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Progress report on UNSCR1325 implementation, by Charles Abugre

Reviewing the implementation of UNSCR1325 and UNR1820: What will it take[1]?

"Women in the Land of Conflict" Conference, Voksenaasen, Oslo,

23-25 November 2008

Charles Abugre


"The real measure of effective implementation is not the setting up of systems, plans and processes. The measure is women's participation in and contribution to more sustainable peace agreements and post-conflict reconstruction strategies. The measure is better protection of women and girls in today's conflict zones. The measure is women and men being secure enough to bring cases of wartime atrocities against women and girls to transitional justice mechanisms".


Ms. Joanne Sandler, Ad Interim Executive Director, UNIFEM: UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, 23 October 2007.


UNSCRs1325, and its derivative (R1820), can be said to represent a triumph of the collective human will for good in periods of great adversity. Peace and women's rights movements approach these resolutions with great passion and see them more or less as their own, and rightly so. They are after all products of decades of intense struggles, at great cost, for equality and women's rights. 1325 is about promoting the rights of women in periods of war and transitional peace. This includes the addressing the mainstream media characterisation of women during armed conflicts merely as victims, to the exclusion of their roles and experiences as peace-builders. In the words of Nobel Peace Price Laureate, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, "women are not just victims of war, they are also protagonists of history, and makers of the peace". This denial underpins the systematic exclusion of women from the decision-making processes related to war and peace. It is this exclusion that 1325 seeks to correct in its emphasis on participation in matters related to conflict prevention and management, and post-conflict building strategies and measures.


Eight years hence, the impacts of 1325 are not insignificant. There is no doubt that the Resolution has unleashed a wave of energy among women and peace movements, spinning out coalitions focused specifically on implementation. It has served as a "door-opening" tool for women in conflict countries to access decision-makers and for others to input gender perspectives into security frameworks at national and regional levels. Resolution 1325 has contributed to strengthening networking and solidarity actions among women and peace groups, in collaboration with gender focal points in government ministries, worldwide. There is some evidence that these processes have resulted in enhanced women's participation in political leadership in some post-armed conflict countries. 1325 has also leveraged some resources for women and peace groups and appears to have increased the profiles of supporting organisations in the UN system, such as UNIFEM and UN-INSTRAW.


Institutionally, 1325 has brought about a focused and enhanced attention in the UN system for women's rights in conflict situations and has unleashed a bee-hive of activities mostly in the areas of operational and procedural reforms, staff training, system-wide planning and coordination and several review meetings. The UN administration has taken steps to recruit more women in senior positions, including advisory, representational and field operations. The Secretary General of the UN has fulfilled most, if not all, of the reporting obligations specified by Resolution 1325. Because these reporting obligations are quite specific, this has helped to keep the issue of implementation constantly on the agenda. These events have provided opportunities for women and peace activists to influence UN decision-making and to access national level decision makers.


There have been rich spins-offs from 1325. It should be remembered that UNSCR1820 is a derivative of 1325. There is also the Peace Building Commission, although separate, provides an institutional framework to take forward a component of 1325. UNSCR1325 has also found its way into security and human rights protection and promotion frameworks of some regional bodies, such as the African and European Unions, and gained favour in some development and foreign ministries.


Eleven countries have so far produced National Action Plans (NAPs) as requested by the UN Security Council. The processes for producing these plans are perhaps as valuable, if not more so, as the plans themselves.  For one thing, NAPs  necessitate cross-ministerial collaboration. In the case of some countries in the OECD, parties to NAPs typically include Development/Foreign Ministries and Ministries of Interior and Defence, with some input from civil society organisations. NAPs serve as a mirror with which governments can see the images of their defence and police forces and their foreign and development policies in relation to women's participation and human rights in the conflict arenas they are involved in.


In spite of all these, many women and peace activists and even government officials hold the view that 1325 has been "more words than deeds". Eight years after Resolution 1325 was adopted, women, men and girls do not feel any more secure enough to bring perpetrators of violence, including sexual violence, to transitional justice mechanisms. Women and girls are still been raped and sexually assaulted in all major conflict zones - the DRC, Somalia, The Central African Republic, Columbia etc.  There is neither significant change in women's participation in the leadership positions of governments and the institutions at the forefront of war nor in peace building and reconstruction initiatives. Only a handful of NAPs have been produced, four years since the decision was made by member states to produce them. Above all, the world is getting no less militarised.


Why is this so? The reasons are varied. On the practical side, concerns include ineffective monitoring mechanisms; bureaucratic inertia  in the UN- the difficulty of turning an elephant around; and inadequate, inflexible and unpredictable financial resources to drive implementation.  Accountability mechanisms are weak - concentrated in UN and donor-inspired talk-shops which produce little by way of effective sanctions for non-performance. The UN itself  is ineffective in holding to account peacekeeping missions operating under its banner who violate UNSCR 1325 and 1820.  Such failures create a legitimacy deficit for the UN and erode not only its moral authority but also the "bite" of 1325 and 1820.


