“Male-dominated” governments paying lip service to landmark UN resolution on women’s role in peace processes

New York, NY – A landmark United Nations resolution that 15 years ago promised to bolster the rights of women in peace efforts has brought some welcome progress – but far too little to be judged a success overall, says Oxfam.

The UN is reviewing the resolution, called “UNSCR 1325”, which was unanimously adopted in October 2000 to demand demanded greater participation for women in peace efforts and post-conflict recovery. It also called for more protection against violations of women’s rights and greater consideration of their needs during times of conflict.

However, the UN’s own figures show that from 1992 to 2011, less than four percent of participants at peace talks have been women. 

“Governments have done 'too little, too late' to implement UNSCR1325. Many peace processes today are failing and need fresh impetus – and women remain largely excluded from them. It is a matter of urgency that we involve women who credibly represent communities in such negotiations. UN member states must be more practical to realize the promise at the heart of this deal” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International. 

Oxfam acknowledged that some progress has been made with initiatives such as the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict held in London in June 2014 and hosted by the former British foreign secretary, William Hague, which helped to galvanize international attention. It noted too that more than 50 countries now had a formal action plan to implement the resolution.

But women campaigners on the ground say much more is needed to fulfill Resolution 1325’s promise and potential. For instance, male-only or male-dominated delegations have been the overwhelming norm at peace talks in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan in the past two years. Women in countries of conflict still struggle and often fail to have their needs understood and met by governments and security institutions.

“We urge the international community to announce concrete measures to strengthen the way that women can participate in efforts to resolve and prevent conflicts. Women must claim seats at the table during all peace negotiations. To do that, they must be backed by systematic financial and technical support – and we must all fight to open up the necessary political space,“ said Wazhma Frogh, co-founder & executive director of the Research Institute for Women, Peace & Security in Afghanistan.

Frogh said: “We need clear, accepted and costed plans to boost the numbers of women in peacekeeping missions and police services. Women’s organizations that work on the front-lines of conflict need large scale and reliable funding to be effective. We need formal ways whereby women’s rights groups and experts are consulted and can co-design national action plans.”

Notes to editors

1. Shaheen Chughtai (Oxfam policy lead on 1325) is in New York for the UNSC event and is available for interviews.

2. Since the adoption of UNSCR 1325, six additional UN Security Council resolutions have helped develop the policy framework and promote positive norms. Denmark became the first country to develop its National Action Plan (NAP) to implement UNSCR 1325 in 2005, while Côte d’Ivoire led the way in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007. By October 2015, 53 states had published one or more NAPs. For more information, see Oxfam report Women, Peace and Security: Keeping the Promise, September 2015. 

Contact information

For more information, please contact:

In the US: Vanessa Parra +1 202 476-0093 VParra@oxfamamerica.org, @parrav

In the UK: Attila Kulcsar, Humanitarian Media Officer Mobile: +447471 142974, attila.kulcsar@oxfaminternational.org, @attilalondon

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