WILPF Advocacy Documents

Open Letter to the Friends of 1325: Recommendations on the Zero Draft of the Post2015 Sustainable Development Goals

Business and Human Rights | Disarmament | Economic, Social and Cultural Rights | Human Rights | Justice and Accountability | Militarisation
18 June 2014
Document type:
Open letter
Body submitted to:

Dear Friends of Women Peace and Security,

On 14-18 July the General Assembly (GA) Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will hold its final session.  Member States must now take strong action to ensure a conflict prevention approach to development that strengthens gender equality and peace in the SDGs.

Many Member States already have shown leadership and commitment to this approach. Timor Leste, Papua New Guinnea/SIDS, and Canada have all championed a peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law, effective and capable institutions goal, and the Common African Position on the Post2015 Development Agenda includes a dedicated pillar on peace and security.

The SDG Zero Draft released 2 June 2014 brings critical attention to the importance of strengthening Women Peace and Security (WPS) considerations in the SDGs. It reaffirmed that the next development agenda must be guided by principles of freedom, peace and security, and respect for human rights, including gender equality and women’s empowerment.

This year, over 50 organizations around the world signed a joint Open Advocacy Letter by WILPF, CWGL, GJC, and GNWP to the Co-Chairs of the OWG, advocating for a conflict prevention approach to the next development agenda that builds on existing commitments on gender and conflict including CEDAW, Beijing, and the WPS agenda including a target on reducing military spending.

In your statement for the 11th and 12th OWG sessions, and in your country’s work on Post2015 SDGs, we urge you to support a stand-alone goal on Peaceful and Inclusive Societies as well as a stand-alone goal on Gender Equality. We also urge you to mainstream both peace and gender throughout the SDGs. In this regard, we ask you to support the following points:

CHAPEAU: Support and strengthen references to commitments on women’s human rights and peace in the SDG chapeau by including references to the UN Charter, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action, and the WPS agenda 


  • PARTICIPATION: Support and strengthen the target on inclusive, participatory  and representative decision-making by adding “meaningful”, “for all”, and “including in peace processes at all levels and transitional governance arrangements” (16.4)
    • Support prevention targets on reducing illicit arms trade (16.3), building a culture of non-violence (16.7), and strengthening formal and non-formal dispute resolution mechanisms (16.8)
    • Strengthen prevention targets by adding “reduce excessive military spending” to target 16.3 (to be consistent with Beijing Area E  and Agenda 21 (22.16.e)), adding “ratify and implement the Arms Trade Treaty”, and including WPS 2010 global indicator #17 on the Small Arms Light Weapons (SALW) target
  • PROTECTION: Strengthen targets on IDPs and refugees (16.9);  implement security sector reform (16.10); support enhanced gender training for humanitarian and security personnel and relief and recovery services to uphold human rights, including for women refugees, women human rights defenders and internally displaced people (IDPs); and call for “support for gender-sensitive durable solutions” for refugees and IDPs (16.9)
  • RELIEF & RECOVERY: Support and strengthen target on equal access to responsive justice systems by addressing women’s equal access and rights (16.12) and the root causes of poverty and inequality which fuel conflict.


  • Strengthen targets by addressing conflict including on participation (5.8) by adding “and in peace and transitional governance processes”; on resources and services (5.7)  by adding “including  multi sectoral services for women and girls in conflict”; and on engaging men and boys (5.11) by adding “including in conflict settings”


  • Support and strengthen references to women’s human rights in the SDG goals and targets by adding this language on “for all people everywhere” to all goals
  • Support and strengthen references to peace in SDG goals and targets (such as 16.2 on refugees and IDPs) more generally by integrating conflict and its root causes including militarized inequality and poverty which fuel conflict along with other forms of disaster risk reduction and as a contributor to vulnerable situations and marginalization


