Category Archives: UN

WILPF News Update ACT Branch

Updates from WILPF International

Women’s Power to Stop War

Women’s Power to Stop War is a new movement created and led by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Those joining the movement, will be part of an international community of courageous activists, who believe conflicts and wars cannot be stopped without the participation of women – and that it is time that women focus on and use their power to stop war.

Its aim is not just to stop war on women, but also to stop war on all human beings, who wish to live a life of peace and freedom.

Keep checking the WILPF International website as more will be posted including blogs, videos, our Anniversary Atlas and all the details on the events of 2015.

Centenary of WILPF

In 1915, 1136 visionary women came together in The Hague, the Netherlands, to stop World War I and on April 28, they founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

In 2015, 1136 visionary women will again come together to participate in the second women’s peace and security conference of a century, uniting the global movement, ‘Women’s Power to Stop War.

The conference will take place from 27-29 April in the World Forum in The Hague. Keep an eye on this website as the Conference Programme, ticket registration pages and loads of other information will come up soon!

Join the Movement now and Sign the Pledge, Donate, and Come to The Hague in 2015

A Letter to all WILPF members from the WILPF International History group

Dear WILPF sisters in most of the corners of the world:

The WILPF Centennial 2015 is rapidly approaching and preparations are under way. All sections have been asked to work on their own history as a contribution to the large and impressive history of WILPF as a whole. The IB has established some working groups and given them specific tasks. The “History Group” is one of them. We have been given the mandate to

  • Support the Sections’ work on their story gathering
  • Coordinate and gather information from the Sections that could be used for printed

Material, exhibitions etc. at the international Triennial Congress and International

Conference (in 2015)

  • ‘Plan “Our Story” exhibition at The Hague and coordinate with the Arts and entertainment working group.

While all national sections are “branches” on the many-splendored WILPF tree we are united in the principles of our Constitution. All sections are committed to engage in common activities, but they differ in size, resources, geographic location and political environment and have to adjust their activities accordingly. Each section should write its story in the way that suits best their narrative, the highlights and – if any – the failures. If we shall be able to learn from the past, we need to look at both ends of the scale.

However, we need a common overview and a few facts for the whole organization, as a framework. For that reason we would ask all Sections to send us the following:

  • Your Section’s major historic events. This includes your founding date, at what time your Section had its largest membership, as well as any major historic highlights you want to tell us about. These stories can take any shape, form or length you would like. They can be highly personal or strictly descriptive, but please include the (most) exact date and location of the events you describe, so we can include them in our Anniversary Atlas.
  • Work you are already doing on your own history. We have heard many Sections are already engaged in discovering and celebrating their own history, but we want to know about it! Tell us if you have already done any work on your history or are planning to do so. If these include any specific events, like a lecture organised specifically on the history of your Section, please, again, include the (most) exact date and location of such events.

WILPF Questions especially for sections outside Europe

WILPF International is asking individuals, branches and sections to consider their priorities using a set of 6 Questions.  They have explained the purpose of this as follows:

Nearly 100 years ago, founders of WILPF, in 1915 drafted 20 resolutions to influence policy and decision makers.  ALL sections have an opportunity to contribute to this discussion on WILPF’s political priorities and future direction. In preparation for the 2015 WILPF Centenary, the Working Group on Political Content is given the task of identifying the political priorities for our work now and in the future.

In January 2013 the International Board meeting in Madrid commissioned Cynthia Cockburn, UK member to draft a Manifesto for 2015.  With her work, we now have a second draft based on input from, and conversations with, many WILPF members.

We need your help. The draft manifesto is a very good job combining the effort of some of our members and through interviews. However, we want to ensure input of missing perspectives, especially from the various knowledge and experience at a local level and in armed conflict areas. We want to hear from countries outside Europe and North America, if not yet included, so that these experiences can be added or made more visible.

Note I am sending out a separate email to all WILPF ACT members outlining the progress we have made to date in responding to these questions and seeking further input.

Reports of interest: Syria

 Maria Butler, PeaceWomen Programme Director reports on the Syrian Peace negotiations:

 This is a difficult time for peace advocates. How can we talk about women participating at the peace table when talk has not translated into action? How can we discuss the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda when, despite rhetoric, goodwill, ministerial support, UN mediation, advocacy, campaigns, Syrian women are not even present at the opening session of the Geneva II talks, not to mention at the infamous “table”?

Over the past few weeks, I have heard diplomats tell me, with a tone of insider arrogance, “this is not a round table; it has two sides only”. I have heard Ambassadors agree and agree and then agree again with each other that women must be part of the Geneva II process but then their States have not delivered. I have heard colleagues try to convince themselves that negotiation “observers” are actually “at the table”. Next holding a conference two weeks ahead of the Peace Talks will count as “participating”! All in all, we, as an international community of States, NGOs and UN bodies, have failed – failed to implement the WPS agenda and failed to find mechanisms to include women. Despite this collective failure, we will not resign. To the contrary, we, as WILPF for sure, will redouble our work, rethink our efforts and recommit our support to push forward women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation and rights in this peace process and others.

 Friday January 17, 2014 was indeed a historic day for Syrian women, despite now being in the shadow of the failures in Geneva. Three Syrian women civil society leaders briefed the UN Security Council in a special closed Arria Formula meeting demanding women’s meaningful inclusion in the Geneva II peace talks and ongoing transitional peace processes. “We want peace and we want to be part of it. This is the bottom-line,” said a representative of the Syrian Women’s League to the highest body on international peace and security. PeaceWomen planned and organized the women peace advocates’ trip, a side event and the historic Security Council meeting. A powerful moment came when one of Syrian women looked up at the Ambassadors of the Security Council and pleaded “Do not leave your resolutions in a drawer, they do not deserve only lip service” The three Syrian women, who risked their lives to speak truth to power, demanded passionately: 1) an independent women civil society presence at the Geneva II talks; 2) 30% women on all negotiating bodies; and 3) strong and effective gender expertise to ensure that gender is mainstreamed throughout all outcome documents and processes. Read more

Events of Interest

 21-25 April: Canberra Peace Convergence.

An extended gathering of peace activist and peace makers to reflect on the state of peace in our times, to build movement and to plan and take action for peace in this time of militarism, government lies and preparations for war.

Events will include

  • The first national meeting of IPAN on 21 April. Likely at a Canberra venue.
  • A one-day conference hosted by IPAN on 22 April covering such themes as militarism and sustainability, the cost of the US alliance, the Asian Pivot and US bases. Venue and program to be announced.
  • Movement response to the Gallipoli centenary 2015.
  • A three day, open forum retreat at Silver Wattle
  • A direct action together likely on morning of 24 April
  • Participation in the Anzac eve Peace Vigil at the Australian War Memorial 24 Apr
  • Participation in the “Lest We Forget” the Frontier Killings Anzac Day March at the Australian War Memorial.

Costs $50 or $25 concession

Register your interest in attending at ipan.australia@gmail.com

 25-27 April 2014. : WILPF Asia-Pacific regional meeting, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Theme:  Militarisation in the Pacific: women, peace and security

Draft programme

Friday 25 April

  • Welcome at 12 noon, followed by lunch
  • Informal information sharing session where people will be able to speak about the situation in their country.
  • Friday evening there will be a public screening of the documentary Noho Hewa about militarisation, historical and ongoing colonisation, and its devastating effects on Kanaka Maoli, the indigenous people of Hawaii, and their land.

Saturday 26 April

  • Mixture of workshops, plenary presentations and panel discussions.
  • Public Meeting – details to be confirmed

Sunday 27 April

  • Morning session: WILPF business, in particular, the 100th birthday in 2015 and the possibility of the Asia-Pacific WILPF sections working together as a regional grouping within International WILPF.
  • We would also like to develop a project that the Asia-Pacific WILPF sections could work on together – there are likely to be ideas for that from the sessions on Friday and Saturday.

Articles of Interest

Simon Jenkins: Germany, I apologise for this sickening avalanche of first world war worship, The Guardian, Friday 31 January 2014

The festival of self-congratulation will be the British at their worst, and there are still years to endure. A tragedy for both our nations.  Highly relevant to Australia re ANSAC Centenary.

Report by Cynthia Enloe on Geneva each day of the Syrian Women’s Peace Talks in Geneva: Prelude to the Official Syrian Peace Talks. Monday, January 20, 2014

Books of Interest

Gender, Violence, and Human Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives Edited by Aili Mari Tripp, Myra Marx Ferree, Christina Ewig, Amazon Books 2013

The nature of human security is changing globally: interstate conflict and even intrastate conflict may be diminishing worldwide, yet threats to individuals and communities persist. Large-scale violence by formal and informal armed forces intersects with interpersonal and domestic forms of violence in mutually reinforcing ways. Gender, Violence, and Human Security takes a critical look at notions of human security and violence through a feminist lens, drawing on both theoretical perspectives and empirical examinations through case studies from a variety of contexts around the globe.

This fascinating volume goes beyond existing feminist international relations engagements with security studies to identify not only limitations of the human security approach, but also possible synergies between feminist and human security approaches. Noted scholars Aili Mari Tripp, Myra Marx Ferree, and Christina Ewig, along with their distinguished group of contributors, analyze specific case studies from around the globe, ranging from post-conflict security in Croatia to the relationship between state policy and gender-based crime in the United States. Shifting the focus of the term “human security” from its defensive emphasis to a more proactive notion of peace, the book ultimately calls for addressing the structural issues that give rise to violence. A hard-hitting critique of the ways in which global inequalities are often overlooked by human security theorists, Gender, Violence, and Human Security presents a much-needed intervention into the study of power relations throughout the world.

Programs of Interest

Honest History on the ABC

Starting Tuesday, 4 February, 10.05 am on 666 ABC Canberra, mobile and online: Honest History fortnightly segment opening with Professor Joan Beaumont (Broken Nation) talking about the aftermath of World War I.

Honest History is a new regular segment on 666 ABC Canberra Mornings with host Genevieve Jacobs. Shibboleths will be shafted and myths will be busted during a robust and honest history discussion.

The segment is in cooperation with Honest History and the participation of various distinguished historians.

Tune in to Mornings with Genevieve Jacobs, weekdays from 9–11am on 666 ABC Canberra. Radio. Mobile. Online.

Websites of Interest

The Honest History site promotes balanced consideration of Australian history, by making contesting, evidence-based interpretations available to students, teachers, universities, journalists and the public. We challenge the misuse of history in the service of political or other agendas.

WILPF Statement on Syria, Chemical Weapons and Avoiding Military Intervention

Statement: The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) welcomes the decision by the British Parliament to refuse the endorsement of military action against Syria. Parliament upheld the principle that the use of chemical weapons can never be justified, but reasserted the importance of international law and the UN Charter in dictating any response by the international community. However, media reports indicate that the US government is still intent on a military strike against Syria, even without UK support.

It has been WILPF’s position since the first reports of use of gas that the use of chemical weapons is a serious violation of international law, regardless of which party to the conflict perpetrated the attack. But the use of chemical weapons, however abhorrent and illegal, should not be used as a pretext for military intervention. Other options are available and must be pursued.

Chemical weapons and international law

There is no doubt that the use of chemical weapons in armed conflict is a violation of international law. The 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons in war. Furthermore, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) outlaws the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer, or use of chemical weapons. While Syria is party only to the 1925 Geneva Protocol and not the CWC, legal experts and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have pointed out that these agreements have created a principle against the use of chemical weapons through customary international law.

This means the prohibition against using chemical weapons is just as binding as a treaty and is similarly binding on armed groups. Consequently, if either the government or a rebel faction that uses chemical weapons, they can be held accountable for this violation of international law. The alleged use of chemical weapons must not be used as a pretext for military intervention.

Against military intervention

Rather than rushing to military intervention or war, the international community must respond in conformity with international law. International legal obligations permit military intervention only under specific circumstances, none of which are applicable in this situation.

The rhetoric of the governments pushing for intervention is more akin to retribution and punishment than justice in accordance with international law. It presupposes both the “right” of Western governments to act as global police and the legitimacy of the use of force to resolve international problems.

The consequences of military intervention are inevitable: collateral damage, exacerbation of the conflict and suffering of civilians, radicalization of forces in the region, and making the prospect of a peaceful negotiation even more remote. Military intervention will not help the Syrian people secure relief from the violence nor will it result in a peaceful transition to a democratic and accountable government. A dialogue must happen and it must happen with the voices of those who advocate a nonviolent solution.

Alternative options

Alternatives to armed force have been carefully constructed over decades and there are systems in place that could and should be used.

1. Ensure effective investigation of the attack through an extension of the existing mandate of the UN inspections. The UN inspections must be allowed to be completed. The inspection team has so far collected samples and interviewed victims and witnesses. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has argued that the team must be allowed to do its job and establish the facts, pushing back against the US and UK government’s assertions of “certainty” about the facts of the case and their demands that the inspection team leave the country. Once the inspectors have determined whether chemical weapons were used and perhaps the origins of these weapons, the international community should then act in accordance with international law in its response.

2. Seek a UN Security Council resolution to secure the hand-over of any WMD in the possession of any party to the conflict. The first obligation on the UN Security Council is to ensure the prevention of further chemical weapons use. Consequently, it should promulgate a resolution to facilitate the seizure of the prohibited weapons. This could get the support of the Russian government, which has supported the prohibition of use of chemical weapons and which seems to have considerable influence over the Syrian government. Because of Russia’s strong participation in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, (which has a larger geographical mandate than just Europe), the OSCE may also be able to secure the hand-over of the weapons.

3. Request the UN Security Council refer the matter to the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC has been established to bring justice when a state is unwilling or unable to do so, as would be the case here. There needs to be an investigation into the identification of the perpetrators and the nature of the command responsibility. Syria is not a party to the ICC but the UN Security Council can and should refer the matter to the office of the prosecutor and ensure that funds are available for investigation and indictment.

4. Support a political solution through inclusive peace talks. The political process developed to provide a political solution to the Syrian crisis through “Geneva I” talks in 2012 and planned “Geneva II” talks this year have been established to provide a political rather than military solution to the crisis. The first set of discussions developed a plan for a transitional government in Syria involving both government and opposition members. This discussion needs to be continued in Geneva II talks with strengthened support from permanent UN Security Council members. Pressure also needs to be strengthened for an inclusive process involving women on all sides as well as nonviolent humanitarian and women’s groups to ensure a strong peace process and outcome.

In the meantime, arms transfers to the Syrian government and rebel forces must stop. These arms flows have achieved only more bloodshed. In calling for those providing weapons to either side to stop, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon notes, “The military logic has given us a country on the verge of total destruction, a region in chaos and a global threat. Why add more fuel to the fire?”

Moving forward

Some will question where the justice is in simply completing inspections and securing the weapons. Law is not about quick “fixes” often demanded by governments, or the immediate justice that is wanted by victims. However, it provides a process which is critical to engage with if we want to move away from violent retribution and towards processes of peace and justice.

WILPF calls, yet again, for choosing peace over violence, and political over militarized solutions. Sustainable peace cannot be built on more violence.

http://www.wilpfinternational.org/syria-chemical-weapons-and-avoiding-military-intervention/

WILPF International statement on ENSURING SYRIAN WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION IN THE PEACE TALKS

On November 11, The UK Foreign Secretary William Hague committed the UK to securing the participation of Syrian women in the future of their country: in the peace talks, in the future government and in the rebuilding of Syria and called on other countries to help to make this a reality.

“Good! This is right as a matter of law, of policy, morality and common sense. Peace agreements brokered only between warring factions simply do not work. It is unconscionable that the majority of the Syrian population, in other words the men and women who continue to oppose bloodshed and sectarianism, can be excluded from discussions as to the future of their country. They are being held hostage by those who choose violent conflict to retain or gain power. By failing to recognize the voices of the non-violent movement, the international community has been colluding in silencing them.” commented Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

WILPF has consistently been advocating for non-violence and real engagement with Syrian women as part of the international community’s commitments on Women, Peace and Security and supported the mobilization of civil society. Today, there has been a serious step forward in these efforts to ensure women’s rights and participation in international peace and security.

This is a first step towards breaking that mold and the Foreign Secretary should be encouraged in his commitment. There is much to be done and we call on all governments to now really engage in a peace process for Syria that will end the horror of conflict through a political negotiation which ensures the voices of the Syrian people are heard.

UN Security Council Adopts New Resolution Aimed at Removing Barriers to Women’s Full Participation in All Efforts to Prevent, Resolve, and Rebuild from Conflict

The UN Security Council today demonstrated renewed determination to put women’s leadership at the centre of all efforts to resolve conflict and promote peace. By unanimous vote, the Council adopted a resolution that sets in place stronger measures to enable women to participate in conflict resolution and recovery, and puts the onus on the Security Council, the United Nations, regional organizations and Member States to dismantle the barriers, create the space, and provide seats at the table for women.

In his opening remarks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the Security Council for today’s resolution that shines a light on the importance of women’s agency and leadership in international peace and security.

UN Women Executive Director, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, along with Ms. Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Ms. Brigitte Balipou, Board member of Femmes Africa Solidarité and founder of the Association of Women Jurists of the Central African Republic, briefed the Security Council and presented the findings of the Secretary-General’s 2013 report on women and peace and security.

Addressing the UN Security Council, UN Women Executive Director Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted women’s catalytic role in conflict resolution. “Women’s leadership is central to reconciliation and conflict resolution and to peacebuilding efforts that bring results for families and communities. That is why I welcome today’s resolution on women’s peace leadership,” she said.

Adopted during a day-long debate on women, peace and security, convened under the Presidency of Azerbaijan, focusing on women, rule of law and transitional justice in conflict-affected situations, this new resolution – Security Council resolution 2122 – puts in place a roadmap for a more systematic approach to the implementation of commitments on women, peace and security. Concretely, these measures include: the development and deployment of technical expertise for peacekeeping missions and UN mediation teams supporting peace talks; improved access to timely information and analysis on the impact of conflict on women and women’s participation in conflict resolution in reports and briefings to the Council; and strengthened commitments to consult as well as include women directly in peace talks.

The resolution recognizes that the impact of conflict on women is exacerbated as a result of inequalities. For example, because of unequal citizenship rights and a lack of access to identity documents women and their children may be rendered stateless, lack access to basic services for survival or lack the ability to reclaim land and property, post-conflict.

The resolution makes some unprecedented advances. It addresses the rights of women who are pregnant as a result of rape during conflict. The international community has recognized through this resolution the need to ensure that humanitarian aid includes support for access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including regarding pregnancies resulting from rape.

Lastly, the resolution places gender equality and women’s empowerment as critical to international peace and security, underlining that the economic empowerment of women greatly contributes to the stabilization of societies emerging from armed conflict.

The annual report of the UN Secretary-General on women and peace and security, S/2013/252 shows progress and good practices over the past year. There is more awareness than ever of the catastrophic impact of sexual and gender-based violence in war and the need to prevent it. In peacekeeping contexts, there is a marked increase in the number of practical actions and directives guiding military and police components to address women’s security. This includes deployment of gender advisers and experts to UN mediation teams or in post-conflict planning.

International Commissions of Inquiry now routinely include gender crimes investigators, as seen in those established most recently in the context of Côte D’Ivoire, Libya, North Korea and Syria. Historic appointments of women leaders to senior peace and security positions have been made and include Ms. Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane, who became the first woman UN chief mediator, for Darfur. In March this year, Ms. Mary Robinson became the first woman UN Special Envoy when the UN Secretary-General appointed her as Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Yet, the report notes with concern that results remain uneven and insufficient. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka urged stronger action and collaboration. “This resolution puts the onus on all of us – the Security Council, the United Nations, regional organizations and Member States – to create the space and provide seats at the peace table for women. I am committed to working with all of you so that we can see better results.”

NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security responds:

We welcome today’s additional steps by the UN Security Council to fully implement its resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security. Today’s resolution 2122 (2013) lays out key commitments regarding women’s participation: for the Council itself, for UN actors, for all those involved in peace processes. In addition, the resolution reminds all UN Member States of the forthcoming 15th anniversary in 2015, setting out that date as a marker for achievements and goals on this core issue of international peace and security.

Ms. Brigitte Balipou of Femmes Africa Solidarite, … noted the urgency for action in her own country of the Central African Republic. “It is time,” she said, “thirteen years after the unanimous adoption of resolution 1325, for the consistent resourcing and sustained political will to support women’s deserved role in preventing, ending, and rebuilding from conflicts like those that are currently plaguing my own country of the Central African Republic.”

“For years, we have been asking the Council to be more consistent in its commitment and obligations to women in conflict situations,” said Sarah Taylor of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. “Today’s resolution provides an important step towards this. It should be implemented to help ensure women’s voices and women’s rights are fundamental, not incidental, to the Council’s daily work.”

The resolution also contains capacity-building language regarding the role of women in all processes regarding the prevention and resolution of conflict. “Inclusive conflict prevention and resolution are not solely about improving the lives of women and girls; they are about ensuring stability for the entire community,” said Jacqueline O’Neill, Director of The Institute for Inclusive Security. “We know from experience that women’s full and meaningful engagement strengthens the integrity of a process and the sustainability of its outcome. Ultimately, inclusion is simply smart policy.”

A key element of the resolution is its call on Member States to fund the vital work of women’s leadership, and that of local civil society organizations, who are often doing the daily and dangerous work of conflict prevention and resolution. “Investment in women’s human rights, equality, and women-led civil society is critical, including for the prevention of conflict and war,” said Maria Butler of the PeaceWomen programme at Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She added “Our words and our resolutions mean nothing if they are not backed by our actions.”

Comment from Margaret Bearlin WILPF ACT: Really superb news. After the enthusiastic speech that the Minister assisting …. for Women, Senator Michaelia Cash, gave at the launch of The Report Card on the WPS NAP in Canberra last Wednesday, and with the inspired appointment of Senator Claire Moore as Shadow, as well as Tanja Plibersek as Shadow Foreign Minister we have a very good context for, dare we suggest, cross party collaboration. Tanja was the Minister for Women when we first started moving on implementation of 1325, and Claire Moore has been a stalwart parliamentary supporter, making regular speeches on 1325 from the early days. Claire has also been a longtime WILPF member.

What Makes for a Peaceful Nation?

The Pillars of Peace is a new conceptual framework for understanding and describing the factors that create peaceful societies. Developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace, it was launched on the 10th of September at the United Nations in Geneva. The discussion used the report as a basis to explore a new approach for increasing resilience and well-being, and the necessity for positive peace to be included on the post-2015 development agenda.

This framework defines national characteristics that are most closely associated with peace and has been derived from a process of statistical analysis. It stands as one of the few holistic and quantitative based studies to isolate the positive factors that sustain and reinforce peaceful societies. The attitudes, institutions and structures associated with peace are also associated with many other aspects that are considered desirable, such as a strong business environment, gender equality and high levels of human capital; consequently, the Pillars of Peace can be seen as describing the optimal environment for human potential to flourish.

Peace can be viewed through the lens of both negative and positive peace. Negative peace, which is the absence of violence or fear of violence, is used as the definition of peace to create the Global Peace Index (GPI), while positive peace can be defined as the attitudes, institutions and structures that, when strengthened, lead to a more peaceful society.

The Pillars of Peace provides a framework for assessing the positive peace factors that create peaceful societies. The taxonomy also forms an ideal base for measuring a society’s potential for peace. These positive peace factors can also be used to assess how supportive the underlying environment is towards development, as they are positively associated with developmental outcomes and therefore the fulfillment of human potential. The Pillars of Peace provides the ideal benchmark against which to measure the performance of the broader aspects of social development and a country’s overall resilience when confronted with social upheaval.

In constructing the Pillars of Peace over 900 different indices, datasets and attitudinal surveys were analysed in conjunction with current thinking about what drives peace, resilience and conflict. In order to ensure the development of a holistic framework, both a multidisciplinary and ‘systems approach’ was applied to the concept of peace, drawing on a range of recent research.

The Pillars of Peace is an eight-part taxonomy as follows

  1. well-functioning Government

Based on several factors, from how governments are elected and the political culture they engender, to the quality of the public services they deliver and their political stability. Strong relationships across a number of these indicators and sub-indicators demonstrate the interdependent nature of the various governance indicators. These measures are consistently linked to peace.

2. Sound business environment

The strength of economic conditions as well as the formal institutions that
support the operation of the private sector determine the soundness of the business environment. Business competitiveness and economic freedom are both associated with the most peaceful countries, as is the presence of regulatory systems that are conducive to business operation.

3. Equitable Distribution of resources

This refers to income distribution but more importantly to whether there is equity and access to resources such as education and health. The UN’s Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) correlates with the GPI and even more strongly with the GPI’s internal peace measure.

4. Acceptance of the rights of others

This category is designed to include both the formal laws that guarantee basic human rights and freedoms as well as the informal social and cultural norms that relate to behaviours of citizens. These factors can be seen as proxies for tolerance between different ethnic, linguistic, religious, and socio-economic groups within a country. A commitment to human rights and freedom are key characteristics of peaceful countries,a claim supported by very strong correlations with several indexes measuring human rights. Also important are societal attitudes towards fellow citizens, minorities, ethnic groups, genders and foreigners.

5. Good relations with neighbours

This refers to the relations between individuals and communities as well as to cross- border relations. Countries with positive external relations are more peaceful and tend to be more politically stable, have better functioning governments, are regionally integrated and have low levels of organised internal conflict.

6. Free flow of information

This captures the extent to which citizens can gain access to information, whether the media is free and independent, as well as how well-informed citizens are and the extent of their engagement in the political process. Peaceful countries tend to have free and independent media which disseminates information in a way that leads to greater openness and helps individuals and civil society work together. This leads to better decision- making and rational responses in times of crisis.

7. High levels of human capital

A broad human capital base increases the pool of human capital which in turn improves economic productivity, enables political participation,
and increases social capital. Education in many ways is a fundamental building block through which societies can build resilience and develop mechanisms to learn and adapt. Mean years of schooling is closely associated with the most peaceful countries, however tertiary levels of education and the percentage of government spending dedicated to education is not statistically as important.

8. Low levels of corruption

In societies with high corruption resources are inefficiently allocated, often leading to a lack of funding for essential services. The resulting inequality can lead to civil unrest and in extreme situations can be the catalyst for more violence. Low corruption, by contrast, can enhance confidence and trust in institutions, which in turn helps to create informal institutions that enhance peace.

These structures, attitudes and institutions can also help to promote resilience in society, enabling nations to overcome adversity and resolve internal economic, cultural, and political conflict through peaceful methods. They can be seen as interconnected and interacting in varied and complex ways, forming either virtuous circles of peace creation or vicious circles of destruction, with causality running in either direction depending on individual circumstances. Overall the complex and multidimensional nature of peace can be observed, underlining the need for pluralist and multidisciplinary approaches to understand the interrelationships between economic, political, and cultural factors that affect peace.

