"We are keeping the spirit of 1325 alive as women brought this agenda to the security council" - this was the reminder of Ann Linde the Swedish Foreign Minister in her opening remarks as she highlighted that democracy requires civil society as we fight the multiple challenges to achieve human rights and inclusive peace "We need today's event to open up the debate and the security council needs your input" encouraging participants to be open and demanding and for member states to listen intently.
Representatives of GPPAC - the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) gender focal points network are in attendance at the 2nd annual multistakeholder Forum on Women, Peace and Security and our message is clear - address the root causes of conflict and get better at prevention including addressing the impact of climate change on the peace and security agenda.
This also means a need to redesign the table.
The UNSC must lead by example said Kaavya Asoka, Executive Director of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, as we work towards the 20th anniversary of UNSCR1325: "This is a unique opportunity to hear from civil society" said Asoka. We need more work, being more outspoken on the value of the women's human rights agenda and not simply reaching consensus. On the eve of the 1325+19 UN Security Council Open Debate the focus of the forum is again to acceleration of implementation particularly as we gear up for 1325+20. South Africa is chairing the Open Debate.
In her opening remarks Phumzila Mllambo-Ngcuka the Executive Director of UNWOMEN stressed that this is about accountability for implementation: "We want to make sure that at the end of the speeches we get greater consensus for the security council to work better together." The UNSC should not continue with lapses in addressing and including women: "Women are strong women are taking challenges but women are not being included"
As women we know we don't need capacity building or continue to be patronized we just want to be enabled to make it happen. We still need to realise the recommendations of the 3 peace and security reviews in 2015 said Asoka as she highlighted the direction and priority recommendations of the NGOWG Open Letter on 1325+19:
"Women's full and equal participation is non-negotiable and it is not just about inclusion but accountability to women's leadership and decision-making. Member states need to speak up"
Targeted attacks and political violence against diverse women's human rights defenders must end: "WHRDs must be reflected in the UNSC outcomes documents".
Gender equality and women's rights included sexual and reproductive health and rights are also integral to the WPS agenda stressed Asoka.
It's about Sustaining Peace and not Sustaining Patriarchy
We make a contribution to peacekeeping but we also need to put the focus on funding for peacebuilding - Minister of Defence,South Africa ahead of 1325+19 as she stressed no compromise on the human rights agenda
She was speaking as part of UN member state responses that reaffirmed the need to get better at operationalisation of #WPSbeyond2020.
Prevention has a strong focus in the multistakeholder forum as well as the need to give greater attention to addressing the peace, development and humanitarian nexus.
Meaningful participation means diversity inclusion, geographical representation as well as #redesigningthetable at regional and national processes.
Participation requires greater accountability to CEDAW when national action plans are being developed. This means financing and including application of special measures to bring the WPS and human rights agenda into operationalisation at national and regional level.
Regional Action Plans are also a means of supporting member states to operationalise their commitments made at the UN at national parliament and local government level.
Ultimately gender equality and human rights are integral to achieving sustainable peace. It's not an option anymore.