  • Support target on increasing financial resources to achieve gender equality (17.17) and development (17.27); strengthen by adding “including by reducing military spending” as an innovative financing mechanism (to be consistent with Beijing Area E  and Agenda 21 (22.16.e)) Also strengthen 17.17 by adding increase “access to capital, land, credit and” financial resources
  • Support target on acting within provisions of international agreements (17.42) including those on WPS
  • Support target on regular monitoring and reporting including for multi-stakeholder initiatives and partnerships (17.43) and for multinational corporations (17.39); strengthen by including accountability on WPS and women’s human rights for non-state actors including international financial institutions the private sector
  • Support target on global cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and transfers (17.46); strengthen by adding combatting illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) including through ratification and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)
  • Strengthen target on promoting strong international institutions (17.44) by addressing institutional accountability to promote human rights of all people including women and girls, inclusive participation, and transparency; strengthen accountability including of international financial institutions and in situations of conflict

Finally, we ask you to design a conflict prevention approach to development that cuts down silos between security and development and between gender blind and gender sensitive approaches. We call on you to build on existing WPS commitments and to invest in gender equality and women’s substantive participation, protection, and rights toward sustainable peace and development for all.  For the next set of development goals to positively impact all countries and all groups of people, a gender and conflict analysis must be included in the new set of goals.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information or to discuss these issues further.

DRAFTING TEAM: Abigail Ruane (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom); Elizabeth Cafferty (Women’s Refugee Commission); Harriette Bright (Femmes Africa Solidarité); Mavic Cabrerra Balleza (Global Network of Women Peacebuilders); Savi Bisnath (Center for Women’s Global Leadership); Stephanie Johanssen (Global Justice Center);

SIGNED (Updated 2 July 2014)

1325 Action Group (Nepal)

1325 Policy Group (Sweden)

ABAAD (Lebanon)

Aboriginal Rights Coalition (Australia)

Action Works Nepal (Nepal)

African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (Africa)

African Life Center (United States)

African Women’s Active Nonviolence Initiatives for Social Change (Ghana)

African Woman and Child Feature Service (Kenya)

Agricultural Missions (United States)

All India Women’s Conference (India)

Alliance of Women Human Right Defenders (Nepal)

Alliances for Africa (Nigeria)

Articulación Feminista Marcosur (Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay)

Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development (Asia-Pacific)

Association Dea (Serbia)

Association for Women’s Rights in Development (International)

Association of Media Women in South Sudan (South Sudan)

Association of War Affected Women (Sri Lanka)

Association Pour le Développement et la Promotion de la Femme (Cameroon)

Burma Partnership (Burma)

Cadre Permanent de Concertation de la Femme Congolaise (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Casa Des Jeunes Femmes (Senegal)

Center for Human Rights and Climate Change Research (Nigeria)

Center for Women in Governance (Uganda)

Center for Women’s Global Leadership (US)

Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights (US)

Centre Women and Modern World (Azerbaijan)

Central African Women’s Network (Cameroon)

Centro de la Mujer Peruana Flora Tristan (Peru)

CJR 1325 (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Coalition for Action on 1325 (Uganda)

Collectif Sénégalais des Africaines pour la Promotion de l’Education Relative à l’Environnement (Senegal)

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (South Sudan)

Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (Colombia)

Cordaid (Netherlands)

Deltawomen (Nigeria)

Dharti Development Foundation Sindh Pakistan (Pakistan)

DidiBahini (Nepal)

Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (Fiji)

Droits Humains Sans Frontieres (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Ecumenicos para la Reconciliacion y Reconstruccion (United States)

EVE Organization for Women Development (South Sudan)

Federation of Women Lawyers (Kenya)

FeFemmes Africa Solidarité (International)

Feminist Task Force (International)

FemLinkPacific (Fiji)

FEMNET (African Women’s Development and Communication Network) (Africa Region)

First Lady’s Serve our Youth Campaigns (Nigeria)

FOKUS: Forum for Women and Development (Norway)

Forum Maghrébin pour l’environnement et le Developpement (Morocco)

Forum for Women in Democracy (Uganda)

