policies and the real effects that women on the ground see in their lives and with the lack of resources, institutional barriers and attitudes. Ms. Espinoza added emphasis to the necessity for a Colombian NAP when she showed how other countries have been able to successfully create one and implement it and how there are different manners in which to do so.

The event ended with a question/answer session giving participants the opportunity to ask the panelists and speakers about themes they presented.  Questions about roles of different international, national and local actors came up, the “pollution of policies” that are seen in the Colombian context, and the meaning of security for a community and for an individual.  Martha Quintero of Red Nacional de Mujeres – Palmira put this succinctly when she declared, “we can think about this as security in all areas for women, but not how we are used to thinking about security. We shouldn’t be scared to go out after 8pm. We shouldn’t have to walk with a man to be safe when walking in the street. This is a call for us but also for the functionaries for a plan of how to implement real security.”


For further media from the event, please visit GNWP’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Flickr accounts.

This blog was written by Lauren von Eckartsberg and does not necessarily represent the views of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders.

For any questions or comments regarding the contents, please write to the author at: [email protected]