Parallel Session 3
From policy to implementation: utilizing the instrument of UNSCR 1325 to promote peacebuilding
The session focused on civil society’s contribution to the implementation of UNSCR 1325, on both policy and practice levels.
Promoting WPS matters in Israeli society
Itach-Maaki, the Jewish-Arab organization, which as such is unique in Israel, works towards generating awareness of UNSCR 1325 and raising the voice of the most marginalized women groups in Israeli society. Inspired by other National Action Plans (NAP) for 1325 around the world, Itach-Maaki found that a NAP would be the best strategy for promoting women’s participation in peace and security matters in Israeli society. In a two-year civil society process, about 30 women organizations talked about all aspects of 1325. Jointly they developed a civic action plan and launched it to the government. Following, in 2014, the Israeli government decided to create a NAP for 1325 in Israel. Yet, until now, the government has failed to do so. Nevertheless, the fact that during the process, Itach-Maaki could facilitate dialogue between different groups of women was in itself valuable.
Currently, Itach-Maaki aims to enlarge the circle of women who use 1325 as a tool to make their voices heard in issues of peace and security. In Israel, where the military is strong, women’s voices are absent from the discourse on peace and security in both public and private spheres. One project (a collaboration with the Women Wage Peace Movement and Adam Institute) gathered more than 500 women from diverse communities, political and religious backgrounds in seminars. The project gave the participating women tools to take back to their communities and conduct activities to promote the idea of WPS to other women and men. For the future, Itach-Maaki plans an innovation centre to gather knowledge and advance tools for the implementation of 1325.
Implementing UNSCR 1325 in Switzerland
Switzerland was among the first countries to adopt a NAP for 1325 in 2007, yet, until today, its implementation is challenging. Therefore, in 2016, Swiss civil society wrote a report, critically assessing the three previous NAPs. A key finding was that their concept of human security was too narrow as it failed to include aspects of economic and social security. Further, a stronger link to CEDAW is necessary, as it makes the resolution more binding. The new NAP 1325 builds on these recommendations. In addition, in March 2018, civil society commented on the first draft. As a result civil society’s influence is visible in the new NAP (e.g. stronger link to CEDAW). PWAG’s plan for the next four years is to conduct a project monitoring the implementation of the forth Swiss NAP 1325, together with cfd – the feminist Peace Organisation and KOFF, swisspeace. The main idea is to link policy and practice by conducting a capitalization of civil society experiences on a specific topic of the NAP (i.e. the implications of linking 1325 and PVE agenda), and work with the parliament and media.
- Participation of civil society and government ownership: how to stay independent as civil society when working closely with the government? How to ensure that the government takes ownership for the implementation of a NAP? Civil society as a watchdog or independent expert?
- How to make conflicting voices of women (and men) with different interests, needs, values work towards one resolution (i.e. 1325)? What preconditions are necessary for joint statements, especially when women have different political affiliations?
- Who funds the implementation of NAPs?
- The issue of increasing women’s access to military: how to deal with varying perspectives on this issue?
- 1325 as a foreign or domestic policy instrument?
The session concluded by highlighting the power of joint advocacy and pressure from civil society to influence policy, especially when providing concrete and realistic recommendations. The approach of combining different perspectives from civil society is powerful.