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#WomenLead2030: Leveraging the SDGs for Gender Equality and Peace

10 July 2017

The Second High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), the annual accountability mechanism for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), starts today!

This year, the HLPF will be convened under the theme “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.” It will gather the representatives of Member States, United Nations entities and major groups and other stakeholders to monitor progress and share best practices on implementing the SDGs.

Participants of the HLPF2017 Strategy Meeting of the Women’s Major Group. Photo Credit: Women’s Major Group

WILPF believes that the SDGs have the potential to be an important tool for addressing conflict prevention gap. Their link between environmental, social and economic dimensions of development should be leveraged to move from political economies of war to political economies of peace and gender justice.

Gender equality, realisation of women’s human rights, including in conflict, and empowerment of all women are essential and cross-cutting to all of the SDGs. They are also critical to realising a transformative and holistic agenda, rather than replicating business as usual.

However, realising their transformative potential requires that the SDGs are implemented in a way that works for women and girls in conflict.

To support and mobilise action of local women for Feminist Peace and Development, WILPF has already undertaken some steps prior the Forum:

  • On 28 June 2017, we hosted a webinar for activists to share information and lessons learned on how can activists leverage the SDGs for local action on gender equality, disarmament and sustainable peace.
  • On 4 July 2017, we  launched a social media toolkit to mobilise recognition by Member States, the UN and the international community of local women’s work.

Now is the time to act together!

Starting today, as part of our work to strengthen conflict prevention and promote accountability on gender equality and peace, WILPF’s Women, Peace and Security Programme will monitor the forum for gender and conflict issues and identify current opportunities and challenges for leveraging action on gender equality and feminist peace.

With our coalition, the Women’s Major Group, we have drafted a position paper. We will also mobilise action to promote implementation of the SDGs in a way that ensures women’s meaningful participation and human rights, enhances civil society space, directly resources women’s rights groups and ensures all actors take responsibility for the 2030 Agenda.

Through our advocacy and outreach, WILPF will particularly push for development based on disarmament and women’s human rights. We will continue to highlight the need to ensure extraterritorial accountability so that states are accountable for arms proliferation (SDG 16.4) that exacerbate sexual and gender based violence (SDG 5.2); and for innovative finance (SDG 16.7) for peace that realises commitments to #MoveTheMoney from military spending to gender equitable social development.

In this vein, we will co-sponsor a side-event on 14 July 2017 entitled, From Shrinking Spaces to Feminist Movement Building: Key Priorities on SDG 5 and 16 for Sustaining Peace.” The side-event will bring attention of the international community to the ongoing barriers and systems of oppression for feminist movements that prevent women’s meaningful participation for national action on gender equitable development and peace.

How you can be part of the HLPF

>> Join us in New York to demand an enabling environment for the feminist movements and women affected by conflict worldwide in implementing and realising the 2030 Agenda. Come to our event in person, or watch via live-stream!

>> Support our Social Media Campaign (Read all the details about our HLPF 2017 Social Media campaign)

>> If you are not able to join us, please follow along via Facebook (@WILPF and @WILPFPeaceWomen), Twitter (@WILPF and @Peace_Women) and Instagram (@wilpf) (don’t forget to include the hashtag #WomenLead2030); join the conversation; share our infographics and raise your voice!!




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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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