Women, peace and security – annual review of Resolution 1325

5th December 2014
The UN reaffirmed the importance of women’s empowerment for global peace and security at this year’s annual review of resolution 1325, on October 28. The Report of the Secretary-General on women and peace and security highlights that there have been some significant achievements in 2013 including: 

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women, emphasised that there have been significant advancements in recognising the importance of the issue as there are now over 80 countries committed to the women, peace and security agenda. Also the percentage of peace agreements committing to advancing the security and status of women and girls has more than doubled since 2011 (UN news centre 2014).

However, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted that although women’s participation in peace negotiations has improved, almost half of peace agreements don’t mention women’s rights and needs, and 97 percent of peacekeepers remain to be men (UN Security Council 2014). Generally the implementation of resolution 1325 remains to be difficult in the context of armed conflict. She expressed concern for how current and long-term conflicts, such as in Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Mali, are affecting women: women and girls are exposed to targeted attacks and human rights abuses; and they constitute a high percentage of displaced people worldwide, which is now higher than at any time since the Second World War. In addition, ‘During and after conflict, more women die during childbirth, and more girls are forcibly married. Fewer women work and participate in the economy and [fewer] girls go to school. Of primary school age children that are out of school, half live in conflict areas. Only 35 percent of girls are enrolled in secondary education in these settings […]’ (UN news centre 2014).

To ensure progress in the implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), a high-level review will take place next year and the Security Council emphasised the need to define a significant implementation shift for the resolution, for it to be effective. The Secretary-General was requested to ensure gender expertise is accessible to all UN mediation teams, supporting the appointment of women as senior mediators (UN Security Council 2013). Member States are encouraged to start reviewing the implementation of their national action plans and to engage in a critical reflection of new targets for the 2015 review (UN Security Council 2014).

Photo by The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)