The Women, Peace, & Security (WPS) Index, compiled by Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, draws on recognized international data sources to rank 153 countries on the condition of women and their empowerment in homes, communities, and societies more broadly. While several indices focus more narrowly on indicators of inclusion, this is the first index to capture women’s inclusion, security, and access to justice in the context of the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda.
As a predominant method of ending violent conflict, peace agreements have a significant impact on women’s lives. Christine Bell studies peace agreements drafted between 1990 and 2015 and produces data on when women have been specifically mentioned in these agreements. The data shows that while there has been an increase in the number of peace agreements that reference women and gender since United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security was created in 2000, very few of these agreements “provide evidence of a robust ‘gender perspective’ having been adopted.” Bell discusses the implications of this as well as other findings and provides recommendations for making progress on UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions. Read the full article here.
This study examines the execution of United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, as well as barriers to and priorities for its future implementation. Since it was passed in 2000, Resolution 1325 has contributed to the creation of additional protections for women in conflict, an increase in peace agreements that specifically reference women, and growth in the number of women in senior leadership at the UN. However, many of the improvements have been insufficient to address both ongoing needs and new threats to women’s rights. Detailed recommendations are provided for numerous issues, and a set of principles are proposed to guide global efforts toward continued implementation of the resolution. The study concludes with a call to view all these efforts through the lens of women in specific conflicts, and for the UN to take the lead in promoting global peace. Read the full article here.
Though indigenous women have successfully engaged in and made notable contributions to the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, there remain areas in which their enhanced involvement is central. This UN Women research brief discusses two of these areas: justice for conflict-related violence, and the role of natural resources in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Indigenous women’s involvement in reparation initiatives for gender- and sexual-based violence in conflict settings has proven successful, but enhancing their engagement is needed to maximize these efforts. Additionally, indigenous women should no longer be excluded from decision-making processes around natural resources in conflict-affected settings since they are key actors in securing these resources for their communities. Read the full article here.
Brideprice – the money or other gifts provided by a groom and his family to a woman’s family as part of a marriage agreement – is a prevalent cause of instability and violent conflict in some societies. As brideprice rises, some young men are “priced out” of marriage, particularly in places where polygamy and other systemic issues tied to brideprice exist. This incentivizes violence to obtain the requisite resources, with rebel and terror groups exploiting this situation to recruit new members. To demonstrate these principles, the authors dive into two case studies: examining armed groups in South Sudan and Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. They conclude that the rise of brideprice and the overall treatment of women are important early indicators of violent conflict. They also demonstrate that governments and civil society groups can intervene to head off instability, citing examples from Saudi Arabia and other nations. Read the full article here.
The International Network to Promote the Rule of Law (INPROL) is an online community of practice that promotes coordination and collaboration in the rule of law field through research, innovation and support to experts and institutions operating in post-conflict and developing countries. It is spearheaded by the United States Institute of Peace in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement; the Center of Excellence for Police Stability Units; the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Strategic Police Matters Unit; and William & Mary School of Law.
Through its work with its affiliates and members, INPROL helps Rule of Law practitioners and academics solve the problems they face in the field, and promotes professional development and learning through a variety of online resources. It also serves as a network to promote coordination and foster innovation in the Rule of Law field.
The bulk of the world’s most violent conflicts happen in countries with youthful populations, and 80% of the world identifies as religious. However, youth and local religious actors are routinely under-utilized in peacebuilding, if not left out of the process altogether, according to this report published by the U.S. Institute of Peace. Youth leaders and religious leaders both can lend legitimacy to peacebuilding efforts and provide access to vulnerable communities. However, to maximize the impact of these groups in preventing conflict and sustaining peace, the international community and peacebuilding practitioners are encouraged to build trust between youth and religious leaders, identify allies in each of these communities, and involve religious actors, youth leaders, and religious youth in peace dialogues at various levels. Read the full report here.
This article by Marie-Christine Heinze and Marwa Baabad draws from interview-based research by the Yemen Polling Center, Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient, and Saferworld to discuss the impact of conflict on women and the roles of women in conflict and peacebuilding in two regions of Yemen—Aden and Ibb. This research identifies common, general concerns in both regions with regard to the impact of conflict on women and families, including deleterious economic impacts, increased isolation of women, health consequences, and increased proliferation of arms. Additionally, women play a significant role in peacebuilding efforts in both areas. While generalities exist, it is important to remember that the relationship between women, conflict and peacebuilding is unique to each locale. As such, local, national and international institutions need to build on all women’s contributions to peacebuilding initiatives—even those that seem insignificant—in order to maximize the efficacy of these efforts. Read the full article here.
This thesis by Janel Smith examines the role of civil society in peace-building using the case study of post-war Sri Lanka. The “victor’s peace,” i.e. war that didn’t end through a peace agreement, enabled acts of securitization by Sri Lanka’s central government that resulted in a repressive environment, limiting the peace-building impact of civil society. Further, civil society itself is shown to be a complicated arena in which some actors might support the victor’s peace for reasons of self-interest rather than other more positive or altruistic reasons. Throughout, Smith uses the analytical tool of Human Security, which considers threats against individuals in evaluating peace, and in doing so also evaluates the concept and utility of Human Security itself. Read the full article here.