WILPF – ACT Branch June FOCUS meeting:
Saturday, 1 June
Friends House, cnr Condamine and Bent Streets, Turner
10.15am for a chat and a cuppa
10.30 start to 12.30pm finish

 FOCUS theme:
Australia’s National Action Plan
on Women, Peace  and Security 2012-2015

The June FOCUS meeting will support the WILPF priority: ‘Investing in Peace’.  The meeting will address Australia’s National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018 (the NAP) which is gaining momentum within the broad Australian government and non-government sectors.  Members are requested to bring a copy of the NAP to the meeting.  There will be additional copies for new members who may not yet have a copy.

Please let Jan Goldsworthy know if you would like to receive a copy of the March/April Branch newsletter which highlights the national interest in the NAP … and WILPF’s engagement at the inaugural Civil Society Dialogue at the ANU on 16 April 2013.  This will be emailed to you separately.  You can contact Jan on golds@webone.com.au or  6241 4212 re any queries.

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For further information , analysis and discussion including current problems with implementing National Action Plans including Australia’s see

At the recent International Studies Association’s Annual Conference in April 2013, a group of scholars and activists held a roundtable to discuss the possibility of creating a transnational people’s plan for the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security  (WPS) Resolutions.   Currently, there is much cynicism about the ways in which UNSCR 1325 is being implemented, which is in sharp contrast to the hope and enthusiasm that marked the adaption of the resolution.

 Invoking the spirit of  civil society critical engagement which pushed forward UNSCR 1325 in the first place, we reflected upon the need to organise a transnational people’s plan to make recommendations for the implementation of the WPS resolutions. In this blog we summarise the discussion and invite responses from WPS advocates.

What are the current problems with the implementation of the WPS resolutions?

A popular way to implement the WPS resolutions has been the writing of National Action Plans (NAPs) – indeed, UNSCR 1889 encourages states to develop NAPs. But, as one panellist, Betty Reardon, pointed out, NAPs are ‘like foxes constructing a chicken coop’.

 The key implementers of the WPS resolutions have been state institutions who have retained a militarized vision of gender security. NAPs address policies about the integration of women into the state security sector; or about post-conflict development and reconstruction; or turning to a narrow protection agenda which stresses prevention of violence against women in armed conflict, or focussing on foreign policy.

But limiting the possibilities of NAPs to these issues, as Kozue Akibayashi said, avoids the original intention of UNSCR 1325, which was ‘about changing or transforming the very framework or concept of our ways of thinking about what security is’. Full article: http://wpsac.wordpress.com and click on ‘Blogging on women, peace and security’

Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven Solutions for a Nonviolent World

We are very excited to invite you to join us online from May 28-30 for the Nobel Women’s Initiative’s fourth biennial conference, Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven solutions for a nonviolent world. The conference – hosted in Belfast by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire – will for the first time bring together all six Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. They will be joined by over 80 influential activists, academics, and decision makers from across the globe whose work focuses on ending militarism and war with nonviolent strategies for peace.

War, militarism, and violence affect communities around the world on a horrific scale. Of those affected by conflict, women are often among the most vulnerable and marginalized. Alarmingly, militarism and war are on the rise; the last two decades have witnessed a steady rise in global military spending while funding is diverted from critical social services such as healthcare and education. In particular, sexual violence, inequality, environmental destruction, and natural resource conflicts jeopardize women’s security.

Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven solutions for a nonviolent world will explore the root causes and effects of militarism and war, as well as the nonviolent strategies women are undertaking in bringing about change. While often the most marginalized by war and violence, women are also at the forefront of creative and innovative nonviolent action. By listening, learning, and amplifying women’s voices, we hope to bring attention to the gendered impacts of war and violence and advance global movements for peace.
Click here for more information on the international conference, “Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven Solutions for a Nonviolent World”.