The second set of issues relate to the limitations inherent in the resolution itself. 1325 is more of a "motivational" resolution. It "urges" and "encourages". Only in reference to the Secretary General does it "request". It is formulated under Chapter VI of the UN Charter (Pacific Settlement of Disputes) which are only recommendations compared to Chapter VII whose resolutions are effectively international law. Its incentive system is weak , the punitive instruments for addressing non-compliance envisages the use of Article 41 measures, which relate to the use of economic and diplomatic sanctions - hardly the most effective instruments in situations of intra-state violence. Its deterrent impacts are equality limited, given the relative powerlessness to hold combatants or even peace keepers to account.


Also, Resolution 1325 does not really provide effective guidance as to how to deal with combatants in the course of intra-state violence. The legal recourse open to addressing intra-state violence remains largely national law or the application of international law. These are however not very useful if the concern is to promote participation under conditions of the messiness and brutality of war. Therefore the obligations of combatants are ultimately enforceable post-facto, with the hope that this provides deterrence, although it is very well known that post-war prosecutions are insufficient to act as deterrence against future violations.


The third set of issues relate to the external conditions under which 1325 in particular was born. 1325 is to a large extent a product of a then emerging new security agenda - the Human Security Agenda (HSA) - strongly promoted by a Scandinavian-European and Canadian axis. The HSA sought to formulate security as more than the absence of armed conflict to include the fulfilment of basic human rights. The agenda however was torpedoed one year after 1325 was passed, by the violent events of 9/11 and the subsequent so-called War on terror(WOT) launched by the Bush -Blaire administrations in the United States and the United Kingdom respectively that unleashed a violent and muscular approach to security. The invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan effectively pushed 1325 aside until recently.


It is also agued that the very fact that the underpinning elements of 1325 were effectively shaped in the West suggest yet another Westphelian notion of security was been imposed. This "new security agenda" which seeks to supplant international humanitarian law over sovereignty, taken to its logical conclusion has a tendency to undermine citizenship rights which ultimately underpins the rule of law. In the situation of elective application of humanitarian law, which is current reality, it is militarily weak countries that stand the danger of been ultimately undermined.


To address these concerns and advance the implementation of 1325 and 1820, women and peace groups propose such measures as outcome-oriented monitoring and feedback with improved data management; dedicated funding envelopes with adequate resources available to women and peace movements from bottom-top and peer review mechanisms among UN members states in order to hold each other to account and revived anti-militarisation campaigns and international agreements.


1. Introduction: The state of play[2]

UNSCR1325 is unique in many respects. It was passed unanimously by the Security Council, arguably the most powerful UN body, under the chairmanship of a developing country, Namibia. This was a culmination of several years of campaigns by especially women and peace activists across the world, generating multiple coalitions cutting across north-south and government-non-government divides inside-outside the UN system. 1325 has had many internal champions within the UN system itself, especially in the specialised bodies but also within the Security Council. This was reflected in the establishment of the "Friends of 1325" group within the UN soon after 1325 was adopted.[3]  Because 1325 imposes clear implementation and monitoring responsibilities upon the Secretary General, including an annual review process, it provides mechanisms for on-going advocacy as well as accountability. There is much going for, and going on, in relation to 1325.


The greatest influence of 1325 is undoubtedly in the operating procedures of the UN system and its specialised agencies in relation to women, peace and security. Countless bodies have reviewed their procedures to enhance women's participation and to address gender implications of their programming. The resolution has also found its way into the a legal and political frameworks of regional bodies such as the European Union and the African Union. The Council in 2004 requested that UN member states formulate national action plans for implementing 1325. This is to ensure that the resolution does translate into concrete actions and change processes. So far only ten have submitted these plans but more are said to be on the way.


The adoption of Resolution 1820 in June this year, designed to outlaw and punish sexual violence in conflict and the establishment of the Peace Building Commission in 2005 can be said to be concrete advances, at the legal and institutional levels on 1325, and therefore represent clear evidence of the international community's continued commitments to the tenets of 1325. In addition, all relevant UN bodies, and 10 members states have produced action plans or are in the process of continues reviews of these plans. Several UNSC and General Assembly open debates, provide additional opportunities to address various aspects of 1325. It can said therefore that that there are many things going for resolution 1325.


Within 2 years of the resolution, several recommendations for ensuring full implementation were on the table including[4][5]:  There has therefore been no lack of efforts from the outset to drive effective implementation of 1325. Yet eight years later, there is widespread perception that the promise of 1325 remains unfulfilled. "Despite the significance of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, women remain absent or are marginalised from negotiating tables, political decision-making opportunities and senior advisory positions", claims Elisabeth Porter[6]. Officials in foreign ministries, speaking at UN events, in their own national contexts or in workshops and conferences, echo these concerns[7].


Why is this so? Is this because expectations are too high in terms of how quickly change could be brought about? Is it because the collective effort is small, in comparison with similar resolutions, or are the limitations in the implementation and the resulting outcomes inherent in the limitations of the resolution itself - a "soft" resolution with limited teeth?


