Global norms and standards: Peace and security

A number of internationally agreed norms and standards relate to women, peace and security. Among the most prominent are:

UN Security Council resolution 1325 was unanimously adopted in 2000. A landmark legal and political framework, it acknowledges the importance of the participation of women and the inclusion of gender perspectives in peace negotiations, humanitarian planning, peacekeeping operations, post-conflict peacebuilding and governance.

In 2008, UN Security Council resolution 1820 became the first resolution to recognize sexual violence as a tactic of war, either when used systematically to achieve military or political ends, or when opportunistic and arising from cultures of impunity. It identifies sexual violence as a matter of international peace and security that necessitates a security response. It recognizes that such acts can exacerbate situations of armed conflict, and impede the restoration of peace and security. It further notes that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.

UN Security Council resolution 1888, adopted in 2009, strengthens resolution 1820 by establishing leadership, deploying expertise and improving coordination among stakeholders involved in addressing conflict-related sexual violence.

Also adopted in 2009, resolution 1889 stresses the need to strengthen the implementation and monitoring of resolution 1325. It calls for the establishment of global indicators, reiterates the mandate for increasing women’s participation and reinforces calls for mainstreaming gender perspectives in all decision-making processes, especially in the early stages of post-conflict peacebuilding.

Adopted in 2010, UN Security Council resolution 1960 provides an accountability system for stopping conflict-related sexual violence. It requests lists of perpetrators and annual reports on parties suspected of committing or being responsible for sexual violence. It stipulates strategic, coordinated and timely collection of information for and briefings to the Security Council on conflict-related sexual violence, and calls for countries to establish specific time-bound commitments to address the issue.

UN Security Council resolution 2106, adopted in 2013, adds greater operational details to previous resolutions on this topic, reiterates that all actors, including not only the Security Council and parties to armed conflict, but all Member States and United Nations entities, must do more to implement previous mandates and combat impunity for these crimes.

Adopted on 18 October 2013, UN Security Council resolution 2122 sets in place stronger measures to enable women to participate in conflict resolution and recovery, and puts the onus on the Security Council, the United Nations, regional organizations and Member States to dismantle the barriers, create the space, and provide seats at the table for women. The Resolution positions gender equality and women’s empowerment as critical to international peace and security, underlining that women’s economic empowerment greatly contributes to stabilizing societies emerging from conflict. It establishes a roadmap and calls for: the development and deployment of technical expertise for peacekeeping missions and UN mediation teams supporting peace talks; improved access to timely information and analysis on the impact of conflict on women and women’s participation in conflict resolution; and strengthened commitments to consult or include women directly in peace talks. It sets out the need for humanitarian aid to ensure access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including for pregnancies resulting from rape.

Unanimously adopted in October 2015, UN Security Council resolution 2242 places the women, peace and security agenda as a central component in addressing the challenges of the new global peace and security context, including rising violent extremism, increased numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, and the global impacts of climate change and health pandemics—the only resolution of the Council to acknowledge these dramatic changes. Resolution 2242 calls for greater participation and leadership of women and women’s organizations in developing strategies to counter violent extremism and terrorism, and creates an Informal Experts Group on Women, Peace and Security to support the Council in the consistent implementation of its commitments in this area. Resolution 2242 encourages ambitious new targets for numbers of female peacekeepers including through the use of incentives for troop-contributing countries; states the need for more senior women leaders in all levels of decision-making; and notes the need to train mediators on the impact of inclusive processes and how to achieve these, in a clear acknowledgement of the evidence linking women’s participation to more sustainable peace agreements. The resolution also highlights the need to address the critical funding gap for women’s organizations, recognizing the Global Acceleration Instrument for Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action as an avenue to attract resources, coordinate responses and accelerate implementation.

The 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action specifies women and armed conflict as one of 12 priority action areas. It calls for the increased participation of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacebuilding and governance, as well as the protection of women during armed conflict. For the first time in an international agreement, the platform underscores the importance of addressing women’s safety and contributions in terms of peace, security and development.

High-level review

Preventing conflict, transforming justice, securing the peace
The Global study on UN Security Council resolution 1325 reviews the challenges and lessons learned across regions in implementing the women, peace and security agenda since 2000. The study provides a comprehensive evidence base demonstrating that women’s equal and meaningful participation in peace and security efforts is vital to sustainable peace. Read more

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Implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security - online course

A series of courses developed by UN Women in partnership with the Peace Operations Training Institute aims to raise awareness, build capacities and promote the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security. The three courses focus on national and regional implementation in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean, respectively.

Planet 50–50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality