This is the paper for the high-level interactive dialogue at CSW63:
Let me tell you about Agnes Titus from the Nissan Islands of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. She and other women walked into the jungles and brokered peace with armed combatants, bringing an end to a 10 year armed conflict. For more than 30 years, Agnes, and women leaders like her, Mothers of the Bougainville Women’s Movement and leaders of the Women's Human Rights Defenders Network in whose name peace was brokered, weapons collected, political agreements adopted have been sustaining peace, providing recommendations for a sustainable approach to development, a shift from ‘from gender based violence to gender justice’ she says is vital ahead of the Bougainville Referendum in June Agnes is a gender expert of the GPPAC Pacific network that has established the Shifting the Power Coalition – forged by diverse Pacific women and women’s organisations from Fiji, Papua New Guinea including Bougainville, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Australia, as well as the Pacific Disability Forum, demonstrating the power and potential of our collective leadership to achieve peaceful and gender equal societies. The coalition reflects our recommendations that birthed the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security – that reaffirmed the protection of women’s rights is central to all humanitarian efforts, must be integrated into early warning, response, recovery and resilience building and that women’s rights organisations must drive the community-based responses. We believe that almost 20 years since the adoption of UNSCR1325, we don’t just need to be at the peace table, we need to redesign the table - the processes- to ensure we get to the heart of addressing the peace, development and humanitarian nexus.
The 2015 Global Study process enabled our GPPAC Pacific network to bring attention to specific recommendations for our region, as well as draw together recommendations from across the GPPAC network.
Subsequently the Global Study stresses that conflict prevention is at the center of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, stating: “The women, peace and security agenda is about ending conflict, not making it safer for women” and that conflict and atrocity prevention measures require both a short-term approach - which includes women’s participation and addressing gender based violations within early warning measures - as well as longer term structural approaches to address the root causes of conflict, including inequality, and address new sources of conflict. This also means addressing the impacts of climate change.
The study enabled us to get two significant words into UNSCR 2242 ‘climate change” reminding the UN Security Council of its responsibility to bring about a gender inclusive shift from reaction to prevention.
Pacific Connections: In 1994, ahead of the Beijing Conference, Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) adopted the first regional instrument to promote gender equality - the Pacific Platform for Action on the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality (PPA). The platform included 13 critical areas of concern including agriculture and fishing, legal and human rights, shared decision-making, environment, culture and the family, mechanisms to promote the advancement of women, violence, peace and justice, and indigenous people’s rights. Pacific women brought to the table of the UN 4th World Conference on Women, priorities that today are reflected in the sustainable development goals including a demand for a just peace including the right to self-determination, the links between humanitarian disasters including nuclear tests on the health and lives of people of our Pacific Ocean.
Beyond 2020: But even with high level commitments to gender equality, women’s rights and women’s peace and security, we need a revitalisation of the collaboration between women, UN agencies and member states that brought about the adoption of UNSCR1325 and the 2015 Pacific Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. That is why we need to shift the power and uplift women's leadership so we can contribute to achieve our aim of gender inclusive conflict prevention - in our homes, communities and for our countries – that is why our Pacific network wants to assist in ensuring regional commitments, such as the Boe Declaration, national security, humanitarian and defence policy and management systems align with 1325.
National and regional processes linked to the implementation of the SDGs also provide a significant opportunity to strengthen conflict prevention as an important part of inclusive and sustainable development.
But if we don't have the data, if we don't include and enhance references to women's leadership - we will not realise the required shift from reaction to prevention. Without safe, free, inclusive, appropriate and accessible information and communication systems including community and independent media, we cannot visualise non-stereotypical content that perpetuates patriarchy - that continue to be part of the root causes that prevent women's peace initiatives from being recognised as the solutions. Without the leadership by women of all diversities we will not find the sustainable solutions we need and applying commitments to country specific situations, to ensure the peace, development and humanitarian and nexus defines the way forward. We must ensure the local is defining the global and collaboration with feminist and women-led and civil society peacebuilding networks with a commitment to progressing gender inclusive preventative action. I began by uplifting the legacy of Agnes Titus, and I now want you to think about what the future looks like for a young woman leader of the Marshall Islands.
An island nation that does not have a military but has experienced militarisation since the first atomic bomb was detonated on Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1946. 73 years later the peace and security of the soon to be 30 year old Danity demands we do not create a new agenda, but ensure by 2020, we have set goals for meeting the unfinished business of the promise of the Beijing Platform for Action.
2020 with Beijing +25 and 1325+20 is an opportunity to strengthen a women-led infrastructure that reviews and renews commitments for prevention. It requires us to remove the silos and barrier to progresses the peace, development and humanitarian nexus. It is time for accountability action agenda from the local to the global - not just recommendations for consideration.