Strengthening synergies between CEDAW and Women, Peace and Security Resolutions

Strengthening synergies between CEDAW and Women, Peace and Security Resolutions

20 September, 2018

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Resolutions, together with other human rights treaties and International Humanitarian Law, provide a comprehensive framework for the protection and promotion of women’s rights, including in armed conflict. Yet, while the expansion of international law provisions protecting women’s rights in conflict is a positive development, it may also lead to the emergence of incompatible rules, or risk that one agenda or set of priorities would lead to “de-prioritizing” other women’s human rights obligations.[2] To avoid such pitfalls, it is necessary to examine the synergies between different international instruments, and ensure they mutually reinforce, rather than undermine, each other. This need for greater synergy was recognized in the General Recommendation 30 (GR 30) of CEDAW, on women in conflict-prevention, conflict and post-conflict, adopted by the CEDAW Committee in 2013, which instructed all 189 States parties to CEDAW to report on the implementation of the WPS resolutions.

GNWP is proud to present a policy brief that contributes to the discussions on synergies between CEDAW and the WPS resolutions, by responding to three key questions:

  • What is the importance of reporting on WPS through CEDAW reports? This question was explored through key informant interviews and literature review, which confirmed that CEDAW reporting not only provides a systematic platform for WPS reporting, which is lacking in the Security Council. Furthermore, reporting on the implementation of the WPS resolutions through CEDAW will also strengthen the links between peace and security, women’s rights and gender equality
  • How has the monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the UNSCR on WPS through CEDAW changed over the years? This question was answered through both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the texts of State Party reports to CEDAW; CEDAW Committee concluding observations, and civil society shadow reports. It revealed an increasing trend in both the quantity and depth of references to the WPS agenda, and the status of women in conflict more broadly. However, it also revealed that women are still viewed primarily as victims, and not as agents of peace, and that the link between women’s participation at all levels of decision-making and preventing conflict or sustaining peace is still tenuous in most State Party reports.
  • How can the synergy between CEDAW and WPS be strengthened? This question is addressed through concrete recommendations to Member States, civil society, CEDAW Committee and the Security Council, as well as the international development partners on joint implementation of CEDAW and the WPS resolutions.

This policy brief is part of GNWP’s ongoing advocacy for the joint implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security and CEDAW. GNWP is grateful for the financial support of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) of Switzerland, Directorate of International Law (DIL) Human Rights Section for the production of the policy brief.

The full policy brief is available here.

The policy brief was written by Agnieszka Fal-Dutra Santos and Kelly Yzique Zea with substantive/content supervision of Mavic Cabrera-Balleza and research support from Shalini Medepalli and Naima Kane, research and advocacy interns at GNWP.

GNWP also wishes to thank Ms. Bandana Rana, Dr. Catherine O’Rourke, and Ms. Shanthi Dairiam for their review and substantive inputs to this policy brief.