Women Still Being Sidelined in Peace Building

Women are not being effectively used to help build peace and security in the world is the message that civil society gender experts are highlighting as they launch the 3rd Annual Report Card on Australia’s National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security.

Australian Civil Military Centre, Executive Director Dr Alan Ryan officially launched the report on Wednesday, June 8, at the Australian National University.

“One of the great tragedies of international processes meant to build peace, resolve or prevent conflict, and help societies overcome histories of instability is that women are wildly under-utilised. Despite being victims, combatants and peacemakers, women’s role in conflicts, and in peace continues to be sidelined,” said Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Head of Policy Joanna Pradela.

In 2000, the United Nations Security Council passed the landmark resolution UNSCR 1325, the first formal instrument designed to prevent abuses to women’s human rights during conflict and include them in peace-building, conflict prevention and conflict resolution.

In 2012, Australia launched a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (NAP) to be implemented by 2018. For the past three years, ACFID, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the ANU Gender Institute and the Australian National Committee for UN Women have actively tracked the Australian Governments’ progress on implementing the Plan.

“This year’s civil society Report Card shows there has undoubtedly been a lot of activity across Government to implement the NAP’s commitments,” said Janelle Weissman, Executive Director of Australia’s National Committee for UN Women.

“With just two years left to meet the plan, questions remain about whether Australia will be well placed to determine if we’re doing the right activities to deliver real change for women’s engagement in peace and security activities,” said Barbara O’Dwyer, National President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

The Report Card has drawn on a collaborative dialogue between civil society actors and Government, and a survey of groups active on peace and security initiatives. “The Government’s engagement in this process is very welcome and we’re pleased to see some of our recommendations have been acted on over the years,” said Fiona Jenkins, Convenor of the Gender Institute at the Australian National University.

“With two years left in this Plan it is imperative that the next Australian Government vigorously pursues this critical international agenda and commits to working with civil society to deliver a new plan to guide our efforts beyond 2018,” concluded Joanna Pradela.

The Report Card is available on the ACFID website here.