 Searching for evidence that UNSCRs 1325 has been effectively implemented, let alone that it has made a significant difference to women's rights to participate and be effectively protected in conflict, is much like observing the air in the atmosphere. It is clearly vital as a precondition to sustaining life. It is everywhere, but quite nowhere, because we can't consciously discern it except when it is absent in the right forms or when it stirs. The air needs an energy source to stir. When the associated energy applied is small, we get a breeze, when it is large, we get a strong wind, but when it is sufficiently large, we may even get a hurricane or a tornado - which may at once devastate (uproot the old) as well as create the conditions for renewal. Currently, the perception is that the energy applied to the 1325, especially by member states, is small compared to need.


Trawling through the literature, it is clear that 1325 is at once everywhere - in countless conferences, websites, policy documents and official pronouncements - and yet nowhere substantively, in the sense of  champions with teeth in effective corridors of power outside of the UN system and foreign/development ministries in a handful of enthusiastic rich countries. It is visible in dedicated conferences and documents and invisible everywhere else, even in related forums, in the public mind and in the consciousness of relevant corridors of power, including at the Security Council during critical open debates[8]. 1325 is still being sold to member countries outside of the trans-atlantic corridor, and even where it is received, it effectively disappears into more over-arching frameworks where the predominant focus is something else, even if related[9].


1325 has inherent limitations. It is essentially an "enabling" resolution. It "urges" and "encourages". Only in reference to the Secretary General does it "request". It is formulated under Chapter VI of the UN Charter (Pacific Settlement of Disputes) which are only recommendations compared to Chapter VII whose resolutions are effectively international law. Its incentive system is weak , the punitive instruments for addressing non-compliance envisages the use of Article 41 measures, which relates to the use of economic and diplomatic sanctions - hardly the best instrument in situations of intra-state violence. Its deterrent impacts are equality limited, given the limitations of effectively holding combatants or even peace keepers to account. To date, there has been limited investment in supporting women and girls affected by conflicts to build the evidence for future prosecution.  That said, legal prosecutions alone are unlikely to be sufficient deterrence of violations. 1325 is also heavily reliant on the good will of donors to provide adequate and predictable funding to the UN system but also to member countries and therefore the intensity of implementation is very much tied to the level of volatility of aid.


Nevertheless, 1325 has undoubtedly given a boost to women and peace movement, related specialised agencies in the UN and women's departments in foreign/development ministries. It is finding its way into legal frameworks and into international law through interpretation and legal precedent (the Rwanda case) and it has given concrete expression to the extended concept of human security which includes various interpretations of the responsibility to protect (R2P). The 2004 Report of the Secretary General observes that "the peacekeeping and humanitarian arenas have seen the most dramatic improvement in terms of new policies, gender expertise and training initiatives"


It also observes that in no area of peace and security work are gender perspectives systematically incorporated in planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting. He also bemoaned inadequate specific resource allocation to the objectives of 1325.

1325 clearly has implications for the way international financial institutions and the aid machinery functions, especially for aid-dependent countries, the majority of who are either embroiled in, or emerging from violent conflicts. This means that to the extent to which the aid system remains ineffective, achieving the goals of 1325 will remain distant. A crucial constraint of the aid system remains its insistence, in spite of changes in rhetoric, in the use of conditionalities or budget financing frameworks to promote economic liberalisation, which undermine the social basis for peace and the citizen-government accountability framework essential democratic accountability.


But above all, 1325 requires of the UN and its leading proponents to lead by example. Every rape by a UN or humanitarian personnel that goes unpunished,  every peace mission that has only a token presence of women, every unjust war waged on others justified by pretext,  every demobilisation scheme that ignores the special needs of women undermine the long-term goals of 1325.


2. The Road to UNSCR 1325[10]

Resolution 1325 has been long in coming. Its immediate genesis can be traced to the UN conferences of the 1990s. The 1993 UN World Conference on Human Rights adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women acknowledging the special vulnerability of women in situations of conflict. The World Summit in Social Development (Copenhagen 1995), highlighted the right to participation of women in decision making in general and policies that shaped social development. The Fourth UN World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995) introduced the strategy of "gender mainstreaming".  In the same year, the UN's Division for the Advancement of Women produced a study on the unique contributions women can make to peacekeeping. In the meantime, the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (1993) and Rwanda (1994), the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and, later, the International Criminal Court, "all acknowledge the gender implications of armed conflict."


1325 also builds on previously adopted resolutions that focus on refugees, children and armed conflict and the protection of civilians in armed conflict, as well as the Geneva Conventions, the Refugee Convention, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and associated Security Council Resolutions 1261 and 1314 which are on the theme of children and armed conflicts; and Resolutions 1265 and 1296 which are focused on the theme of the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts.


Resolution 1325 also refers to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, relevant presidential statements and other UN documents, in particular the Security Council's presidential statement on the occasion of International Women's Day 2000[11], which expresses that "peace is inextricably linked with equality between women and men", as well as to the Charter of the United Nations which identifies the maintenance of international peace and security as "the primary responsibility of the Security Council".


In 2000 Namibia, then serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, hosted a conference on "Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Support Operations" that resulted in the May 31 "Windhoek Declaration" . In October of that year, when Namibia held the Presidency of the Security Council, they made passage of 1325 the centrepiece of its chairmanship and hosted an Open Debate  on the subject of women and peace which led subsequently to 1325 being passed unanimously.


