30 August, 2018 by Prativa Khanal*
Ensuring accountability for and monitoring of the National Action Plans (NAP) on the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women Peace and Security is a challenge in many countries, including in Nepal. As Ms Bandana Rana, Nepal’s first elected Member of the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) remarked, “CEDAW can be a powerful response to this challenge, because of its strong reporting procedures. CEDAW General Recommendation No. 30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations, enabled government and civil society to use CEDAW as an accountability mechanism for the NAP on UNSCR 1325. It is important to remind the key stakeholders in Nepal about their obligation to implement CEDAW GR 30.”
Nepal adopted its first NAP in 2011 for the period of 2011 to 2016. The second NAP is currently being drafted. Nepal is also a State Party to CEDAW and is due to report in October 2018, during the 71st session of CEDAW in Geneva.
On August 28-29,2018 GNWP facilitated a workshop on ‘Strengthening Synergies between the CEDAW and the WPS Resolutions’ in Kathmandu, Nepal in partnership with the 1325 Action Group and Saathi. The workshop brought together representatives from government, civil society, conflict victims, indigenous group, media, international development partners, UN Women and UNFPA to discuss the importance of jointly implementing CEDAW and the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) resolutions. The workshop included expert’s presentation on the latest global developments on WPS agenda; the Sustaining Peace agenda and its applicability to Nepal; CEDAW Structures and Procedures, including GR 30; and the use of CEDAW as an advocacy tool. Using a “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats” (SWOT) analysis methodology, the participants assessed the achievements and challenges of Nepal’s post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding processes including the NAP implementation; and analyzed the priorities and gaps in the government and civil society reports to the CEDAW Committee.
Some of the strengths and opportunities identified are the new Constitution and the Federal government structure and decentralization; establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) and other commissions such as on human rights, women, and Dalit; and formation of local bodies including Judicial Committees with the power to settle and/or mediate certain cases.
The participants also questioned the effectiveness of the above-mentioned mechanisms due to lack of necessary legislation as per the international law, government’s failure to provide adequate human and financial resources and failure to completely investigate even a single complaint even three years after their formation, which was identified as a key weakness. In addition, the participants expressed concerns regarding the dissolution of the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Local Peace Committees, and Women and Children Development Office – all key structures for the implementation of Nepal’s NAP on UNSCR 1325; and the lack of ownership of the WPS agenda among certain government ministries and agencies.
The other weaknesses and threats to Nepal’s peacebuilding efforts identified by the participants are:
a) lack of proper data collection mechanisms;
b) lack of disaggregated data;
c) non-delivery of the interim relief package to some victims of torture and sexual and gender-based violence;
d) lack of intersectional approach to peace and security; and
e) failure to address the root causes of conflict are other examples of weaknesses and threats for the implementation of WPS issues in Nepal.
Following the analysis of the State Party report and civil society shadow report submitted to the CEDAW Committee, the participants commented that a number of challenges in the NAP implementation are not included in both the government and civil society reports to the CEDAW Committee. To address this gap, the participants committed to:
1) Write a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to expedite the process of adoption of the second phase of the NAP with clear implementation mechanisms particularly in light of the change to a federal structure of government and dissolution of the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Local Peace Committees, and Women and Children Development Office;
2) Disseminate results of the SWOT Analysis and the recommendations for more effective implementation of the NAP to relevant government agencies, civil society, UN and other international development partners; and
3) Submit a shadow report on Women, Peace and Security’ to the CEDAW Committee to address the gaps in the current reports.
The workshop successfully built greater awareness of the synergies between CEDAW and WPS, and commitment to ensuring joint implementation of these two important instruments in Nepal. This was reinforced by Khaga Prasad Chapagain, Chairperson, Family Planning Association of Nepal, Kapilvastu District Chapter, who said: “I am confident that the issues of the local level will be integrated into the Shadow Report on Women, Peace and Security which will help draw attention to the plight of women affected by the conflict.” Hema Pandey, Legal Officer of the National Women Commission stressed that “the mandates of CEDAW and the WPS resolutions complement to each other in scope and applicability. Thus, synergy is a must to ensure effective reporting and monitoring of the implementation of the NAP.”
The workshop was part of a broader collaboration between GNWP and Switzerland on the joint implementation of CEDAW and the WPS resolutions, aimed at raising the awareness and encouraging States parties to report on the legal framework, policies and programs they have implemented to guarantee women’s rights in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations.
More details on the workshop may also be found in Nepali media, including the Himalayan Times newspaper: https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/workshop-held-to-prepare-report-on-womens-issues/.
*The author is a Senior Program Officer at GNWP.