By Beth Woroniuk
On October 18th the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2122. This Resolution picks up on issues in Resolution 1325 relating to women’s participation on conflict resolution and recovery from armed conflict. The Resolution was welcomed by women’s groups who see it as a positive advancement in implementing the goals and aims of Resolution 1325.
Key elements of the new Resolution include:
- A commitment to focus more attention on women’s leadership and participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding and improving the Council’s access to information on women, peace and security issues.
- The recognition of the importance of humanitarian aid including the full range of medical, legal, psychosocial and livelihood services to women affected by armed conflict and the need for access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, “including regarding pregnancies resulting from rape, without discrimination.” This was immediately seen as support for the provision of abortion services in these circumstances.
- An emphasis on women’s participation in negotiating delegations, mediation support teams, peace talks, peacekeeping deployments, and electoral processes.
- The need for continued efforts to address women’s access to justice in conflict and post-conflict settings.
- A high-level review of progress on the implication of 1325 is scheduled for 2015. This Review is to be supported by a study by the Secretary-General.
Member states – that includes Canada – are encouraged to:
- Develop dedicated funding mechanisms to support the work and enhance capacities of organizations that support women’s leadership development and full participation in decision-making, regarding the implementation of the Resolution 1325.
- Increase the percentage of women military and police in the deployments to UN peacekeeping operations and to provide troops with adequate training to carry out their responsibilities (including on the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence).
- Support the development and strengthening of the capacities of national institutions, in particular judicial and health systems, and of local civil society networks in order to provide sustainable assistance to women and girls affected by armed conflict and post-conflict situations.
- Ensure women’s participation in efforts to combat and eradicate the illicit transfer and misuse of small arms and light weapons.
- Review existing plans and targets regarding the implementation of Resolution 1325 and set new targets in time for the High-level Review scheduled for 2015.
Canada’s contribution to the debate was short on specific commitments. The official UN press release summarized Canadian remarks this way:
MICHAEL GRANT (Canada) underscored that women’s inclusion in justice and the economic and social spheres was a necessary precondition to securing sustainable peace. What was particularly egregious was the practice of child, early and forced marriage, which denied girls’ rights and put their very lives at risk. Conflict situations exacerbated that practice, and the Council should take action to ensure the meaningful participation of women in conflict prevention, mediation and resolution. Initiatives by his country included a forthcoming resolution on child, early and forced marriage at the General Assembly, as well as a resolution adopted in June by the Human Rights Council under Canada’s leadership on the elimination of violence against women. Canada was working with partners to assist the empowerment of women in conflict-related situations such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he continued, and looked forward to strengthening efforts to empower women and girls as “active decision-makers”.
The full text of the Canadian remarks is available in the official record of the meeting.