In a related development, the principle of "Responsibility to Protect" was enshrined in the Outcome Document adopted at the UN World Summit in September 2005. Although "R2P" has a somewhat different thrust from 1325 it too is in keeping with the theme of "human security", the framework in which 1325 is partly derived. Also in the same year, the Peace Building Commission was established with a commitment to promote women's participation in peace building efforts


Thus 1325 is an embodiment of several principles; the right to peace; the right to participate; non-discrimination, gender-mainstreaming in all aspects of public life;  the right to protection from harm and the right to justice.


None of these developments, not least 1325 itself, would have been possible, without sustained campaigning and sacrifices of women, human rights and peace activists groups all over the world for equality.



3. The Content of 1325

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 is the first resolution ever passed by the Security Council that specifically addresses the impact of war on women. It is described as "a watershed political framework that makes women - and a gender perspective - relevant to negotiating peace agreements, planning refugee camps and peacekeeping operations and reconstructing war-torn societies"[12].


The main focus is the disproportionate impact of armed conflict - including the dangers that landmines present - on the lives of women and girls and the necessity to increase the participation of women in all processes concerning conflict prevention, peace building and post-conflict reconstruction. The UN-INSTRAW[13] website (November, 2008) summarises 1325 as constituting 3-Ps: participation, prevention and protection, plus an extra P - Prosecution (still being developed). One could also highlight issues of mainstreaming gender and the special needs of women, and the financing obligations attached to the resolution.


i. Participation

The concept of participation employed by  1325 emphasises representation, leadership and effective voice in all aspects of conflict prevention, resolution and peace building.  It highlights;

The important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building, and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement

Increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict;

Increase in the participation of women at decision making levels in conflict resolution and peace processes;

Secretary-General to appoint more women as special representatives and envoys to pursue good offices on his behalf, and Member States to provide candidates to the Secretary-General, for inclusion in a regularly updated centralized roster;


The Secretary-General to seek to expand the role and contribution of women in United Nations field-based operations, and especially among military observers, civilian police, human rights and humanitarian personnel;


ii. Prevention

In addition to participation, resolution 1325 requires of member states and the international community to take action to prevent conflicts and where conflicts breakout to take effective measures protect women and children. The issue of adding prosecution to 1325 was raised during High-Level Dialogues on the National-Level Implementation of Resolution 1325 held in Santiago, Chile and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in recent years. In the process, to mainstream a gender perspective into all conflict prevention activities and strategies, develop effective gender-sensitive early warning mechanisms and institutions, and strengthen efforts to prevent violence against women, including various forms of gender-based violence


iii. Protection

Protection is a product of the application of law - i.e. International Humanitarian Law  (as represented by the 4 Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their associated protocols of 1977) and Human Rights Law - capacity in the form of knowledge through training and redress, through prosecution.  It highlights:

The Application of humanitarian law and human rights law to protect the rights of women and girls during and after conflicts,

Training:  to provide to Member States training guidelines and materials on the protection, rights and the particular needs of women, as well as on the importance of involving women in all peacekeeping and peacebuilding measures, and for  Member States to incorporate these elements or training their  military and civilian police personnel in preparation for deployment

Protection from sexual and gender-based violence: parties to armed conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, and all other forms of violence in situations of armed conflict


Ending  impunity and prosecute: those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes including those relating to sexual and other violence against women and girls, and in this regard stresses the need to exclude these crimes, where feasible from amnesty provisions;

Protection of women and girls in refugee camps :all parties to armed conflict to respect the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps and settlements, and to take into account the particular needs of women and girls, including in their design,


iii. Mainstreaming gender and recognising the special interest of women and girls

In peacekeeping  and disarmament operations : mainstream a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations, and in this regard noting the Windhoek Declaration and the Namibia Plan of Action on Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Support Operations  s well as in disarmament

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration to consider the different needs of female and male ex-combatants and to take into account the needs of their dependants;

Consultations: ensure that Security Council missions take into account gender considerations and the rights of women, including through consultation with local and international women's groups;

Study: the Secretary-General to carry out a study on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the role of women in peace-building and the gender dimensions of peace processes and conflict resolution,


iv. Financing

Member States to increase their voluntary financial, technical and logistical support for gender-sensitive training efforts, including those undertaken by relevant funds and programmes, inter alia, the United Nations Fund for Women and United Nations Children's Fund, and by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other relevant bodies;


v. Operative Elements

Resolution 1325 has strong inbuilt operative elements. The tasks given to the Secretary General and member countries are specific and include an annual review where member states are obligated to report on implementation progress, providing a mechanism for information access as well as accountability. It instructs member countries to provide training to their security forces, especially peace-keeping forces on relevant issues of women's rights including sexual rights. The resolution also endorses the inclusion of civil society groups in peace processes and in the implementation of peace agreements, thereby providing gender activist groups in particular, and civil society generally, with a direct stake in 1325. To some extent therefore, the resolution lends itself to a fair degree of monitoring.


