In October 2000, the UN Security Council endorsed the groundbreaking Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on women, peace and security (WPS). UNSCR 1325 responded to a raft of lessons learned over the previous decade or more on peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
The nature of warfare was changing, with civilians increasingly targeted, and women, in particular, often bearing the brunt of conflict. Women suffered a range of harms, from sexual and gender-based violence inflicted by combatants, to the loss of their spouses and families, to the loss of their livelihoods and personal autonomy. Furthermore, even during transitional and peacebuilding periods, it became clear that women continued to be marginalized, with domestic and international stakeholders overlooking their contributions and excluding them from peace processes. There is now a growing understanding that sexual minorities and non-binary gender identities also face distinct vulnerabilities during conflict, which should be reflected in a broader framing of the WPS agenda.
UNSCR 1325 called on countries to address the impacts that conflict had on women and girls around the globe and to systematically include women in peacebuilding efforts, including peace talks, peacekeeping, and post conflict reconstruction efforts. Over the last two decades, UNSCR 1325 has been complemented by an additional nine resolutions on women, peace and security (see Figure 2 for more detail). Together, these resolutions provide guidance to national and international actors on their roles in relation to WPS.
The women, peace and security agenda remains critically important in a world that grapples with complex conflict, whether it be violent state-based warfare, civil war, internal conflict or violent extremism. In nearly 80 countries, National Action Plans (NAPs) on women, peace and security have been developed to set priorities for action by government bodies and other agencies. In other countries, gender-sensitive peace and security priorities have been captured in sectoral strategies on gender, justice or national security. The participation of parliaments in efforts to support the women, peace and security agenda has been variable, with many parliaments either unaware of or uninvolved in national implementation efforts.
For an in-depth look at the WPS Agenda, click here to review the WPS Global Handbook implemented by UNDP.