"It is now more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier in modern conflict."
Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert, former UN Peacekeeping Operation commander in DR Congo

“If they asked me, I would tell them. Start from one peaceful village. That is where I would start from.”
Woman activist and participant in CARE livelihoods project, Nepal

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Women’s group supported by CARE in Nepal, 2010

Introduction

CARE International has prioritized women’s empowerment and humanitarian action in both its programming and advocacy. Within these frameworks, Women, Peace and Security (WPS) has been identified as a priority theme for CI advocacy, building on our extensive programme efforts to address the consequences of war for women and girls, and women’s voice in peace-making, peacebuilding, post-conflict governance and wider recovery efforts.

Our draft CI WPS advocacy goals are as follows:

  • Protection & Access to Assistance: By 2015, women’s rights and needs will be at the heart of policies and practices that affect their protection from violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.

  • Participation: By 2015, all peace-making, peacebuilding, post-conflict governance and wider recovery and reconstruction processes will include the equal and meaningful participation of women.

More detailed policy objectives and the strategy can be found in the document linked below.


CI WPS Working Group

Information and coordination on WPS advocacy is coordinated through the CI Women, Peace and Security (WPS) advocacy working-group. The group has an email list-serve which any CARE member of staff can join and occasionally has face-to-face meetings. To register to the list-serve, please contact mollett@careinternational.org


Background on CI Advocacy on WPS Issues

Advocacy on WPS issues at CARE has a long history, however it was first coordinated at a CI level in a sustained fashion around the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1820 on sexual violence in armed conflict in 2008. In this process and in deliberations on the subsequent implementation plan for UN SCR 1820, 1888 and 1889, CARE acted as the leading operational multi-mandate agency feeding in perspectives from programmes and beneficiaries. CARE has also been very active in regional and cross-country learning and programming efforts to implement SCR 1325, notably under the leadership of CARE Austria and CARE Norway. In 2010, the empowerment and participation agenda came to the fore with the production of a major study outlining policy recommendations linked to the 10th anniversary review of UN SCR 1325, and a UN process to promote indicators against the 1325 framework. The study identified lessons learned from CARE’s programming on how actors can promote women’s meaningful participation in conflict contexts, drawing on our experience in Afghanistan, Nepal and Uganda.

Framed under the wider CI priorities of humanitarian action and women’s empowerment, the first outline for our strategy was developed at a CI global advocacy workshop in Geneva in May 2010. It has been further developed in conference-calls by a core group of the CI WPS Advocacy working-group. The draft strategy is now out for consultation. It focuses on two pillars: protection & access to assistance, and participation. It promotes greater accountability against international and national policies on WPS, enhanced implementation of existing policy, and new or reformed policy to address gaps and weaknesses in current practices. The strategy also outlines proposed internal change objectives for CI in our advocacy on WPS to

Summary of Key Advocacy Issues

Protection & access to assistance: Research indicates that women and girls are disproportionately exposed to violence in conflict and post-conflict situations. Both international and national efforts to protect women and girls from violence are inadequate. International peace operations often lack the mandate, capabilities and training for such protection, and national security and justice institutions are often weak or even complicit in the violence. All too often international assistance on the ground is inadequately attuned to the protection needs of women and girls – reflecting a wider neglect of gender in humanitarian and recovery efforts. Similarly, long-term assistance to support the medical and -social care and other needs of survivors is inadequate. All too often, violence against women is seen as inevitable consequence of war, and the legacies in terms of impunity and inadequate support for GBV prevention and response continue into the post-conflict period.


Participation: Women’s participation and women’s rights are neglected in peace-making, peace- building, post-conflict governance and wider recovery and reconstruction processes. Especially the voices of poor and marginalized women in rural areas, typically at the frontlines of conflict, are not heard. Women often play important roles in the community in terms of governance, mediation, reconciliation, recovery and other aspects of peace-building. Yet in 10 major peace processes in the past decade, women accounted for on average only 6 percent of negotiators and under 3 percent of signatories.[1] Only 1 in 40 peace agreement signatories over the past 25 years were women. This has negative consequences for both the effectiveness of peace and security policy and women’s rights.

National Action Plans (NAPs)

UN Women is leading the global review of National Action Plans. As part of this a November 2013 conference met to discuss
  • Development of NAPs
  • Approaches to implementation
  • Monitoring, accountability and reporting
  • Financing and resource allocation

The meeting aimed to
  • Identify training needs of government and non-government actors on the development of NAPs
  • Utilize and enhance the UN Women’s e-learning course on national and regional implementation of women, peace and security agenda for delivering regional and intra-regional trainings, including training of trainers, tailored to these identified needs and enhance outreach to partners to make trainings available globally,
  • Identify key experts on NAPs and national implementation who will be registered with UN Women and made available on a mentoring basis to specific contexts as NAPs are developed,

The cross cutting theme is the role of civil society. The outcomes paper will be feeding into the preparation of the "1325 + 15" High Level Meeting in 2015 as well as make recommendations for action at different levels.

Three points emerged in discussing the agenda with CARE colleagues, and these were also shared with UN Women and several of the NGO representatives who are attending the meeting (in particular Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and GAPS UK):
  • Importance of donor NAPs articulating country-specific sections and/or catalysing integration of WPS priorities into wider country-specific policies, strategies and funding
  • Potential for greater donor coordination and alignment across donor NAPs in relation to specific country or regional contexts; building on the Friends of 1325 type groupings and donor coordination/alignment efforts at field level (eg donor working-groups on gender)
  • Need for donor support to conflict-affected states’ NAPs to extend beyond NAP design to localisation efforts & implementation; in particular through seeking alignment by donor-supported national programmes with priorities in the NAP

CARE Netherlands has volunteered to lead on taking forward the component of our CI WPS advocacy strategy on NAPS, and there is a draft paper in preparation which explores options for advocacy at donor country and conflict-affected state level.


Current Resources

Advocacy Documents:


Advocacy documents



WPS programme related documents


Links to External Resources




[1] UNIFEM