4. UNSCR 1820[14]

Resolution 1820 will be only 6 months old in December, having been adopted in June 2008. Therefore, for the purpose of this paper, it will suffice to acknowledge its significance and complementarities with 1325.


UNSC 1820 builds on, and strengthens Operative Paragraphs (OP)10 and 11 of 1325 in respect of rape and other forms of gender-based violence directed at civilian populations, especially women and children, in armed conflict situations. It seeks particularly to deter and potentially punish the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence as weapons of war. Like 1325, 1820 also has 3+1 - P objectives: prevention, protection and participation plus prosecution.



Resolution 1820 affirms the importance of women's participation in conflict prevention, resolution, peace building and reconstruction, and in this way complements and strengthens Resolution 1325. It recognises that sexual violence is both a cause and consequence of women's low participation in decision making. The trauma of rape and other forms of sexual violence can undermine a woman's confidence to participate fully in public life for good. Therefore 1820 requires of the Secretary-General, his representatives and the UN system to facilitate women's full and equal participation in peace processes. In terms of specific measures, resolution 1325 requires of:


Protection measures in 1820 are both specific and systemic and refer both to periods of conflict and post-conflict. Specific measures include the management of refugee and internally displaced camps, the training and vetting of armed and security forces and the evacuation of people under imminent threat of rape or other forms of sexual violence. Member states are also required to ensure that reforms such as  justice and security sector reforms are undertaken in consultation with women's organisations and adequately address women's security needs.


Prevention and Prosecution

1820 directs the international community to address what if calls "myths that fuel sexual violence." In terms of the deterrence effects, Resolution 1820 advances efforts to make sexual violence recognised as a weapon of war[15] and opens the door for sexual violence to be prosecuted as war crimes or crimes against humanity in International Criminal Courts (ICCs) [16], and for the Security Council to intervene in situations where the level of sexual violence so requires. 1820 specifically excludes crimes of sexual violence from amnesty accords as part of peace negotiations and underlines the importance of ending impunity for such crimes[17].



The process of adopting resolution 1820 was not without ironies and controversies. First, women leaders and gender activists charge that there was limited consultation and input by them in the drafting of the resolution. Second, the fact that the US chaired the debate that led to the adoption of 1820 was itself an aggravation to some, given the continuing raw nerves over the war in Iraq and destruction unleashed by the US-led war on terror (WOT) and the US refusal to be a signatory to the ICC. Added to that, the US has since not produced a National Action Plan (NAP) as requested by the Secretary General in 2004, in respect of the implementation of UNSCR1325, upon which 1820 is built, raising doubts about the seriousness to which the US takes both resolutions.


The debate also threw up disagreements as to whether a focus on sexual violence in conflict (women as victims) was not a dilution of, if not a diversion, from the central focus of 1325 on the role of women as agents of peace, security and reconstruction.  Some also argued that 1820 was unnecessary since 1325 already established the legal framework to treat sexual violence as a war crime, or crime against humanity.


These concerns notwithstanding, the unanimous adoption of UNSCR1820  is welcomed by peace and women's activists as a landmark development in the fights against the use of rape and sexual crimes as weapons of war.


5.0 The Conceptual foundations of  1325 /1820 and related challenges

The scope of Resolution 1325 is decidedly broad -covering areas of political participation; institutional representation not only in countries experiencing violent conflicts but all member countries. It focuses on women's participation in all aspects of conflict manifestations - from prevention to sustaining strength justice and development post-conflict. This breadth is at one level the core of its strength but it also pose significant challenges for assessment. Why is 1325 this broad?


As a product of several struggles, 1325 is also a refection of the dominant analysis of conflict upon which gender inequality is placed. It will seem that the analytical logic behind 1325 mirrors closely the analysis of gender and conflicts as products of structural violence and gendered nationalism[18]  and gendered nationalism. Structural violence is understood as systematic exploitation that becomes part of the social order. This has four components: exploitation which is focused on the division of labor with the benefits being asymmetrically distributed; penetration which necessitates the control by the exploiters over the consciousness of the exploited thus resulting in the acquiescence of the oppressed; fragmentation which means that the exploited are separated from each other; and marginalization with the exploiters as a privileged class with their own rules and form of interaction. When a sense of marginalisation or exploitation is perceived as horizontal inequality ( as in Stewart, 2008)  this accentuates group-based identities and group grievance.


Gender power shapes the dynamics of every site of human interaction, from the household to the international arena - economic social and political. The intrusion of gender inequality throughout all aspects of human interaction thus creates the foundation for structural inequality. Structural inequality is based on subjugation and inequality that is rooted in hierarchy, domination, and the use of force. The structural system of male domination is sustained through the persistence of gender stereotypes which are themselves socially endowed labels. Maintaining power under a system of structural inequality requires socialization, gender stereotyping, and a constant threat of violence assure acquiescence to structural inequality (see Bunch and Carrillo 1998) but is also derived from cultural norms upon which patriarchy pervades. In other words, structural violence is a process by which cultural violence is institutionalized.


