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Helpdesk Report: K4D - Conditionality and other approaches to secure women’s rights provisions in peace processes

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What are the lessons learned on the role of conditionality specifically in securing provisions protecting women’s rights as an outcome of a peace process? What other approaches can be used by international development partners to ensure inclusion of women’s rights provisions?
What lessons can be applied to the Afghanistan peace process?


  1. Summary

  2. Context

  3. Approaches to promote women’s rights in peace processes

  4. Women and the Afghanistan peace process

  5. References

1. Summary

This rapid literature review found no examples of the use of aid conditionality specifically to ensure inclusion of women’s rights provisions in peace process outcomes, but did identify other effective approaches, notably mobilisation of women, external pressure by mediators/international development partners, and funding and capacity building support for women’s groups. There are examples of peace processes where these various mechanisms have been used, and international development partners can play important roles in promoting these. In the context of the Afghanistan peace process with the Taliban, it is vital that women have a ‘place at the table’ and that their rights be safeguarded.

This review draws on a mixture of academic and grey literature. It found far greater focus in the literature on participation of women in peace processes, than on the inclusion of women’s rights in peace process outcomes.
Aid conditionality refers to attempts by donor governments to induce recipient governments to change their policies and behaviour, as well as to influence the way aid itself is spent. Peace conditionality is used as a lever to persuade conflicting parties to make peace, to implement a proposed peace accord, and to consolidate peace. Peace conditionality can potentially be used to ensure a gender perspective in peace agreements. The latter includes three layered components (Bell, 2015: 17):

a. the inclusion of women in peace process negotiations, and support to women to participate effectively;

b. the inclusion of provisions designed to address the particular needs of women;

c. an assessment of the implications for women and men of any provision in the peace agreement, including provision for legislation, policies or programmes in any area and at all levels, with a view to ensuring that men and women benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.

In the past few decades, there has been greater recognition in the international community of the essential role women can play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction, notably since passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (SCR 1325), approved in October 2000. Women’s involvement in peace processes brings significant benefits, including a long-term perspective on peace and stability (as opposed to just an absence of formal conflict) and durability of peace agreements. Women’s participation is also important to ensure women’s rights are addressed. The inclusion of gender provisions in peace agreements and newly established constitutions is critical to the emergence of equitable and more inclusive societies in the post-conflict phase.