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15 years later, what impact did UNSCR 1325 have on women's lives?

On Oct. 31, 2000 the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. It was intended to address modern warfare’s increasing impact on civilians, including women, and the exclusion of women from post-conflict peace processes. UNSCR 1325 identified four pillars to support its goals of empowering women in conflict zones: Participation, Protection, Prevention and Relief & Recovery.

This was an ambitious, hopeful step toward peace, taken by key members of the global community. In the words of Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, president of the Security Council when Resolution 1325 was passed, “The main question is not to make war safe for women, but to structure peace in a way that there is no recurrence of war and conflict.”

15 years later, while the impact of the resolution has been felt, its goals are far from fully achieved.

In Uganda, the Coalition for Action on Resolution 1325 (CoACT) has “has spearheaded monitoring of the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Uganda since 2010 to document the progress made...and provided useful recommendations toward effective implementation of the resolution,” according to CoACT National Coordinator Robinah Rubimbwa.

Rubimbwa says a lack of political will has hampered efforts to achieve UNSCR 1325’s goals, as has a lack of dedicated funding. Despite these barriers, CoACT, in partnership with the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders to provide support to victims of trauma due to armed conflicts in the country. They are also actively advocating to increase Ugandan women’s participation in government. Progress has been slow, as shown by numbers from a report generated by CoAct and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders in 2014.


Rubimbwa also says, “The incidence of gender based violence and oppression of women continue to rise with sexual violence, especially the rape of underage girls, reaching worrying proportions.” She says that official support is crucial to further success in upholding UNSCR 1325. “The government of Uganda needs to invest in gender-specific training programs for women in high offices.” Training initiatives for social and health care workers that deal specifically with gender based violence are also needed, as are gender-related affirmative action policies for the military and the police.

While there is much work still to be done, positive strides have been made on many global fronts. In its final report, the UN found the efforts to increase women’s political participation resulted in “higher rates of female voters and politicians, as well as increased legal provisions to support gender equality.” In the end, Resolution 1325’s largest impact can be found in an increased awareness of issues affecting women and a proliferation of dialogue surrounding them.

The biggest reasons for optimism may be what comes next. This year, UN member states agreed to adopt 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” The goals were developed following the largest consultation ever undertaken by the agency and were drafted an open working group of 70 participating countries. The deadline for achieving the goals is 2030.

While a global focus on issues like gender equality and empowerment are undoubtedly important, the ultimate success of efforts like the UN’s SDGs and Resolution 1325 rests in large part with the community-based initiatives of grassroots organizers like CoACT. Their understanding of local needs and connection to the community helps inform effective strategies. Support for their work is a crucial component to achieving the outcomes that Resolution 1325 aspired to and that the SDGs have set their sights on.

Nov 2, 2015

Local Group Works for Peace in Conflict-Ridden South Sudan

Every two minutes another child becomes severely malnourished as a result of the conflict in South Sudan, according to the United Nations. The organization has estimated that 2.25 million people have been displaced by the conflict in South Sudan, half of whom are children.

The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) has been working at the local level to mitigate the situation and quell the violence.

One of CEPO’s approaches to reduce violence is to research factors that may trigger violent conflict between communities.

“CEPO also do conduct risk awareness and share knowledge of likely risks that the communities will face,” CEPO spokesperson James Bidal explained. “CEPO has the capacity to analyze, anticipate, and monitor the political will to respond to the divers of conflict.”

By mapping factors that may trigger violence, such as cattle raids, land grabs and competition over resources, and reporting them to stakeholders, CEPO has been working to keep the peace among neighbouring communities.

As South Sudan continues to move through the peace process, CEPO has also been working to assist the development of democracy. The group has been educating and engaging both citizens and political parties to facilitate dialogue between the two, in the hope of expediting the process.

According to Bidal, CEPO has been “organizing civil society and political parties dialogues on the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development-led peace mediation process.” Initiatives have included ‘Walk for Peace’ and public debates on the peace process.

Unfortunately, recent developments threaten to stall progress, including a decree by President Salva Kiir that would create 18 new states and news of the ruling party’s dissolution of its leadership secretariat. President Kiir remains chairman and is planning to appoint new leadership soon.

As the process moves forward, CEPO has been on the ground demonstrating the importance of civil peace-builders and uniting the groups and organizations that will be able to ensure safety and security for South Sudan citizens.

CEPO strives to “mobilize all civil society organizations, faith based organizations, pressure groups, interest groups, political parties, [and] the South Sudanese people to have a common position and pressurize IGAD, AU, EU, Trorika, UN and the international community to accept an inclusive strategy of reaching peace and impose on the warring parties.”

Media reports as of October 19 indicate South Sudanese residents may soon see peace in their country as the rival parties have agreed to resume talks regarding security arrangements.

Whenever peace comes to the country it will be up to citizens and groups like CEPO to help it succeed in the cities and towns in South Sudan.

For more information on CEPO visit their website.

Oct 26, 2015

Recognizing Youth Peacebuilding

Our upcoming PeaceTalk, with UBC's Laura Lee on Sept 5, will focus on the role of youth peacebuilders in Rwanda and Kenya. This week, the Uganda-based Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP) is holding events to both honor the work of youth peacebuilders in the Gulu region and to remember those who are still missing as a result of the LRA conflict. This event will take place on August 30, which marks International Day of the Disappeared, and is part of the activities for The Week Against Disappearances. For more information about forced disappearance in Uganda, check out the RightToKnow program

Nov 13, 2012

Cheryl's Process Book For CEWIGO

If you would like to read more about the CEWIGO project, check out Cheryl's CEWIGO process book. Cheryl won both the 2011 Jim Rimmer Scholarship and the GDC National/ Ray Hrynkow Scholarship for Design for her work exceptional work on the CEWIGO project.

Nov 12, 2012
Category: Project Profile

PeaceTalk #3: Youth Peacebuilding In Kenya & Rwanda

Guest Speaker:
Laura Lee
Sep 5, 2012
6:00 7:30PM
Calabash Bistro

Many youth in Kenya an Rwanda, and in particular youth who head households, live in marginalized situations, facing economic deprivation and daily adversity as they strive to survive and care for their families. Cycles of conflict have ravaged their communities for decades and yet youth live with a sense of hope that they will be a generation to bring peace. This talk will highlight the lives of youth in Kenya and Rwanda, their dreams and visions for their lives, and the movements that youth are making to bring peace and social justice to their communities.

Speaker Bio: 

Laura Lee is a PhD candidate and scholar based at UBC's Liu Institute for Global Issues. Her current work focuses on youth sexual health in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province in communities impacted by conflict and HIV. Laura's research interests also include health and social inequities, social suffering and health, resilience, psychosocial well-being of young people, creative and participatory research methodologies, and community-based approaches to research. Laura has worked as a researcher and community health practitioner in Kenya, Rwanda, Angola, Tanzania, India, and Bolivia.


Thank You To:
Aug 15, 2012
Category: PeaceTalks
Time 2:
4 PM

PeaceTalk #1: Unchopping a Tree?

Guest Speaker:
Onur Bakiner
Jul 4, 2012
5:30 7:00PM
Caffé Rustico

Governments, international organizations and civil society groups have become increasingly active in their efforts to build lasting peace in war-torn countries across the globe. Yet as evidence from various regions suggests, the goal of peace-building remains elusive. This talk provides an introduction to peacebuilding and explored some of the promises and challenges of peace-building in the contemporary world.

Jun 13, 2012
Category: PeaceTalks
Time 2:
4 PM
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