Including women in peace processes in the Middle East and North Africa

Project description

Title: Promoting women’s participation in peace processes in the Middle East
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria
Lead executing agency: UN Women
Overall term: 2016 to 2022

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Context

In 2000, the Security Council of the United Nations adopted Resolution 1325 with the aim of involving women more closely in crisis prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding, and protecting them from sexual violence in armed conflicts. The results of a global study on the 15th anniversary of the resolution highlight the fact that the inclusion of women is crucial to the success and effectiveness of peace and security initiatives. 

Yet implementing Resolution 1325 still presents a huge challenge, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, known as the MENA region, where women traditionally play less of a role in political processes than men. Effective and equal participation by women in peace and transitional processes remains to be achieved.

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Objective

The political participation and influence of women in peace processes in the Middle East and North Africa are lastingly improved as set out in UN Security Resolution 1325. 

Approach

The project promotes the significant and effective participation by women in peace processes in the interests of sustainable peace in the MENA region The focus countries of this measure are Iraq,  Libya, Syria and Yemen. It is being implemented in collaboration with UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

Through it, women peace activists, mediators and selected women’s groups are learning how to help shape and lead peace negotiations by means of training courses, advisory services and regional workshops. They have access to a specially developed online portal, to the Peace Agreements Database and to the PeaceFem app, which contain strategy documents, case studies and training material.

Another focus of the project is to promote transnational networking and experience-sharing. In addition, it advises governments and other actors in peace negotiations on women’s participation and the integration of gender-sensitive perspectives.

One important component of the project is cooperation with renowned international think tanks and research institutes. With their qualitative and quantitative research, these underpin the project’s work and guarantee a fact-based and effective approach.

Results

Under the project, a large volume of information materials and publications for women in peace processes has been drawn up, including infographics, research reports and case studies. These analyse the participation of women in peace processes, how they influenced them and how they contributed to their success or failure. 

In 2019, the project successfully organised a number of regional conferences to enable women peace activists in the MENA region to share their experience. For example, women participants in Tunis developed innovative ideas for faltering peace processes; in Cairo, 22 women diplomats received capacity-building training with a focus on the region, while in Beirut the focus was on intergenerational cooperation. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has made greater use of digital formats.

The project has promoted dialogue formats and strategic partnerships between state actors in official peace process, social leaders and women peace activists from civil society. In so doing, it has generated strategic synergies among national, regional and local peace actors and identified opportunities for the inclusion of women.

For example, in 2018 and 2019, 470 and 397 women respectively took part in local, regional or national processes to form a political will or to prepare a decision in peace processes.

By generating local and context-specific knowledge and supporting the participation of women in peace processes, the programme is helping to turn Resolution 1325 into a reality.

Latest update: October 2020

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