Gendered nationalism on the other hand relates to the subjugation of women to the "nationalist" identity cause in which men tend to be the guardians.  There are several components to this.  The first relates to fertility and refer to cultural norms controlling women's procreation. In short, women are responsible for reproduction- the long-term group survival. This may translate into restrictions related to and abortion for in-group or marriage with "outsiders". When a group is involved in violence, there becomes an ever increasing need for higher birth rates as people die (Turpin 1998:11). Secondly women are also "social  reproducers of group members and cultural forms"  through socializing children regarding their cultural rights, obligations, norms, and myths. Third, women become involved in the conflict "as participants in political identity struggles" but their contribution to the defence of the nation often remains unrecognised.


Caprioli argues that both structural violence and gendered nationalism lead to the expectation that women's domestic equality would result in fewer incidences of domestic conflict. The absence of domestic oppression and violence associated with gendered hierarchies that fuel militant nationalism should lead to lower societal violence overall. This leads to the broader expectation that the inclusion of women as equal members of society should result in a change in overall societal values that effect state policies both internationally and domestically (Caprioli,  2003, ibid).


This is an argument in support of actions necessary to prevent conflicts and structural violence against women. It argues for the overhauling of horizontal, including gender-based, inequalities underpinning society, lowering women's fertility and strengthening their economic rights on the grounds that these factors reproduce the conditions for conflicts and impose intolerable suffering on women.


The need for women's participation in resolving conflicts is argued in a more straight forward way. Conflicts affect both men and women and in the same way they are also affected by the consequences of the peace. Secondly, women's inclusion in peace building is essential for inclusive social justice but also for the simple reason that women have immense experiences in informal peace-building and reconciliation efforts especially at the grassroots level. Despite these experiences, women are rare in formal peace processes. Thirdly, there is evidence that the participation of women in political, policy and legal decision-making makes a difference to the sorts of issues addressed. The latter results from the fact that women's specific concerns are shaped by their social roles as daughters, wives and mothers, by the economic positions and obligations which they have within the family and community and by the prevailing cultural conceptualisation of their gender roles (Birgitte, S, 1998)[19].

It is also argued that, women need to be brought to the table in peace negotiations  because:

·        Men are simply more prone to engage in aggressive and violent behaviors than women. Women, generally bring a more claming, realistic and humane effects to negotiations.

·        Taking women's views and experiences into account are part of  situational awareness. If 50 percent or more of the population is excluded from the peace building and reconstruction processes, it means that crucial pieces of information needed for success are missing. 4 This is especially the case because "women within the society may have developed skills and competencies throughout the conflict that are essential to effective post-conflict reconstruction."

·        For both the society and the outside parties involved in peace building, this may be the best possible opportunity to codify the gender equality that can aid the success of reconstruction efforts, for "if there is any single indicator of which societies will succeed or fail in the coming decades it is the status of women in relation to negotiations women bring a less combative approach.


In relation to participation in political life, it is argued that women's presence in significant numbers in elected bodies and in economic institutions can result in more equitable policy outcomes because it is likely to encourage policy makers to give more attention to issues affecting women, such as equal pay, better conditions of employment, child-care, violence against women, and unpaid labour. Economic policies are also more likely to acknowledge the value of unpaid caring work (most of which is done by women) as an economic asset to be maintained and developed.

One example is Norway where women members of Parliament brought about the 'politics of care', which obligates the state to increase publicly sponsored child-care services, extend parental leave and flexible working, and improve pension rights for carers. In South Africa, is also often cited as a case where women parliamentarians have led the world in the process of introducing gender budgeting to analyse state spending from a gender perspective and allocate resources to women's needs. While having more women in leadership positions does not guarantee women's concerns will be on the agenda, there is evidence that once a critical mass of women - over one-third - is in power, their shared interests as women start to come to the fore, as these two examples illustrate (Oxfam, 2008)

The literature is rich in terms of explaining the significance of Resolution 1325 for women and its potential contribution to society at large. They give context to the multi-dimensional nature of the Resolution and thereby affirm the rightness of 1325.
However, the scope of 1325 poses significant challenges to effective accountability and opens the door to selective applications. As we will note later, the implementation of Resolution 1325 has also been hostage to both extenuating circumstances as well as in-built limitations.


5.2 A Product  of the Human Security Agenda.

UNSCRs 1325 and 1820 fall into the new dominant global security framework captured under the concept of "human security".  Alkire (2003)[20]  summarises the concept into a tight objective which is to "safeguard the vital core of all human lives from critical pervasive threats, in a way that is consistent with long-term human fulfilment, emphasis mine". Human security takes its shape from the human being: the vital core that is to be protected. Institutions that undertake to protect human security will not be able to promote every aspect of human well-being. But at very least they must protect this core of people's lives.


Human security is said to be an "extended" concept derived essentially form European political thought. It is extended "downwards" from pre-occupations with national security to the security of groups and individuals. But  it is also extended "upwards from nations to the security of the international system, or the supranational physical environment. At the same time, security is extended "horizontally" from military to political, social, environmental - i.e. human security. The political responsibility for ensuring security is also extended - in all directions - from nation states to international institutions, downwards to regional and local government and sideways to nongovernmental organizations, to public opinion and the press, and to the abstract forces of nature or of the market." This is the context for the so-called  "borderless security".


