Global Justice

United Methodist Women's Dialogue Project Promotes Women, Peace and Security

The Women’s Dialogue project meets in Austria to implement UN Resolution 1325, which promotes women’s participation in peace making.

United Methodist Women's Dialogue Project Promotes Women, Peace and Security
Women’s Dialogue participants in Burg Schlaining, Austria.

Global policies are only as good as their execution. In October 2016, the UN Security Council had an open debate on Women, Peace and Security. The historic UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which was unanimously adopted by Security Council in 2000, has been calling for women’s participation in all peace processes, yet its actual implementation has been slow. In the modern world where conflicts and wars continue to destroy lives and livelihoods and displace millions, it is urgent to implement Resolution 1325 as it promotes women’s participation in peace making.

United Methodist Women has long committed to promoting UNSCR 1325 and advocating for women’s equal participation in all peace processes at the global policy level. At the same time we are also engaging with women peace activists on the ground, for local context is vital in shaping policy implementation.

Against the backdrop of the Russian Federation-Ukraine conflict initiated in March 2014, United Methodist Women organized a women’s civil society-based dialogue between women activists of the Russian Federation and Ukraine within the framework of UNSCR 1325. After an intensive six-month preparation stage, the first round of the Women’s Dialogue took place in Istanbul in September 2015.

The 10 women from Ukraine and the Russian Federation explored a productive civilian and non-aggressive avenue of conflict resolution, which provided a viable platform for women’s mutual support towards peace and security through the implementation of UNSCR 1325 across the region. The first round of the dialogue revealed the necessity to raise awareness of UNSCR 1325 in the region and opened up a shared vision of how to approach the localization of the resolution across the region.

The second round of the regional Women’s Dialogue, which was conducted in 2015 at the Austria Study Center for Peace and Conflict, in Burg Schlaining, was the expansion of a two-country dialogue. To effectively promote and practically apply UNSCR 1325, the bilateral dialogue was expanded to include more countries of the region: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Kirgizstan and Tajikistan. The expanded dialogue provided a platform to share experiences, prioritize concerns and incorporate diverse perspectives into a cooperative and collaborative regional people’s plan for the effective implementation of UNSCR 1325.

A Regional Action Plan

The creation of a Regional Action Plan requires the mediation of a respected intergovernmental regional organization to exact the necessary commitment from member-countries of the region. In that region, the European Union is the main player providing economic security and stability, while the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is the main political intergovernmental institution best suited to organize a regional framework for the 1325 agenda and to secure the participation of the OSCE member countries governments. The OSCE has encouraged all of its 57 participating states to adopt National Action Plans (NAPs) for UNSCR 1325 as a way of ensuring unconditional gender equality, whether in peace or conflict, and regardless of positioning within (before, during or after) a conflict cycle.

In an effort to promote the processes of 1325 NAP’s adoption and localization, the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Austrian Permanent Mission to the OSCE, joined United Methodist Women and other international and regional partners involved in the project. These are: World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations; IDP Women’s Association “Consent” (Georgia); the Women’s Information Consultative Center (Ukraine); La Strada Ukraine; and “Don Women” (Russian Federation).

The expanded dialogue that took place in Burg Schlaining, Austria, in June 2016 allowed the participants to share experiences and jointly analyze gender dimensions of the conflict cycle. The participants prioritized their concerns and offered their diverse perspectives to shape a regional people’s plan for the effective implementation of UNSCR 1325 across this subset of the OSCE region. The establishment of the Regional Women’s Dialogue Platform was the crowning success of their encounter.

The Women’s Dialogue, having evolved from a bilateral dialogue to a regional one, has produced a Regional Women’s Dialogue Platform, which can be envisioned to also work on a global level. The effect of a regional platform would be the cooperation across the region to monitor adherence to provisions relating to UNSCR 1325, as well as the mutual support of local initiatives for 1325 awareness. It will also create a pool of 1325-competent women, and constituency-based candidates for nomination to peace negotiation activities.

This regional platform would have three main objectives throughout the conflict cycle: to promote a culture of peace by raising awareness of 1325 preparedness through localization projects in each participating country, to serve as a civil society monitor of the peace talks, and to recommend and nominate representative women to peace talks.

The world cannot be rid of conflict and war when half of the world’s population continues to be shut out of the peacemaking process and their voices are silent in important events in history. The effective implementation of UNSCR 1325, encouraged by the Women’s Dialogue, is just one step towards empowering women with the rights that they already have, but may not know how to translate into their lives yet.

Tatiana Dwyer is Executive for Global Justice with United Methodist Women’s Christian Social Action.


Posted or updated: 10/31/2016 11:00:00 PM
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Suggested Pages:

*Peace Building

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