Increasing the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in peacemaking, conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts is a key priority for the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA). Women, Peace and Security (WPS) first made it on to the Security Council’s agenda in 2000, with the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on WPS. However, despite many global and regional commitments and initiatives, the number of women included in formal peacemaking processes remains low; and many peace agreements do not include gender provisions that sufficiently address women’s security and peacebuilding needs.
In line with the Secretary-General’s forward looking goals for the decade (S/2019/800, para 120) and his) directives on women, peace and security (S/2020/946, para 113), DPPA is supporting multi-track efforts that increase the involvement of women everywhere, integrate gender equality, and shape strategies based on the priorities of women’s rights constituencies. This includes working with Special Envoys and Special Representatives of the Secretary-General to design and support strategies for inclusive peace processes. From Colombia to Syria, the Department is also exploring new pathways for participation through digital inclusion strategies and virtual consultations and engagement.
In DPPA’s special political missions in the field, Gender Advisers or Gender Focal Points provide advice and support to the mission’s leadership – the Secretary-General’s Special Envoys and Special Representatives – on ways to promote women’s political participation, make peace processes and prevention efforts more inclusive, and include gender perspectives in the UN’s political work.
In contexts where the UN is supporting a peace process, DPPA and its special political missions (SPMs) work to promote women’s direct participation through advocacy and by providing advice on inclusive mediation strategies. We also organize consultations with civil society and women’s groups and provide advice on effective ways to include women and their views in the process. Furthermore, the Department promotes women’s political participation in elections, for example through advice on Temporary Special Measures, including electoral quotas, during electoral support. To assist mediation actors and Member States in their efforts to make peace processes more inclusive and gender-responsive, DPPA (then DPA) developed two Guidance documents for mediators and mediation experts; one on Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Ceasefire and Peace Agreements (2012); and one on Gender and Inclusive Mediation Strategies (2017).
In 2016, the Department established a stand-alone Gender, Peace and Security Unit (GPS), which oversees the its implementation of the WPS agenda. GPS has the responsibility to develop policy, build the capacity of DPPA staff involved in peacemaking and support DPPA’s mission and headquarters staff in implementing Security Council resolutions on WPS and Conflict-related Sexual Violence. DPPA’s WPS Policy was issued in June 2019, to ensure that gender relevant issues and perspectives are integrated into all the Department’s activities. The Policy outlines five priorities for the implementation of the WPS agenda: a) Gender sensitive political and conflict analysis; b) Promoting inclusion and women’s meaningful participation in all peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts; c) Women’s participation in electoral and political processes; d) Preventing and addressing conflict-related sexual violence as a priority for peace; and e) Programmatic – ensuring gender mainstreaming in all projects through resource allocations, gender markers and tracking
The Department’s approach to implementing the WPS agenda is that in addition to specific focus on WPS and WPS initiatives, gender is mainstreamed throughout DPPA’s work, and that WPS work is not only the responsibility of gender advisers, but the responsibility of every staff member in DPPA and its field presences.