Author: Steven Schoofs, Chitra Nagarajan and Lulsegged Abebe
Institution: International Alert
Publication Date: 2010
Keywords: Gender, Community Engagement
This short paper (8 pages) focuses on the intersectionality of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) and women’s priorities in peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict and conflict prone countries. It focuses on examples of implementing UNSCR 1325 in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Paper is useful for drawing out key issues which need to be addressed when translating high level policy commitments and international frameworks, such as UNSCR 1325, into practical mechanisms for peacekeeping in conflict affected countries. Conflict generalists, as well as those particularly focused on implementing gender policy commitments in conflict affected countries, will find it valuable.
The Paper’s principal argument is national and international actors working to implement UNSCR 1325 need to adjust their approach in order to make it more relevant, pragmatic and specific to the context of the fragile or conflict state concerned.
The Paper focuses on three components. The first is an understanding of women’s security concerns, identified from community dialogue. The heightened vulnerability of women and girls to sexual and gender-based violence in the regions considered and the poverty and lack of income-generating opportunities represent fundamental security concerns. The second is enhancing women’s participation and representation in peacebuilding, with a focus on the quality and influence of women’s participation, not numerical gains. The opportunities in non-state forms of local governance and the prospects for providing a platform for interaction between the formal and informal structures are heralded. The third component is implementing gender equality legislation and National Action Plans to address the challenge of improving co-ordination between stakeholders.
The paper identifies 4 key recommendations:
- Work better with what exists; Engage custodians of the ‘customary’ justice system
- Address sexual and gender-based violence; mobilise communities through change agents
- Address the economic dimension of gender, peace and security
- From plans to action; make smart investments in civil society
Fundamental to these four recommendations is a comprehensive understanding of the stakeholders involved and the cultural context. To this end, community engagement is considered a key approach to taking these recommendations forward.