posted on Mon 27 Mar 2017 12:39 PM
Arria-formula Meeting on Women, Peace and Security and Mediation

This afternoon, Italy and the UK are chairing an Arria-formula meeting on Women, Peace and Security and Mediation. Interventions will be made by Benedetto Della Vedova, Italy’s Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and Baroness Anelay, UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN and Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict. The briefers will be: Kyung-wha Kang, Senior Advisor on Policy to the Secretary-General; Dr Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe, member of the Panel of the Wise of the AU and coordinator of the Network of African Women Mediators for Peace; Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator for Lebanon; and Irene Fellin, president of Women in International Security, Italy.

A concept note circulated ahead of the meeting outlines how the three UN reviews conducted in 2015 provided new ground to re-examine traditional ways of addressing conflict and building peace. It notes that the Global Study on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security reaffirmed the critical contribution of women’s meaningful participation to the success and sustainability of peace and security initiatives. The Global Study concluded that women’s effective participation at the negotiation table leads to higher peace dividends by broadening peace processes beyond fighting parties and spoilers; by facilitating social acceptance and commitment to the peace deal from communities and those affected by the conflict; and by ensuring a gendered and inclusive perspective on issues of security, justice and governance that are often among the root causes of violent conflict.

Resolution 1325 urged member states to increase women’s representation at all decision-making levels in institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflict. The Council itself has often reaffirmed the need to increase women’s participation and the consideration of gender-related issues in all discussions pertaining to the prevention and resolution of armed conflict and post-conflict peacebuilding. Resolution 2242 of 2015 reiterated the call for member states to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflict and encouraged women’s meaningful inclusion in peace processes. Members might be interested in exploring how enhancing women’s participation in such processes can be better incorporated into its conflict prevention work.

However, the concept note asserts, the inclusion of women and gender issues in peace processes is still not viewed by most conflict parties and male mediators as essential for the negotiation and implementation of agreements. The emergence of regional networks of women, notably the establishment in 2015 of the Nordic Women Mediators Network, which was inspired by a South African initiative, to promote inclusive peace processes is a positive development. The Arria-formula meeting will attempt to discuss ways to strengthen the role of women in peace processes, with a particular focus on the creation of a Mediterranean Women Mediators Network, which is set to be launched in late 2017. The meeting will also provide an opportunity to reaffirm the potential of networks of women mediators to increase the number of women involved in peacemaking efforts and to encourage collaboration and coordination among existing networks of women mediators.

The meeting will aim to explore questions such as how the UN can best utilise the growing network of international, national and local non-governmental organisations with experience in mediation and reconciliation to increase the gender balance of UN mediators; what lessons can be learned from existing women’s mediators’ networks; what prevents the nomination of more female candidates by member states to senior UN positions, including mediation roles; and what action the UN can take to appoint more women to senior mediator roles to change the status quo.