Media advisory: UN Women highlights the voices of women building sustainable peace and mobilizing for justice and equality


Media contacts:
Oisika Chakrabarti, +1 646 781-4522; oisika.chakrabarti[at]
Sharon Grobeisen
,+1 646 781-4753; sharon.grobeisen[at]

On 27 October 2017, the UN Security Council will convene its annual Open Debate on Security Council resoultion 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. UN Security Council resolution 1325 recognized for the first time in 2000 the role of gender equality and women’s leadership in international peace and security.

Today the world is grappling with rising violent extremism that places the subordination of women at the centre of the ideology and war tactics. In 2015 alone, the world spent an estimated US $34 billion on UN peacekeeping and humanitarian aid for victims of conflict and refugees. In the same year, experts also estimate that the total global cost of violence and conflict around the world was US $13.6 trillion. This is a cost of more than US $1,800 per person on the planet.

There is mounting evidence that women’s participation in peace and security efforts contributes to more effective responses to today’s complex crises, and women play a critical but under-utilized role in preventing conflict and sustaining peace. At the same time, sexual and gender-based violence in conflict is widespread, and women continue to be marginalized in peace and security processes. In this context, the women, peace and security agenda—with its focus on women’s participation, security and empowerment in global efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts—remains a critical tool to build more peaceful and inclusive societies.

When women are included in peace processes there is a 20 per cent increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least two years, and a 35 per cent increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least 15 years. From 1990 – 2000, only 11 per cent of peace agreements (17 out of 664) included at least one reference to women. Out of the 504 agreements signed since the adoption of resolution 1325, only 138 (27 per cent) included references to women. In 2016, only three of six signed agreements (50 per cent) contained gender-specific provisions, as compared to 70 per cent in 2015, and 50 per cent in 2014.

In the context of the Open Debate and the 17th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, UN Women will host a number of events focusing on topics such as women’s participation in peace processes; the investigation of sexual and gender-based violence; violence against women in leadership in conflict-affected countries; and funding for women peacebuilders.

UN Women co-sponsored events are open to media but seats are limited. Please RSVP to[at]unwomen.

25 October

Weapons, War and Women: Enabling Feminist Movement for Peace in the Middle East and North Africa region

The women, peace and security agenda is a powerful tool for moving from exclusionary to democratic decision-making, from gender inequality to gender justice, and from conflict and violence to sustaining peace. The unresolved conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, however, continue to present obstacles for inclusive peacemaking.

At a panel discussion hosted by Oxfam, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and UN Women, women civil society representatives will share locally-driven experiences and good practices for creating enabling environment for women’s meaningful participation in sustaining peace in the MENA region. Participants will share their recommendations on how to shift the focus from conflict response to conflict prevention, from militarized security to human security, from disaster and famine to feminist peace.

Venue:  UN Women, 220 East 42th Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY.
Time: 10:00-11:45 a.m.

  • Inas Mohamed Saeed Miloud, Project Coordinator, Together We Build It (Libya)
  • Rawan Jubran Khaleel Zahran, International Advocacy and Fieldwork Coordinator, Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) (OPT/West Bank)
  • Renas Jameel Hasan Zada, Deputy Director, Asuda for Combating Violence Against Women (Iraqi Kurdistan)
  • Lina Haidara Mohamed, President, To Be for Rights and Freedoms (Yemen) [Via Video Conference]

Documenting, Investigating and Prosecuting Conflict-related Sexual and Gender-based Violence: The Case of Syria and Iraq

Since 2012, Justice Rapid Response (JRR) and UN Women have deployed experts from their joint Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) Justice Experts Roster in support of the work of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Syria, the UN Fact Finding Missions for Iraq, and other justice mechanisms, to ensure crimes of SGBV are documented, and survivors have access to justice.

The event will premiere the short documentary film Evidence of Hope, which features two sexual violence investigators on the Justice Rapid Response-UN Women SGBV Justice Experts Roster who deployed to the UN’s investigations in Syria and Iraq, and four survivor-witnesses they met during their work. The film goes behind the scenes into what it takes to gather evidence of SGBV crimes, and shows the importance of quality and timely investigations. The film will be followed by an interactive discussion with investigators about the challenges and importance of documenting SGBV, focusing on the pathways to justice for crimes in Syria and Iraq. 

Venue: UN Secretariat, Conference Room 6
Time: 1.15 – 2.30 p.m.

  • Two JRR-UN Women SGBV investigators deployed to UN Investigations in Syria and Iraq
  • Andrew Gilmour, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights
  • Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Deputy Executive Director and UN Assistant-Secretary-General
  • Andras Vamos-Goldman, Executive Director, Justice Rapid Response
  • Catherine Boucher, Legal Advisor, Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations

Masculinities, Violence against Women in Leadership & Participation in Transitional Societies: The Case of Burundi and Guatemala

This event will provide a country-specific and thematic contribution to tackling the persistent gaps related to gender norms, men and masculinities, in the full implementation of UNSCR 1325. Security Council resolution 2242 (2015) discussed the importance of engaging with men and boys as partners in women’s participation in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict, peacebuilding and post-conflict situations. However, there has been little attention paid to the importance of engaging men in position of power, including in peace and justice, who affect and design policies and decisions that shape the lives of women within society at large. The range of forms of violence against women in leadership which continue to permeate their everyday lives remain generally obscured.

The event will use case studies from Burundi and Guatemala to guide a discussion about the role of masculinities in dynamics of gendered violence, and exclusion experienced by women in leadership within peace and justice institutions at the forefront of efforts to re-establish the rule of law in transitional societies. Discussants will also pinpoint challenges and identify practical measures to foster inclusive masculinities and engage with men in efforts to effectively implement Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), to prevent violence against women in leadership and strengthen their meaningful participation.

Venue: UN Secretariat, Conference Room 6
Time: 3.00 – 5.00 p.m.

  • Lise Gregoire-van Haaren, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Representation of The Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN
  • Yassmin Barrios, Presiding Judge in the Guatemalan Genocide and Sepur Zarco cases
  • Goretti Ndacayisaba, Executive Director of Dushirehamwe Association, Burundi
  • Messina Laurette Manirakiza, Impunity Watch Burundi
  • Brisna Caxaj, Impunity Watch Guatemala
  • Paivi Kannisto, Chief, Peace and Security, UN Women
  • Nahla Valji, Senior Gender Adviser to the Secretary-General

26 October

Funding the way forward: Energizing the support to the WPS agenda

Since 2000, the UN Security Council has adopted eight resolutions on women, peace and security. This agenda not only enables women to fully enjoy their right to participate in peace and security efforts and to be protected against discrimination, human rights violations and violence, it also has a transformative potential: guarantee women’s meaningful participation and make peace and security processes more effective, inclusive and sustainable. In spite of this comprehensive normative framework, implementation falls short of commitments.

The Global Study on the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, presented in 2015, identified ‘the failure to allocate sufficient resources and funds’ as ‘the most serious and persistent obstacle to the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda’. According to OECD-DAC, only 2 percent of aid to peace and security interventions in fragile states and economies in 2012-2013 targeted gender equality as a principal objective.

Venue: UN Women, 220 East 42th Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY.
5.30—7.30 p.m.

  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women
  • H.E. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations
  • Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, CEO/International Coordinator of Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
  • Ndacayisaba Goretti, Executive Director of the Dushirehamwe Association
  • Wai Wai Nu, Director of the Women Peace Network Arakan

Join the conversation on Twitter @UN_Women using the hashtag #UNSCR1325

Learn more: In Focus: Women, peace and security: Preventing war and sustaining peace