On Thursday and Friday April 24-25th, WILPF advocated for a conflict prevention approach to development that promotes gender equality in the UN President of the General Assembly (PGA) debate on stable and peaceful societies in the Post2015 development agenda.

This debate is part of ongoing discussions around creating a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015.

WILPF Side Event Highlights Arms Reductions, Women’s Participation as key to Peaceful Societies
Photo of Sharon Baghwan Rolls

Sharon Baghwan Rolls (FemLINKPACIFIC, Fiji), discussant at the PGA Thematic Debate on Peaceful and Stable Societies panel on “Strengthening national institutions towards achieving sustainable development”, April 24, 2014

WILPF co-sponsored a strategy meeting on strengthening peace through development. Participants called for an integrated approach to peace and development, including through including a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on stable and peaceful societies and peace mainstreamed throughout the targets and indicators of all other goals.

One high level diplomat argued that, given the focus of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on developing countries, current discussions on creating a new set of development goals (SDGs) provide the first ever opportunity for a universal development agenda that is by, for, and about all states.

WILPF highlighted how a target reducing military spending and an approach that builds on existing commitments including the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda would be critical for a universal agenda that addresses root causes of conflict in militarized inequality and promotes development and peace.

Women Leaders Shift the Conversation
Photo of Rosa Emilia Salamanca

Rosa Emilia Salamanca (Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica, Colombia), keynote speaker at the PGA Thematic Debate on Peaceful and Stable Societies, April 24, 2014

WILPF also worked with the Post2015 Women’s Coalition, Women’s Major Group, and Global Network of Women Peacebuilders to support three women peace leaders from Colombia, Sudan, and Fiji to participate in the official debate.

The presence of these three women as speakers in the debate was powerful: rather than individual tokens, their presence and voices together created a palpable shift in the substance and framing of the debate, and clearly illustrating the power of meaningfully including women peacemakers at tables of power.

Women’s leaders called strongly for the international community to invest in gender equality and peace through Sustainable Development Goals targets including reducing military spending, so as to reduce violence and free up resources for gender equality and peace.

Development must put People over Profit and those most Marginalized at the Mainstream

Rosa Emilia Salamanca of Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social e Económica (Colombia) provided a powerful keynote speech and called for gender equitable peace and development that women’s human rights defenders can “can see and feel.”

Photo of Nagwa Gadaheldam

Nagwa Gadaheldam (Global Partnership for Local Action, Sudan), panelist at the PGA Thematic Debate on Peaceful and Stable Societies panel on “Building Global partnership for ensuring stable and peaceful societies”, April 25, 2014

“These women, they have taught me that sustainable peace is only sustainable insofar as it is just, insofar as it respects the dignity of all,” Salamanca stated.

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls of FemLINKPACIFIC (Fiji) highlighted the importance of development that promotes human security and builds on women’s experiences.
“Through women’s eyes, there is a broader notion of security – one that is defined in human, rather than in military, terms,” Baghwan Rolls affirmed: “one where peace is possible because all citizens have faith in and are able to freely participate in the democratic process of institution and state building.”

Nagwa Gadahweldam of Global Partnership for Local Action (Sudan) demanded that the next development agenda “transform modes of exploitation to regeneration” and promote gender equality, development and peace.

A Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on Stable and Peaceful Societies?

Member states are still discussing if and how to integrate peace in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

WILPF welcomes the call by Timor Leste for a stand-alone goal on stable and peaceful societies with support from states including Papua New Guinea on behalf of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Canada.

Photo of Abigail Ruane

Abigail Ruane (WILPF PeaceWomen Programme Manager) at WILPF co-sponsored reflection and strategy meeting on Stable and Peaceful Societies in the Post2015 Development Agenda, April 25, 2014

We also welcome calls, including by Tanzania, Kenya, Ecuador, and Cuba, to address militarization and arms including by reducing military spending.

It is critical to take a conflict prevention approach to development that addresses root causes, as recognized by the Common African Position, which includes a pillar on peace and security, as well as by the SIDS 2013 integrated cooperation framework.

Get involved!

Please ask your government to design development for peace! Demand a target reducing military spending, and ask for peace to be prioritized through a stand-alone goal and mainstreamed targets and indicators throughout all other goals.

Thanks to all of you who followed us on Facebook at Twitter via @Peace_Women  #DisarmSDGs. If you have been following along, what do you think? We welcome your thoughts in the comments below!