Enhancing Women’s Participation in Peace and Security

Where:

Italy, North Africa (Morocco and Tunisia), Western Balkans (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo)

What we do:

UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 was approved in 2000 and, in many ways, formally created the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. Over the years, this Agenda has grown in terms of priorities, visibility and resources. In particular, the support of more and more governments and international organizations has allowed the mobilization and activation of numerous actors, the acquisition of considerable experiences, and the formalization of many of the commitments indicated in the text of the Resolution itself.  In this context, the adoption of National Action Plans (NAPs) on women, peace and security, by over 80 countries worldwide, was particularly significant, as it led to the ‘localization’ of the WPS Agenda.

The implementation of the WPS Agenda, including the development and use of NAPs has not, however, been a constant or cohesive phenomenon, and indeed encountered some important difficulties. Chief among these is the fact that in conflict-affected contests, peacebuilding and stabilization processes result in differentiated impacts with respect to the male and female population, and women, who suffer most from the consequences of violent conflict, are still often excluded from decision-making processes that determine their future and that of their country. This is clearly visible in both North Africa and the Western Balkans, and in relation to the engagement of civil society voices, which is what the WEPPS project focuses on.

The WEPPS project is being implemented by the ERIS group (Emerging Research in International Security) of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy, in partnership with the Agency for Peacebuilding. It is funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Why:

This year the world celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of UNSCR 1325. In spite of the growth of the WPS Agenda, including the approval of additional resolutions on the same theme, a lot of work still needs to be done to ensure the participation of women in peace and security processes. Indeed, twenty years on, the long march towards gender equality and women empowerment is still far from over. Two decades of experiences, accumulated through research and practical initiatives, have also created evidence for what works and what does not, yet these lessons learned and best practices are, today, still not sufficiently shared, discussed or used.

In response to this, the WEPPS project seeks to accompany researchers and practitioners working on improving the effectiveness of the WPS Agenda in their own national contexts, providing them with tools to better contribute to the transformation of their societies in line with the objectives of UNSCR 1325.

Impact:

Overall, the WEPPS project seeks to strengthen the effectiveness and impact of the WPS Agenda in Italy, North Africa and the Western Balkans. The project is aligned with Italy’s Third National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2016-2019), and supports the achievement of the objectives laid out in that document.

AP’s contribution to the project also builds on our previous work on the issue of Women, Peace and Security. This includes our participation to the Platform for Gender, Interventions and Peace Processes (GIPP), a grouping of Italian civil society organizations that deals with the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Italy and that liaises with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Lastly, the WEPPS project also seeks to make a contribution to ongoing efforts by civil society organizations in the four target countries, in order to make sure that the implementation of the WPS Agenda is as effective as it can be, that it meets the needs of women, and that it can truly transform the relations and factors that continue to hinder women’s participation to peace and security.

Team:

Clara della Valle (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna), Bernardo Monzani, Francesco Strazzari (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna), Mikael F. Sustersic

Partners and supporters:

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Italian Cooperation