This brief addresses the importance of women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation to an effective pandemic response and to peacemaking efforts, and how the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda can provide a critical framework for inclusive decision-making and sustainable solutions. While efforts to flatten the pandemic’s curve unfold around the globe, violent conflict remains a deadly reality for far too many people.
In March 2020, the UN Secretary-General called for a global ceasefire to allow the world to address COVID-19. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, women have been at the forefront of effective COVID-19 prevention and response efforts—from frontline service delivery to the highest levels of decision-making. With women’s participation central to achieving sustainable solutions, the pandemic has brought into sharp relief how critical the WPS agenda is to inclusive and effective decision-making.
This brief recognises the vital role of women’s civil society organizations in mobilizing support for an urgent cessation of hostilities, inclusive ceasefire processes, and comprehensive peace talks. It also provides a preliminary analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on women’s participation in ceasefires and peace processes and offers a series of recommendations, including on “building back better”.