Kemi Ogunsanya, Adviser on Gender and Political

Presentation on
Women Peace and Security in the
‘Kemi Ogunsanya, Adviser Gender Section
Commonwealth Secretariat, London
at the
CPA-UK Gender and Politics Conference, London
7 November 2012
• CW believes that women’s role as change agents is
pivotal to the achievement of sustainable peace,
development and democracy across the globe
• The challenge for the CW is to demonstrate impact of
women’s contribution to peace and democracy in
member countries
• Women should be able to influence decisions and
contribute to peace and sustainable development
• Their social, economic and political empowerment
should form part of the democratic ideals in
accordance with global mandates
• UN Resolution 1325 and follow-up resolutions, made an
urgent call for the:
– equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts for the
maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and
– increased role of women in leadership and decision-making with regards to
peace-making, peacekeeping, conflict prevention and resolution.
• The Commonwealth is guided by these resolutions
encapsulated in the CW Plan of Action for Gender Equality
2005-2015 (PoA), which draws on international commitments
for the realisation of women’s rights enshrined in
– Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),
– Beijing Platform for Action, 1995
– Millennium Development Goals and
– other agreements on health and education targets.
PoA Key Actions and Targets for Member
• Promote women’s full participation at all stages of the
peacebuilding processes including formal and informal
negotiations and agreements.
• Include gender equality in peace and conflict
management processes
• Mainstream women in the training of peacekeepers,
armed, police forces and partners to ensure appropriate
codes of conduct
• Confront gender bias in public and private sector
recruitment, and in the media and peace operations
• Ensure women make up at least 30% of decision-makers
in peace processes, government and business by 2015
PoA Key Actions and Targets for the
• Support countries to address specific needs of
women, men and young people in conflict and postconflict situations including child soldiers and victims
of rape
• Support member states to gather relevant data that
is sex and age specific to monitor all forms of
gender-based violence
• Support leadership to enable women to seek and
advance political careers through capacity-building
programmes and projects
Challenges of women in armed conflicts
• Women and men experience conflict differently:
women and girls are by-products of war and armed
• In peace time, women and girls are subjected to gross
sexual abuse and violations in the home, community
and society
• Vulnerable to abuse, sexual slavery, exploitation,
human trafficking and punitive traditional practices
• In specific situations women have participated and
contributed to war to a minimal degree (3%)
Photo: Zainab Hawa Bangura (Sierra Leone) SRSG on Sexual Violence
and Conflict, June 2012
Why Women?
• The participation of women is indispensable because of
their social, economic and political roles
• Out of the two billion peoples in the CW, women and girls
are half of the world’s population
• Women have contributed significantly in peace
processes, preventive diplomacy, capacity building
initiatives, post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding
• Women have served as mediators between combating
parties, and brokered ceasefire and peace agreements
• Have transformed governance and decision-making
processes across CW regions
CW Women and peace
• In specific circumstances women are not allowed to seat
at peace tables
• An analytical study of 585 peace agreements signed
between 1990 and 2010 reveals only 16% contained
references to women in qualitative terms (biologically)
• Yet they have played effective roles in peace-making,
peacekeeping, peacebuilding and post-conflict
reconstruction in Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South
Africa, Sri Lanka and Uganda
• Currently only three CW countries are in post-conflict:
Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka (Fiji – suspended)
CW Women and Peacekeeping
• 4 CW countries top contribution of military and police
personnel to UN PSOs in 2012: Bangladesh, India,
Nigeria and Pakistan.
• Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Bangladesh and
Rwanda rank high in contribution of female troops.
This accounts for 10% of Police Officers and 3% of
military personnel
• Out of 30 CW countries contributing troops, only
Brunei and PNG have not contributed women
• Canada deploys 10% of police women to
CW Women and
• Three CW countries deployed all
female police units: India in Liberia,
Bangladesh in Haiti & DRC, and
Samoa in East Timor
• In 2012, 30 percent of women
constitute civilian staff in
peacekeeping and peacebuilding
• Pacific Islands recognise the
Arrival of allof
to UN Mission in
prevention, resolution and
CW Women and Peacekeeping
• In 2012 there are six Women SRSGs &
DSRSGs – two are from the CW with one
Special Envoy:
• Margaret Vogt from Nigeria SRSG to CAR and
Ameerah Haq from Bangladesh SRSG to
Timor-Leste in 2010
• Zainab Hawa Bangura from Sierra Leone
SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict
(UNSCR1820), June 2012
• Radhika Coomaraswamy from Sri Lanka former
SRSG for Children and Armed conflict as at 31
July 2012
• Dr Asha-Rose Migiro of Tanzania recently
appointed Special Envoy for HIV and AIDS in
Africa in July 2012, previously held by Elizabeth
Mataka from Botswana. Dr Migiro served as
Contributions of Women Peacekeepers
• Improved intelligence gathering
• Interviewing survivors of gender-based violence
Photo: Arrival of all
• Effectiveness of operational procedures
Female Bangladeshi
Officers to Haiti
• Ability to work in conservative environments
• Provide security to women and girls
• Reduction in conflict confrontation
• Empowerment of community women & girls
• Highlight diversity, inclusion and gender equality
• Support female ex-combatants in DDR process
• Expand skills and approaches in peacekeeping
CW Women and Peacebuilding
• New Publication on 1325 National Action Plans
• Six CW countries have adopted NAPs
Australia (2012)
Canada (2010)
Rwanda (2010)
Sierra Leone (2010)
Uganda (2008)
United Kingdom (revised 2011)
• Developing a framework to support member states
adopt and implement NAPs
Photo: CW New
Publication on Gender,
Peace and Security
Commonwealth Women and Peacebuilding
• Adoption & Implementation of National Action Plans
• Some members are in the process of adopting NAPs e.g.
South Africa
• Other countries have in place gender mainstreaming
• The Secretariat will:
– Advise governments to increase participation of women in
peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions
– Urge members to provide required resources, training and
capacity building initiatives for women to participate effectively in
these processes
– Monitor and evaluate adoption and implementation of NAPs with
member states
– Recommend penalties for non-compliance at all levels across all
Thank You
Q & A / Comments
UN delegation to the International Association of Women Police annual
conference in Minneapolis, USA. Photo by Irene Ang