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The Sustainable Development Agenda Must Strengthen Gender Equitable Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention

5 February 2014

It is time to take action to strengthen integration of development and conflict agendas from a gender perspective and ensure goals move from words to implementation and impact.

In 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are set to expire. Although they have not yet all been accomplished, many discussions at the UN are addressing what should come next.

This week, the General Assembly’s Open Working Group tasked with proposing the next generation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is meeting to address issues of women’s rights and conflict prevention.

Yet Post2015 SDG discussions have not adequately connected the dots between militarized gender inequality, conflict, and degenerative development. Further, the SDG focus on yet another set of goals distracts attention from implementation and impact.

Business as Usual Promotes Degenerative Development and Violence

With 82 per cent of the world’s poor projected to live in fragile states by 2025 and 22 of the 34 countries furthest from reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) being conflict-affected, it is critical for issues of conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding to be effectively integrated into the Post2015 sustainable development agenda and goals.

As current examples in Syria, Colombia, and elsewhere remind us, sustainable peace and development is not possible without the meaningful participation of women and integration of gender considerations.
Men with guns fail again and again to redress gender inequalities, address root causes of insecurity, and build the frameworks for development. Stronger attention is need in bridging the gaps between the peace, human rights, gender equality and development.

Investing in Women’s Rights and Participation is Key to Sustainable Development and Peace

Yet coordination and integration has not become a reality. Post 2015 SDG discussions have as yet failed to build on the frameworks, mechanisms and indicators developed through the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda or adequately ensure gender considerations are integrated into issues of conflict prevention and development. This is not acceptable.

WILPF, in collaboration with the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), the Global Justice Center (GJC), and the International Civil Society Action Network’s (ICAN) Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) has drafted an open letter to the co-chairs of the Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs and participating UN Member States asking them to strengthen the link between the development agenda and the conflict prevention and peace-building agenda from a gender perspective

Read the open Conflict Advocacy letter

Join us!

We welcome your support. Please contact WILPF’s Programme Associate, Abigail Ruane, on email abigail (a) if you would like to add your organization to our list of signers. Remember to email us your logo.

WILPF Rutgers - Center for Women's Global Leadership GNWP - The Global Network of Women Peace Builders Global Justice Center


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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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