One manifestation of this "borderless" security concept is the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) which was the title of the report of the  International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) released in December 2001 and subsequently adopted as an operative principle by the UN. This Commission, chaired by Gareth Evans and Mohamed Sahnoun, undertook to study the relationship between a) the rights of sovereign states, upon which the greater part of international relations has been built, and b) the so-called "right of humanitarian intervention" which has been exercised sporadically - in Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo but not Rwanda - and with varying degrees of success and international controversy. The report addressed "the question of when, if ever, it is appropriate for states to take coercive - and in particular military - action, against another state for the purpose of protecting people at risk in that other state.


According to the report, human security is an emerging concept. It "means the security of people - their physical safety, their economic and social well-being, respect for their dignity and worth as human beings, and the protection of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The priority, according to the report should the protection of the human being. Using the example of September 11th, in which forty percent of those in the World Trade towers were non-Americans, the report argued that human security 'is indeed indivisible and that there is no longer such a thing as a humanitarian catastrophe occurring "in a faraway country of which we know little." On the other hand, the report acknowledges that not all states will complete this responsibility. The centrality that human security has had in prominent statements by the former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, raises the question of what the international community should do when they fail to do so. In such cases, the report argued, international institutions do have a role in safeguarding human security - a responsibility to protect (R2P):


Adopted by the United Nations, R2P legitimises the setting aside of sovereignty on human security grounds. Mandani[21] argues that this represents the supplementing of humanitarian law over rights based on citizenship which rests on sovereignty. Mandani argues that this raises many dangers not least because it opens the door for selective interventions and selective justice by those who control the security council  but also legal and political dependence on the UN security Council and militarily powerful countries, thereby undermining the very foundations for long-term justice and peace which rests on domestic political processes. He points to India's reluctance to sign onto the ICC, because of the ultimate lack of accountability of the Security Council, who have the power to order interventions and refer cases to the ICC.


The protective dimensions of Resolutions 1325 and 1820 could conceivably call into action the role of foreign interventions whether legal, in the case of the ICC, or military. Do the fears, as expressed by Mandani, have a role in the relative lack of enthusiasm among developing countries for 1325 and 1820?


The adoption of the principle of the R2P does not suggest that there is necessarily a unified interpretation of  what types of failures in human security, and to what degree, call for external intervention.  Foreign policy strategies vary according to how broadly or how narrowly human security is interpreted.


For example the foreign policy and security policy framework of Canada, one of the leading voices on the concept of human security on the international stage, is based on a definition of human security which is very conflict focused -   protecting civilians in armed conflict, conflict prevention, public safety, governance and accountability, and peace support operations, reforming sanctions regimes to mitigate negative humanitarian outcomes, bolstering the rights of women in places like Afghanistan, and the necessity of humanitarian intervention to protect against a future Rwanda or Srebrenica,  - an interpretation much in tune with Lloyd Axworthy's writings[22].  Conceptually, Canada's interpretation of human security reflects the "freedom from pervasive threats to people's rights, safety or lives definition formulation as above,  or  what Rob McRae[23] calls "freedom from fear".  Canada provided a dedicated budget for human security long before the R2P was adopted by the United Nations. It is also not an accident that


Norway also focuses on the freedom from fear aspects of human security, and identifies as a core agenda issues of preventive action, a landmines treaty, the need for a permanent international criminal court,  protection of women, gender mainstreaming, small arms and light weapons control, and peace operations.


Not surprisingly the two countries founded the Human Security Network (otherwise known as the Lysøen Group), whose annual meetings attract NGOs and governmental actors from about 13 countries, including Austria, Canada, Chile, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand. They mobilized around practical responses to human security threats. These discussions have dealt with such topics as ; "protection for civilians," "landmines treaty," a permanent international criminal court," children's issues (the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on minimum ages for recruitment and deployment of soldiers), "small arms and light weapons," and "drug trafficking and organized crime networks."


Japan maintains an even broader definition of human security, which "comprehensively covers all the menaces that threaten human survival, daily life and dignity... and strengthens efforts to confront these threats." Particularly, Japan does not prioritize "freedom from fear" over the "freedom from want", but holds them as dual objectives of human security. According to Japan's "blue book," (1999) Japan emphasizes "'Human Security' from the perspective of strengthening efforts to cope with threats to human lives, livelihoods and dignity such as poverty, environmental degradation, illicit drugs, transnational organized crime, infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, the outflow of refugees and anti-personnel landmines, and has taken various initiatives in this context. To ensure 'Human freedom and potential,' a range of issues needs to be addressed from the perspective of 'Human Security,' focussed on the individual, and requiring cooperation among the various actors in the international community, including governments, international organisations and civil society.


What is the relevance of this security agenda to 1325? In the first place it highlights the fact that the coalitions built around 1325 are rooted in a shared analysis of what constitutes global security. It is not surprising therefore that the countries that are most active in the promotion of 1321 and related resolutions have a history of shared dialogue on the security agenda. To that extent, future progression of 1325 will arise as much from the struggle of activists as from continued analytical and ideological coherence in the leading countries. This brings to mind Mandani's concern about how Westphalian ideas, once incubated becomes hegemonised  and imposed with potentially serious implications to the way that recipient countries of these ideas progress as a society - not least its implications to citizenship and the still contested concept of sovereignty. This is of course not to diminish the fact that the pursuit of values such as gender equity and the right to security that 1325 represent have universal foundations.


