Ensuring local ownership for effective implementation: Localization of UNSCR 1325 in Iraq

Ensuring local ownership for effective implementation: Localization of UNSCR 1325 in Iraq

Ensuring local ownership for effective implementation: Localization of UNSCR 1325 in Iraq

November 17, 2018 by Agnieszka Fal-Dutra Santos*

Beirut, Lebanon

“Iraq has a strong legal framework for women’s empowerment; we must now ensure that these laws and policies are implemented” declared Qassem Abdullah Jasim, the head of the Secretariat of Iraq’s Cross-Sectoral Task Force (CSTF) for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 during the opening of the Localization Consultation workshop organized by GNWP. The workshop was held in Beirut, Lebanon on 16-17 November 2018 in partnership with Women’s Empowerment Organization (WEO), CSTF and with support from Global Affairs Canada.

Iraq was the first Arab country to adopt a National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in 2014. Four years later, the country faces a different reality, due to the war with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In December 2017, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced a victory over ISIL. However, insecurity persists in many parts of the country, and the impacts of the conflict are still evident. As the country develops its second NAP, it is critical to reflect on how its implementation could best respond to the changing nature of the conflict.

The Localization Consultation provided a space for such reflection. It brought together key NAP stakeholders – both government and civil society – from the Baghdad Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil. During the two days, they listened to expert presentations about Localization approach – an internationally recognized key strategy for NAP implementation – as well as about the decentralization system in Iraq and its implications for WPS implementation in governorates.

The participants discussed lessons learned from Iraq’s first NAP; identified tools that local governments have at their disposal to implement WPS, such as drafting local policies and Local Action Plans; and came up with concrete steps for ensuring NAP implementation at both national and local levels. They also worked on a “roadmap” for the completion of the 2nd NAP, assessing the progress thus far and assigning concrete timelines and responsibilities for the remaining tasks. The CSTF hopes to launch the NAP in summer 2019.

At the end of the second day of the consultation, the Iraqi stakeholders were joined by civil society representatives from Lebanon and Syria, who shared their perspectives on NAP development and WPS implementation. The regional experience exchange provided useful insights into the good practices of NAP planning. An important message was the need to include refugee women in the consultations and development of the NAP.

Inclusivity; local approach; and strong coordination are the essential elements of a high-impact NAP. In order to be implemented, Iraq’s 2nd NAP has to integrate these principles. The Localization Consultation was the first step towards ensuring that the plan is inclusive and locally-driven. GNWP looks forward to continuing the work with the CSTF and other key stakeholders to effectively implement the WPS resolutions in Iraq!

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