On October 27th, 2020, as part of a month-long campaign in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), the Department of UN Peace Operations co-hosted a High-Level Dialogue on Action for Peacekeeping's (A4P) WPS commitments.
PRIO Researcher Dr. Louise Olsson acted as moderator with the additional task of placing the Dialogue in the context of research and data. The Dialogue aimed to take stock of progress and discuss forward-looking recommendations to further propel the prioritization and implementation of WPS. It was arranged in collaboration with The Permanent Mission of Kenya to the United Nations in New York and The Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations in New York.
The event brought together a coalition of peacekeeping WPS stakeholders from policymakers to practitioners and civil society organizations. The panel included, Mr. Alexandre Zouev, Assistant Secretary-General, Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions at the Department of Peace Operations; Lord Ahmad, Minister of State and the UK's Prime Minister's Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict; Her Excellency Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya; Ms. Amal Abdallah Kuor Lou, Deputy Chairperson of the Abyei Women Association of the Ngok Dinka community in the Abyei area; and Youth Peace Ambassador and Executive Director of the NGO Les Ailes du Coeur, Ms. Prisca Manyala. The Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix joined the discussions through a video message from his ongoing field visit to Darfur, Sudan, and the Central Africa Republic.
The discussions pinpointed the efforts required to translate Security Council decisions into effective support of the actions of women leaders and community-based women networks in conflict areas. Ms. Lou provided in-depth knowledge from her work to mobilize, mentor, and support women's participation in community decision-making mechanisms and local administration in Abyei. She believes that when women are united, they can solve any problem, and this is what motivates her to work as a woman leader. In Abyei, Ms. Lou is calling for women's unity to drive change and is an active advocate for women's empowerment and women's rights, she also works closely with UN's Mission in Abyei, UNISFA. Meanwhile, Ms. Manyala underlined the important role of the Security Council in promoting young women's full, equal, and meaningful participation. Ms. Manyala is a lead figure within the Democratic Republic of Congo's civil society, working towards strengthening youth leadership. She has been instrumental in promoting peace and reducing community violence in her role as Youth Peace Ambassador, together with the UN's mission to the DRC, MONUSCO. Additionally, other topics discussed included: what can be done to elevate women's participation in peacekeeping and peace processes as a core imperative, what can be learned from the experiences of practitioners and young leaders in past UN peacekeeping missions, and the successes, the gaps, and identifying the areas that require more action-oriented resources and improvements.
The moderator and speakers from Australia, Sweden, and the UK underlined the importance of answering the Secretary General's call on 'a gender data revolution' to ensure effective implementation and accountability on WPS. Olsson brought up how access to disaggregated statistics is fast improving and exemplified with a number of studies which can support existing WPS efforts. Notably, a new article by Sirianne Dahlum and Tore Wig use global data covering a 200-year period, finding that women's participation improves the chance for establishing peaceful societies. Ismene Gizelis demonstrated that peacebuilding efforts which involve women are more successful, and research by Jana Krause finds that that strong women's groups contribute to establishing effective conflict management between communities. Dr. Olsson also drew on results from the Research-Policy Dialogue she had co-organized together with Folke Bernadotte Academy and UN Women in NY in January with great contributions by Department of Peace Operations and Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. A series of joint policy briefs with novel data on WPS will soon be published. She expressed a hope that we will continue to see collaboration between research and policy to accomplish the data revolution called for by the Secretary General.