Comunicado Conjunto de la Primera Reunión de la Red de Puntos Focales de Mujeres , Paz y Seguridad, Alicante 2017

1st Meeting of the Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network – Joint communiqué

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We, the representatives of Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and Uruguay, as well as of ECOWAS, the European Union, NATO, the Union for the Mediterranean, and UN Women have come together in Alicante, Spain, on 26th and 27th April 2017, for the first meeting of the Women, Peace and Security National Focal Points Network.

 The Women, Peace and Security National Focal Points Network was launched in New York on 23 September 2016, as a cross-regional forum of States with diverse backgrounds and of international and regional organizations aimed at providing a space to share and exchange lessons learned and best practices to advance the implementation of all Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security, including on how to develop and review high-impact national strategies; on how to integrate gender analysis in all security assessments and prevention approaches; on how to strengthen women’s participation in the security sector, peace processes and mediation efforts; and on how to address conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.

On that occasion, the founding members of the Women, Peace and Security National Focal Points Network affirmed, as highlighted at the high-level review of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) conducted in October 2015, that Member States and regional organizations remain the most influential actors in the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda and, as such, hold the primary responsibility for integrating women, peace and security commitments into domestic policies and normative frameworks.

At their first meeting, the members of the Women, Peace and Security National Focal Points Network reaffirmed their commitment to promoting the development and implementation of national action plans (NAPs) and strategies on women, peace and security as a tool to systematically integrate gender into peace and security efforts. Recognizing the need to articulate the impact of national action plans more effectively, the focal points decided to continue developing strategies for enhanced design and implementation of high-impact NAPs, and to close the existing gap between research and practice. The meeting was structured with three working groups on addressing structural barriers to gender equality, preventing and countering violent extremism and NAPs, and civil society engagement in design and implementation of NAPs.

The focal points recognized that NAPs on women, peace and security have the potential to address structural barriers that prevent women’s participation in the domain of peace and security. The working group discussed a range of challenges and strategies relating to structural barriers to gender equality. The group agreed that key challenges comprised communication of the women, peace and security agenda, and the difficulty of integrating a gender perspective into peace and security efforts and its effect on operational outcomes and leadership. Strategies to combat these barriers included broader and more strategic training within peace and security agencies; mainstreaming women, peace and security across legislation, doctrine, and planning and business processes; and ensuring that senior leaders promote, implement and mainstream women, peace and security principles.

Considering the growing challenge of radicalization and the rise of violent extremism for the effective implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, the focal points further emphasized the importance of aligning national women, peace and security strategies with any related strategies and policies aimed at preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE). Building on resolution 2242 (2015) and the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, released in December 2015, the focal points underlined the importance of advancing women’s meaningful inclusion and leadership in the development and the implementation of P/CVE strategies and programs. In particular, the working group recommended conducting or collecting research, including at national and subnational level, to better understand the specific roles of women in the prevention of and participation in violent extremism. Participants emphasized capacity building as one entry point for introducing the women, peace and security agenda into P/CVE and counterterrorism, ensuring that responses are localized and context-specific.

The focal points further reaffirmed the importance of promoting partnerships with civil society and local organizations working on women, peace and security issues. The focal points welcomed the critical contributions civil society provides to the development and implementation of high-impact NAPs. They acknowledged the benefits an inclusive approach to the design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation processes of NAPs brings to often limited time and resources. The working group on civil society engagement noted significant challenges to sustained civil society engagement and support, such as dedicated funding and institutionalizing their contributions throughout a NAP process. They discussed models to address these challenges including the creation of steering committees at both national and local levels.

Throughout the discussions, participants emphasized how important it is for national strategies to have direct impact on the lives of men and women around the world. Several key elements were identified as important to ensure a NAP has high impact:

  • Cultivating political will at all levels;
  • Ensuring coordination across government agencies;
  • Engaging civil society;
  • Funding to NAP implementation (whether dedicated or in agency baselines). Participants noted that in some cases national action plans have not been implemented particularly by developing countries due to lack of funding.
  •  Building technical skills and devoting resources to monitor and evaluate. Regular reporting mechanisms are critical for assessing the progress made on NAP implementation. Participants shared examples of reporting through mechanisms such as parliamentary hearings, shadow reports, or reports presented to international fora.

The importance of coherence and coordination between international, regional, and national efforts on women, peace and security was also recognized. Representatives of international and regional organizations shared concrete examples of their initiatives and some challenges to fully implementing the 1325 agenda.

Having decided at the founding meeting that the focal points will meet biannually to ensure the Network’s momentum and sustainability, once in a capital and once on the sidelines of the annual open debate of the Security Council on women and peace and security, following the first meeting convened in Spain on 26th and 27th April 2017, Spain will organize the next meeting of the network in the margins of the 2017 Security Council open debate on women, peace and security in New York. Germany offered to host the next meeting in capital, scheduled to take place in April/ May 2018, and Namibia offered to host the following convening in 2019.

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