UN resolution recognises central role of women in conflict prevention

A new UN resolution means women will be given greater consultation during peace talks and calls for funding to promote women’s leadership

Women have been recognised for the central role they play in conflict prevention and peacekeeping by a new UN resolution.

Resolution 2122 paves the way for “a more systematic approach to the implementation of commitments on women, peace and security,” and includes a range of concrete measures that recognise the importance of gender equality to international peace and security.

These include a commitment that briefings to the security council should include a greater focus on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls; a pledge to consult and include women in peace talks; and a call for member states to fund measures that promote women’s leadership, including supporting local civil society groups involved in conflict prevention, which are often run by women.

In a move that will be viewed as controversial in some quarters, the resolution, adopted unanimously on 18 October, also highlights the need for women who become pregnant after being raped during war to be able to access a full range of health services through humanitarian aid, including abortion.

Executive director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said the resolution “recognises, loud and clear, that gender equality and the empowerment of women are crucial to international peace and security.”

Resolution 2122 is the second this year that relates to women’s role in conflict. Resolution 2106 – an agreement focusing on the monitoring and prevention of sexual violence in conflict – was passed in June. Both build on resolution 1325 from 2000, the first to recognise the disproportionate impact of war on women.

The UN secretary-general’s 2013 report on women, peace and security, published in September, found that more attention needed to be paid to human rights violations against women during conflict, including forced displacement, family separation, loss of land and livelihood, human trafficking and early and forced marriage.