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ICRtoP participates in San Diego conference: Precarious Progress: UN Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security”, a cross-sector conference on Resolutions 1325, 1888 and 1889.

San Diego
29 September – 1 October
ICRtoP participated in the conference entitled “Precarious Progress” as part of our work exploring the link between women’s rights and the RtoP, not solely recognizing the need for a gendered response to conflict to address the needs of women as victims of mass atrocities, but also in the specific contribution that women play in the prevention and resolution of crisis involving mass violence.
This year’s conference was convened by the Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego as the UN marks both the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 10th anniversary of UN Security Resolution UN Security Resolution 1325, the first to recognize that women are disproportionately affected by conflict and the need to increase the participation of women at all levels of decision making, most specifically on issues of security in the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict.
As stated by the organizers of Precarious Progress,  “during this conference more than 175 women with extensive peace and security experience from over 47 countries – including U.N. officials, peace mediators, police and security officers, female peacekeepers, government officials, directors of national and international organizations, judges and attorneys, technical advisors, scholars and policy experts – were in attendance. The convening was an extraordinary indication of the depth of gender expertise available to advance global security in the midst of the current increasing acts of terrorism, on-going government instability and changing perceptions of security”. 
I. Panel discussion: Advancing the Responsibility to Protect Agenda: what do women’s rights have to do with it?
ICRtoP participated in a panel exploring the link between the UN agenda on Women, Peace and Security and the Responsibility to Protect, facilitated by Doris Mpoumou. 
Background on RtoP
Marion Arnaud’s presentation provided an opportunity to educate participants about the development of RtoP and recent progress at the UN and the role of civil society in advancing the agenda. RtoP was presented as an important emerging norm, a solemn pledge made by leaders of every country to all men and women endangered by mass atrocities, with the prevention of atrocities at the heart of its framework. (See PowerPoint presentation)
Link between RtoP and Women Peace and Security
Sarah Teitt, from the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, provided an analysis of the link between the two agendas. She explained that, while the 2009 report of the SG on RtoP offered a much more gender-sensitive approach than the original 2001 report from the ICISS Commission, much remains to be developed to ensure a proper inclusion of women in RtoP’s implementation. She gave three recommendations for the path ahead:
  1. Raising awareness of women constituencies in support of WPS and RtoP
  2. Exploring in more depth how RtoP could be relevant and help advance women’s rights, as an advocacy tool for state responsibility and international assistance, and in specific areas such as protection, justice, small arms control and conflict prevention
  3. Involving women in discussions on implementing RtoP, to add their voice in shaping the agenda, add gender sensitivity and make the norm relevant to and reflective of the lived experience of women.
Discussion and recommendation on the link between RtoP and WPS
The ensuing discussion between 30 participants focused on the fact that RtoP is a new norm, in the sense that, as Res. 1325, it is still being shaped by many actors towards becoming implemented at the national, regional and international levels, and now is the time to ensure that it incorporates a gender perspective. The recommendations stemming out of the discussions and presented to the larger group were the following: 
  1. Recognize the complementary nature of the Responsibility to Protect and Women, Peace and Security agendas. RtoP can bring the timely action that is need to respond to massive rapes and other gender-based mass violence crimes that occur in conflict situations. (RtoP can certainly benefit from UNSCR 1325 provision on women’s participation in ALL peace decision making processes –peace making/keeping/building, negotiations, mediations…) 
  2. Encourage the sharing of analysis and information between early warning mechanisms and ensure the integration of gender sensitive indicators at all levels (international, national, regional and local actors) 
  3. Continue raising awareness of the Responsibility to Protect by highlighting the centrality of prevention of atrocities including systematic attacks against women inherent in its framework to dispel certain myths about RtoP. 
  4. Harmonize advocacy efforts with civil society organizations and movements working on RtoP related agendas such as gender justice including under the ICC framework, women , peace and security (UNSCR 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889), disarmament, peace keeping/making/ building… 
  5. Create opportunities for governments and organizations at all levels to work together on related agendas.
  6. Incorporate the prevention of mass atrocities in National Action Plans for Human Rights
II. Excerpts from Statement from the Co-Conveners  
Agreeing that there must be a more integrated and inclusive approach to manifesting concrete, measurable and positive action to empower and protect women in conflict situations, as well as to advance preventive approaches and accountability platforms, representatives from within U.N. agencies, INGOs, local organizations, institutions and governments convened to bring their experience, good practices and challenges forward to propose more comprehensive approaches to fulfill the U.N. Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security. (…)
On the basis of the forthright input gathered during this conference on progress achieved and systematic gaps to be addressed, and in recognition of the 10th anniversary of Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325, conveners call on all relevant actors to heed the following actionable recommendations, recognizing that unless and until these points are taken into account and expanded upon, any investment in peace and security will be both inefficient and insufficient. (…)
Advancing Model Approaches and Frameworks
- Re-commit to women’s greater participation in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities. (…)
- Endorse the Secretary-General’s proposed indicators on SCR 1325, a guarantee of financial and technical resources necessary for their full implementation and the establishment of linkages with existing mechanisms, such as human rights machinery and early warning systems, to ensure information yielded by these indicators is acted upon. (…)
- Create criteria to ensure gender competence and expertise in decision-making bodies on security issues.   
Good practice: The Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice provides an exemplary mechanism that reviews the election of judges, the chief prosecutor and deputy prosecutors to the ICC, to assess their gender competence and thereby advance gender-inclusive justice. 
- Strengthen cross-sector and cross-agency collaboration, recognizing the inter-linkages and complementary nature between protection, participation and prevention frameworks. 
Good practice: The International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect advocates for the inclusion of gender-based violence in existing frameworks to prevent and halt genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. 
- Assure a gender dimension in reparations, including addressing the social relations and sources of violence in a gender-sensitive and gender-inclusive manner. (…)
- Recognize the need to control the tools of violence, specifically small arms and light weapons, in order to guarantee peace and security.
- Systematically challenge behaviors and cultural norms that oppress women and violate international law. 
- Establish mechanisms for engaging men, in particular articulating how SCR 1325 speaks to men and men’s concerns. (…)
The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, UNIFEM, International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security


Until the publication of the conference report, an overview of presentations and panels is available on the Institute for Peace and Justice’s conference blog.  

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