Letter to Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson

March 24, 2015

The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson, M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2

Dear Minister:

Congratulations on your appointment.

We are writing as members of the Women, Peace & Security Network‐Canada (WPSN‐C) and as other concerned organizations and individuals.

The WPSN-C came together to support and monitor Canada’s full compliance with the suite of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and Security (1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106, 2122). Canada played an important role when the first resolution was passed (UNSCR 1325) and it is vitally important that Canada play a leadership role in fulfilling these international obligations.

This year is especially important as it is the 15th anniversary of the UNSCR 1325 (as well as the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on gender equality and women’s rights). There are numerous international events to evaluate progress and recommit to meaningful action.

As you assume your new portfolio, we urge you to make these issues a priority by:

  • Demonstrating that Women, Peace and Security issues are a policy priority for Government of Canada statements, domestic and international initiatives, and messages to DFATD staff.
  • Providing robust human and financial support to Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, including investing dedicated resources, tracking of Canada’s investments in human and financial resources, and ensuring regular public reporting.
  • Supporting the active participation of women from the conflict areas (including indigenous and local women) in humanitarian response efforts, peace negotiation and conflict resolution processes, and post-conflict reconstruction.
  • Providing Canadian financial support for the new Global Acceleration Instrument that will support grass-roots implementation of the Security Council Resolutions by women’s organizations.
  • Ensuring that Canadian resources addressing sexual violence in conflict support the full range of sexual and reproductive health services including regarding pregnancies resulting from rape, without discrimination (as recognized in UN Security Council Resolution 2122).
  • Ensuring that Canada fulfills its commitments under the Call the Action, such as prioritizing the protection of women and girls with multilateral and non-governmental partners from the onset of an emergency.

We applaud the Government of Canada for adopting a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2010) and for the actions that the Government has taken to date. We also very much appreciate the start of regular consultations between our Network and representatives of the inter-departmental working group on women, peace and security chaired by the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START)in DFATD.

However, much remains to be done to implement the Plan and to ensure that Canada is making a difference:

  • Reporting on the National Action Plan has suffered from significant delays with the 2013-14 Report yet to be released.
  • The results achieved through the National Action Plan remain unclear. The first reports focused on listing activities and the financial information provided made it difficult to track Canada’s actual investments on women, peace and security issues.
  • The mid-term review conducted in 2014 has not yet been released.
  • We have not heard strong and consistent statements from the Canadian government on the urgency of involving women in negotiations and efforts to resolve the numerous armed conflicts the world is currently facing, in particular, in Ukraine, South Sudan, and Syria.

We would appreciate a response on how the Government of Canada is currently supporting women’s participation in resolving the armed conflicts in Ukraine, South Sudan and Syria. We would also like to receive clarification on the resources that have been specifically allocated to Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Finally we would also appreciate a strong commitment to ensuring timely, comprehensive and results-based reporting on the National Action Plan in the future. If you reply to wpsncanada@gmail.com, we would be happy to circulate your response to all the signatories below.

We look forward to working with you in your new portfolio and with the Government of Canada to end violence against women in all its forms and to ensuring that women play a central role in conflict resolution.

Sincerely,

Organizations:
Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW)
Grandmothers Advocacy Network
International Women’s Rights Project
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives /Initiatives oecuméniques canadiennes pour la justice
MATCH International Women’s Fund
Project Plougshares
The National Council of Women of Canada
Oxfam Canada
World Federalist Movement – Canada

Individuals:
Gen Acuna
Jonea Agwa
Stuart Basden, President of Toronto350.org
Timna Ben-Ari
Doris Buss, Associate Professor of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University
Lori Chambers
Natalie Claireaux
Gilad Cohen
Jane Garthson, President, Garthson Leadership Centre
Carol Greene
Tekla Hendrickson
Larry Kazdan
Prof. Marilou McPhedran, director, Institute for International Women’s Rights at the U of Winnipeg Global College<
Megan Nobert, Doctoral Candidate, Tilburg University
Benjamin Kai Reimer-Watts
Diana Rivington, Senior Fellow,  University of Ottawa
James Robinson
Jo Rodrigues
Lorraine Serrano
Sonali Srivastava
Kristine St. Pierre
Sarah Tuckey, PhD Candidate in Public Administration, University of Ottawa
Jessica Vogt
Beth Woroniuk
Katie Wosley

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