On Tuesday 18th January 2022, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security (APPG-WPS) hosted the third Roundtable on WPS with leads from Embassies & High Commission. The event, organised in collaboration with the Canadian High Commission and held under Chatham House rules, was chaired by Baroness Fiona Hodgson, Co-chair of the APPG-WPS.
The discussion was focussed on the prevention and protection pillars of UNSCR 1325 and how these can be used in reducing conflict against women. The discussion encompassed issues around what prevention and protection really mean. Is prevention potentially broader than just preventing violence against women and should it also encompass women’s role in mediation. It was also discussed that we need to find a way for women to be involved in peace building processes safely, not only so that there can be more grassroots and NGO involvement on the ground but also that women presenting at the UN can do so without retribution.
Examples were given by countries on their women, peace and security initiatives, but it was agreed that more needs to be done to translate the prevention and protection pillars into action. Suggestions for this included consistent funding for women’s organisations and protection of women peacebuilders, to ensure their safe participation. It was noted that attacks on women in communities should be viewed as an early sign of conflict. It was considered that focusing on enhancing female empowerment on the ground and bringing more security professionals into this discussion will enable women to feel more comfortable and encourage them to participate. Although some work has been on this, it was felt that more needs to be done on civil society engagement to be able to integrate more women into peacebuilding processes.
It was decided to have another Roundtable meeting in the Autumn.