Implementation of 1325

1325 calls for both preventative and remedial actions by all member countries of the United Nations. Preventative in the sense that to the extent that violent conflicts arise from a combination of systematic discrimination combined with gender nationalism, all member countries are potentially vulnerable to conflicts. Remedial measures are relevant to all countries, whether in conflict or not, in so far as there is no equity in participation - politically, economically, socially and culturally.  1325 is therefore a challenge not simply for north-south relations but for national politics. Yet, internationally recognised principles of common but differentiated responsibilities based on capabilities and complicity, suggests some nations will be expected to shoulder more responsibilities than others. This is nevertheless too vast a terrain to assess.


1325 addresses itself overwhelmingly to the Secretary General and to member states. It is to member states that differentiated responsibilities arise. To the wealthier nations, the obligations are both internal - in terms of mainstreaming gender in their own institutions - and external in terms of providing predictable and adequate resources (financial and technical) and engender their peace-keeping , police and civilian forces provided for peace keeping or peace enforcing missions. Conflict ridden member states are required to apply 1325 to the operations of their armed forces,  to the protection of their citizens and in the reconstruction of their societies, post conflict, including elections, peace building and addressing impunity.  Nations that provide peacekeepers - rich or poor, have an obligation to train their peace keepers to uphold 1325 and to prosecute them when they engage in sexual violence. All other nations  have an obligation to mainstream gender and to take preventative actions to mitigate conflicts. Social economic policies that promote harmony, rather than disharmony, are particularly relevant.


There are two ways to assess the implementation of 1325: against activities and outputs directly required by the Resolution; and the wider outcomes resulting from the outputs of the Resolution. This assessment will focus on the former but will make some remarks related to the latter.


Resolution 1325 is wide ranging involving specific obligations (mostly those addressed to the Sec. General and the Security Council) and general exhortations directed at parties to conflicts and member states. Given the vastness of these obligations, this assessment will 


I will conclude with some observations regarding constraints to accelerated implementation and  ways forward.


Tekstboks: The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation benchmarks for the implementation of 1325 poses    The benchmarks, here formulated as questions include the ff:  Do the mechanisms proposed to monitor and coordinate implementation inbued with sufficient seniority and authority? The benchmark is for an Expert Taskforce and a focal point the reports to the Executive Committee on Peace and Security (ECPS), the senior management group on peace and security issues within the UN,    Is the request in resolution 1325 that Member States nominate women candidates for senior international positions sufficiently repeated? The benchmark is for the Secretary General to raise in periodic reports to the Security Council  Do the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General provided with explicit guidance and training in order to play their role in implementing resolution 1325? The benchmark is of a training guide which covers all aspects of conflict prevention, protection and post-conflict building.  Does the Secretary General request and receive regular quality information on Women, Peace and Security is needed for the Security Council to implement resolution 1325. The benchmark is for the SG to seek information reglarly for his reports to the SC.  Does the DPKOs receive repeated emphasis is needed from the Security Council on strict adherence to the Code of Conduct, which will encourage efforts by Member States to adequately train their personnel?The Secretary General and the UN System

The direct obligations of the Secretary General under Resolutions 1325 are in 3 main areas: reporting, training, and recruitment. Indirectly, the Secretary is accountable to the Security Council for the implementation of the totality of Resolution 1325.


i. Reporting obligations

Resolution 1325 obligates the Secretary General to:



The Secretary-General's study, "Women, Peace and Security" was completed  in October 2002 and a report presented to the Security Council (S/2002/1154)  on the 16th of the same month. The study was conducted within the framework of the Inter-agency Task Force on Women, Peace and Security and coordinated by the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women. It focuses on the activities of the United Nations and "builds on existing research and inputs of the United Nations, its programmes, funds and specialized agencies, among others. This study contained over 90 recommendations for full implementation. The Report to the Security Council distilled them into 21.


A second study, "Women, War and Peace: Independent Experts' Assessment on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Women's Role in Peace-building" (2002) was conducted under the supervision of UNIFEM. This provided situational case studies and the conceptual underpinnings of Resolution 1329.  This study derived 64 recommendations for full implementation[25].


The Sec. General has produced 5 additional reports, each with specific recommendations seeking to move implementation forward.  Indeed with each report, the recommendations become more specific and more concrete. Whereas the 2002 report sought to outline the grand areas in which was needed by the international community  and the UN system, the key recommendation of the 2004 report was the decision to "develop a comprehensive system-wide strategy and action plan for increasing attention to gender perspectives in conflict prevention, with particular emphasis on monitoring and reporting mechanisms".  Three System-wide strategies have since been produced, each more specific in terms of actions that need to be taken to advance, accelerate or improve quality. In addition to addition to System-wide strategies, each key agency in the development and humanitarian system have had to produce their ow

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