- Editor's Note
- Gender, peace, and security at 16: Some entry points for enhanced thought and leadership
- Financing for women, peace and security
- Reaching higher: Women liberators and gender
- Beyond numbers: Gender and UN peacekeeping
- Comment garantir la paix à travers la réduction des inégalités ?
This November-December 2016 issue of the Horn of Africa Bulletin (HAB) seeks to mark the 16th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), a landmark resolution which had the objectives of protecting women and children in situations of armed conflict and ensuring women’s participation in post-conflict processes. UNSCR 1325 is to be commended in so far as it has enabled the incorporation of a gendered lens into peace and security interventions at the global, regional and national levels.
Africa has been at the forefront in developing a normative and institutional framework for UNSCR 1325, as several articles in this issue of the HAB attest. At the continental level, the Protocol to the African Union Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) are key instances of the progress that has been made to embed UNSCR 1325 in African instruments. States are also expected to report regularly on the level of implementation of the Maputo Protocol and the SDGEA. Several regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development have also adopted Regional Action Plans (RAPs) to facilitate the implementation of the provisions of UNSCR 1325. Other regional organizations are also in the process of drawing up RAPs. Nearly 20 African Union member states out of 54 have adopted 1325 National Action Plans (NAPs). The NAPs have reportedly led to concrete results in the actualization of the pillars of UNSCR 1325; at the levels of legal and policy reform, the inclusion of women in decision making positions and creating mechanisms to implement and monitor implementation. Nonetheless, the concept behind the issue was to uncover and also initiate a conversation on the latest insights and new frontiers on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda – especially attuned to the realities of the Horn of Africa. 16 years of UNSCR 1325 and extensive efforts to actualize the pillars of UNSCR 1325, should have led to several iterative rounds of testing assumptions, forging new solutions and innovations in relation to furthering the women, peace and security agenda. To that end, the editorial team sought articles covering a broad range of themes: pieces that would interrogate the major WPS funding streams in the Horn of Africa and its aggregate impact, latest thinking and programming around the role of masculinities in conflicts in the Horn, intersectionality as a lens for analysing various conflicts, practice and prospects for prosecutions as a form of transitional justice mechanism for conflictrelated sexual violence, social media discourse in the Horn of Africa on the WPS and traditional mechanisms for addressing sexual violence in conflict settings and the potential to use Women’s Situation Rooms during elections as an innovative conflict preventive measure However, we had a hard time finding articles and authors that would take on the challenge.
Although we were a bit disappointed, the editorial team also took this as an interesting commentary on the state of theorizing and degree of rethink that is going on in the WPS community of practice. Is thinking and theorization in the sphere of UNSCR 1325 still ongoing?
Or alternatively is this another instance of the tendency to discount gender issues in peace and security discourse? This also begged the question whether the emphasis on practice in the realm of WPS has tended to discourage theorization and reflexivity. It perhaps also suggests the need for greater engagement of policy and academic actors with activists and practitioners-and greater efforts to ‘excavate’ the sites and spaces where ‘progressive’ theorizing and practice is happening. To sum up, this editor’s note is both a reminder and also a call to action to our subscribers and stakeholders, to foreground a gendered lens in their security analysis in 2017 and to push the ‘frontiers’ of theorising and reflection in the WPS realm.
However, it is not all bleak as a number of contributions in this issue of the HAB make a sustained effort to rethink, regionalize and localize UNSCR 1325 discourse. The excellent opening article by Semiha Abdulmelik, who also served as guest editor, provides not only an exhaustive overview of the institutional and normative framework underpinning the WPS agenda at the global and African levels, but also identifies entry points for African Member States and institutions to have an impact on global policy and practice on UNSCR 1325. Jeanine Cooper’s article titled, ‘Financing for Women, Peace and Security’ discusses the issue of resources for the WPS agenda. Her article identifies innovative models for fundraising in the area of ‘Public-Private Partnerships’ and also pinpoints the possible obstacles with these models. Rahel Sebhatu’s article argues for a ‘critical feminist’ perspective on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 that would aim for structural transformation in gender relations and a ‘Gender-Just Peace’. Rahel uses the experiences of women in liberation movements in the Horn of Africa to explore the potential and limitations of their gender emancipatory impact. Obert Hodzi’s article touches on an aspect that combines ‘protection’ and ‘relief and recovery’, two pillars of UNSCR 1325. Obert highlights the limitations of the approach that sees the gendering of United Nations peacekeeping operations as being realized solely through the increase in the numbers of women deployed in peace keeping operations. The article in French, for our francophone readers, by John Gbenagnon, is more abstract in its focus and argues that a gendered lens is imperative to not only ensure positive peace but also inclusive socio-economic development.
Semiha Abdulmelik and Demessie Fantaye