The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 1325 (2000)
launched the theme Women, Peace and Security (WPS) on the council's agenda. The resolution recognized, for the first time, the role of women in actions related to international peace and security, as well as the different impact of armed conflicts on women and girls.
The adoption of this resolution on October 31, 2000 resulted from the convergence of three factors: (1) the strengthening of the recognition and defense of women's rights within the framework of the United Nations; (2) the recognition of the harmful impacts of armed conflicts on the civilian population, especially on women and girls; and (3) the work of civil society organizations, in particular women's and human rights organizations, which influenced the decision to adopt it and contributed to its text.
The post-Cold War conflicts unquestionably highlighted the disproportionate impact on the civilian population, in particular women and children. For example, according to UN data, about 60,000 women were victims of rape in the Bosnian War (1992-1995) and an estimated 100,000-250,000 in the context of the Rwandan genocide (1994). Furthermore, women remained largely excluded from the processes of preventing and resolving these conflicts, maintaining and consolidating peace and post-conflict reconstruction.
At the same time, the United Nations system strengthened its role in promoting and protecting women's rights, in line with the recognition of the "equal rights of men and women" in the Preamble to the Charter.
The Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, was a milestone in this process, recognizing that peace is "inextricably linked to the advancement of women, who represent an essential force for leadership, conflict resolution and the promotion of lasting peace at all levels ". The Beijing Platform for Action also included the topic of "women and armed conflicts" as one of the twelve critical areas of concern. In the wake of these developments, civil society began to call for greater attention to the issue by the Security Council.
Following the adoption of Resolution 1325 (2000), eight other resolutions were adopted with the aim of strengthening UN action to promote lasting peace by fomenting the inclusion of women’s perspective with regard to issues of international peace and security. During this period, it is worth mentioning the Global Study on the Implementation of Resolution 1325 (2000), prepared by a group of independent experts coordinated by UN Women, on the occasion of the celebrations of the 15th anniversary of the Women in Peace and Security agenda.
The Global Study is a benchmark in the assessment of progress and challenges in achieving the agenda. The Study underscores, among others, the importance of conflict prevention as an effective way to deter violence against women. It also stresses that the increased participation of women in peace negotiations has a decisive impact on the success of the agreements concluded.
In recent years, the incentive to increase the participation of military, police and civilian women in UN peacekeeping operations has gained momentum. UNSC Resolution 2242 (2015) stipulated a goal for member states to double the percentage of female participation in peacekeeping operations (in that year, on average, 3.7% for the military and 9.5% for the police) until 2020. Subsequently, in August 2017, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, set more ambitious goals, asking all troop-contributing countries to immediately ensure the target of 15% of the military and 20% of police officers for women’s representation in peacekeeping operations.
The same Resolution 2242 (2015) recommended UN member states to develop domestic strategies for implementing the WPS agenda. This recommendation initiated the preparation of national action plans by member states. Currently, 79 countries and 11 regional organizations have action plans. Click here for more information on the implementation of the WPS agenda around the world.