For women’s full participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding

An initiative from Kvinna till Kvinna

Towards developing a National Action Plan for UNSCR 1325 in Iraq

Tags: , , , , , Categories: The Middle East, UN

Iraq NAP 1325 Initiative: Civil Society Reference Group Strategic Meeting, Beirut, July 28-29, 2012

When UNSCR 1325 was adopted in 2000 it clearly stated women’s right to equal participation in peace and re-building processes. But still there are many countries who hasn’t even developed a National Action Plan (NAP) for how to implement the resolution. One of these countries is Iraq, where women’s rights activists now have joined together to get a NAP into place.

Iraq is one of the countries that suffered greatly from the aftermath of conflicts and wars that have affected the social, economic, cultural, health and political status of women. Despite having played a critical role in sustaining the community and the remaining infrastructure and despite playing a critical role in the social, political and economic development of the post-conflict Iraq, women have been marginalized in the public and private life; excluded from decision making on all levels and consequently been deprived of the opportunity to influence the decisions that shape their lives. The discrimination and violence against women in the legislation, as well as in the economic and social life, persist, contributing to an increasing sense of insecurity for women.

Resolution 1325 was one of the instruments developed by the UN Security Council to confirm the fact that sustainable peace and security can only be achieved with the protection and the participation of the whole society – both women and men. As such UNSCR 1325, together with other international mechanisms as CEDAW and Beijing Platform for Action, is a powerful instrument that can be used by civil society organizations to hold their governments accountable.  However, the resolution is written in general terms and in order for the government in Iraq to adopt a contextualized and effective response, a national action plan (NAP) with specific, measurable and time-limited objectives is needed, in order to enable the implementation of the resolution. It also requires specific actions and policies, accountability mechanism for the ministries and respective authorities, a concrete allocated budget, transparency and an evaluation and monitoring reporting mechanism.

A workshop entitled “Towards creation of National Action Plan for implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Iraq”, was held on 25-27 April 2012 in Amman by the European Feminist Initiative (IFE-EFI) in cooperation and with the support of the Norwegian Embassy Amman, to identify the present challenges for developing a national action plan and to map the way forward. One of the identified challenges during this workshop was the lack of networking and insufficient cooperation among women’s rights organisations. Addressing this problem was seen as a precondition for the success of the whole process and consequently for the development of the NAP. As an outcome for the workshop, four women activists were delegated to widen the process and reach out to other leading activists from civil society to form a focus group that would work together to ensure that in an all-inclusive consultative process for developing of a National Action Plan (NAP) in Iraq is set in place.

Between April and June the process continued and representatives from major women’s rights organizations were approached and invited to the Civil Society Strategic Meeting in Beirut on 28-29 July 2012. The main objectives of the meeting were to develop a common understanding and strengthen collaboration amongst key representatives from various women’s groups and networks to develop a NAP, benefiting from the Nepalese successful experience, identify key strategies and a work plan for the development of NAP, as well as the terms of reference for the national reference civil society group.

During this meeting, major Iraqi women’s rights organizations mapped the necessary actions for implementing UNSCR 1325 and developed an outline of a NAP framework with specific goals, objectives and main principles. The participants also expressed their willingness to work together towards building a political will for developing of NAP through a process built on dialogue, respect and the acknowledgement of differences, agreeing to maintain coordination, cooperation and transparency in the work of the reference group. A name for the national reference group was also agreed upon: Iraq NAP 1325 Initiative (I-NAP 1325 Initiative). In addition to that,  an outline  for the preliminary plan of action for the I-NAP 1325 Initiative was developed for the first several months, from the 1st of September till the 31st of December 2012, with a focus on building a political will towards developing the NAP; reaching out to other groups working with UNSCR 1325 inside Iraq and starting a broad consultation process.

It is worth mentioning that no country in the Middle East and North Africa region has yet developed an NAP for the implementation of UNSCR1325, hence the development of a NAP and the success in its implementation will certainly make Iraq a leading country and a model in the region. The Iraqi government can set an example in the region and in this way contribute to the building of a long-awaited regional peace process.

Download the report from the meeting.

Nadia Elgohary

40 percent women delegates result of Georgia’s plan for UNSCR 1325

Tags: , , , Categories: The South Caucasus

27th of December 2011 the Parliament of Georgia approved a National Plan of Action for 2012-2015, for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The vote was preceded by a long and intense process, which involved governmental offices, international organizations and non governmental organizations (NGO:s). Now, six months later, is it possible to see any results?

Discussions on the possibility of adopting a National Action Plan, NAP, began in 2002, but at that time it didn’t reach beyond just talks. But when Georgia in 2010 adopted the Law on Gender Equality, and later established the Council for Equality, the issue surfaced again. A working group including government officials, civil society and international organizations was formed.

Miranda Gvantseladze works at the Cultural-Humanitarian Fund Sukhumi, one of the organizations represented in the working group:

- It was very important that non-governmental organizations were involved in developing the NAP. We are familiar with the situation at local level and we also have the experience and capacity to use in developing this kind of documents. And since the document was in our hands, we can say that our voice has been heard, she says.

Priority areas

The Georgian National Action Plan includes a number of priority areas:

  • Increase the number of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and conflict management
  • Protection of women’s rights and the guarantee of mental, economic, social and political security
  • Elimination of all forms of violence against women
  • Addressing the special needs of women in conflict and post-conflict situations

First results

To be able to monitor the outcome, the NAP also includes a number of measurements. They focus on education, like seminars and workshops, as well as on the analysis of the situation, i e the accumulation of data, research and sharing of available statistics on the floor. And the first results are already here.

- There have been trainings held for the officials at the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of Education haven’t had any trainings held yet but they have developed a plan of activities, says Eka Kemularia from the Georgian Parliament’s Committee on Human Rights and Civil Integration.

-  The Minister of Defense plans to issue a special order for the implementation of the NAP at the ministerial level. That will include more women working at the ministry, more women involved in decision-making and training for the ministry’s staff in gender issues with regard to women and security, says George Amanatidze, Head of the International Law Division at the Ministry of Defence.

40 percent women delegates

And these are not just empty words – Georgian women have actually gotten more chances to make inputs in the area of conflict resolution. For example, in the 19th round of the Geneva talks on the stabilization work in South Caucasus, four out of ten of the participants in the Georgian delegation were women.

Hopes for international funding

Despite the obvious progress in implementing the NAP, there still remains, according to Eka Kemularia, the painful question of funding. And here the Georgian government’s hopes are to the international community.

- We hope that donors will not have the attitude that now, when the NAP has been adopted, they will stop or reduce their assistance. Yes, getting a plan through is not always easy, but it is easier than to execute it. If the international community won’t support us, first, the plan could unfortunately fail, and secondly, we have to some extent become an example for other countries, so if we are not successful, it would not be a very good example .

NGOs need support from the state

Miranda Gvantseladze agrees that the support from international organizations is important, but at the same time she finds it sad that the Georgian state doesn’t support the non-governmental sector.

- It’s a big problem for us.  We have good ideas, good projects, but it’s difficult for us to get funding. Unfortunately, in our country the non-governmental organizations do not get state assistance yet, she says.