Free the Marginalized Women Advocates (Ghana)

Fontaine-ISOKO for Good Governance and Integrated Development (Burundi)

Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer (Argentina)

Gestos (Brazil)

Global Justice Center (United States)

Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, a program partner of the International Civil Society Action Network (International)

Global Movement for The Culture of Peace

Global Partnership for Local Action (Sudan)

Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (Netherlands)

Inclusive Security (United States)

Institute for International Women’s Rights (Manitoba, Canada)

Institute for International Women’s Rights –University of Winnipeg Global College (Canada)

Institute of Human Rights and Civic Values (Kenya)

Inter – Ethnic Solidarity Alliance (Sri Lanka)

International AIDS Women Caucus (International)

International Civil Society Action Network (International)

International Women’s Rights Action Watch-Asia Pacific (Malaysia)

International Women’s Rights Project (International)

Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association (Ireland)

Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Uganda)

Josephine for Help & Shelter (Guyana)

Just Associates (International)

Karama (Egypt)

Khulumani Support Group (South Africa)

Kvinna till Kvinna (International)

Latin America and the Caribbean Council of AIDS Organization

L’Union de l’Action Féminine (Morocco)

MADRE (International)

Muslim Women’s Research and Action and Forum (Sri Lanka)

National Alliance of Woman’s Organizations (United Kingdom)

Nation Builders Foundation (Nigeria)

National Organization of Women-Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone)

Niger Delta Women’s movement for Peace and Development (Nigeria)

NGABO-Initiative Féminine pour la Défense des Droits Humains et le Développement (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

People4Sudan Initiative (United States)

Punjabi University (India)

Research Institute for Women Peace & Security-Afghanistan (Afghanistan)

Réseau des Organisations Féminines d’Afrique Francophone (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Togo)

Rozaria Memorial Trust (Zimbabwe)

Rural Women Peace Link (Kenya)

Rwanda Women’s Network (Rwanda)

Saathi (Nepal)

Sancharika Samuha (Nepal)

Servicios Ecumenicos para Reconciliaccion y Reconstruccion (US and El Salvador)

Siglo XXIII, the 23rd Century Movement for Sustainable Peace (El Salvador)

Society Without Violence (Armenia)

South African Women In Dialogue (South Africa)

Stop Aids Now! (Netherlands)

Support the Empowerment of Women and their Rights for Development Organization (South Sudan)

Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN) (Uganda)

Synergie des Associations Feminines du Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Teso Women Peace Activists (Uganda)

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (Fiji)

The National Council of Women (US)

The Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (India)

UNA Women of the United Nations Association of the Unites States of America (United States)

United Methodist Women, Global Justice Office (United States)

Vision Organization (US)

Vision Spring Initiatives (Nigeria)

Wi’am- Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center (Palestine)

Women Engaged in Action on 1325 (WE Act 1325) (Philippines)

Womankind Worldwide (United Kingdom)

Women Environmental Programme (Nigeria)

Women for Fair Development (Malawi)

Women for Peace (Germany)

Women for Women International – South Sudan (South Sudan)

Women Graduates (US)

Women in Law and Development in Africa – West Africa Sub Regional Office (Togo)

Women in Peacebuilding Network (Nigeria)

Women Making Peace (Burma and South Korea)

Women Orientation (Cameroon)

Women Peace Initiatives (Cameroon)

Women Peacemakers Program (Netherlands)

Women Problems Research Union-Woman’s Institute (Azerbaijan)

Women’s Action for New Directions (US)

Women’s Coalition (Turkey)

Women’s Forum (Sierra Leone)

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (International)

Women’s NGO Secretariat of Liberia (Liberia)

Women’s Refugee Commission (US)

Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (Nepal)

Women’s Solidarity Fund (United Kingdom)

Women’s UN Report Network (International)

World Federalist Movement – Canada (Canada)

World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy (International)

Youth Association for Development (Pakistan)

Young Women’s Christian Association Of Liberia (Liberia)

Youth In Action Balochistan (Pakistan)


Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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