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The Women, Peace and Security agenda: Breaking down silos


An integrated approach to Women, Peace and Security

The Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda was established through the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000, followed by nine other resolutions. It recognises the gendered experience of conflict and war and aims to ensure that women participate in all decision-making processes related to peacebuilding and conflict prevention.

The WPS agenda has potential as a framework to advance gender equality across multiple political, institutional reform and transition processes that form part of a wider peacebuilding effort. Harnessing this potential requires a broad interpretation of WPS and a recognition of its relevance across diverse thematic areas.

Research project

This research has examined how the WPS agenda can be integrated more strategically across different types of peacebuilding and post-conflict reform processes in order to enhance women’s influence and leadership within these processes and stronger gender equality outcomes from them. The study also addressed why the WPS agenda has remained narrow and siloed in its implementation, limiting the scope for women’s voice and agency across different peacebuilding processes.

The research considered the following questions.

  • How have women mobilised around and influenced reform processes in different country contexts?
  • What factors have enabled women’s voice and agency across different reform processes?
  • How have international actors engaged with reform processes and supported women’s voice and agency within them?
  • How can these experiences inform more strategic engagement with locally led peacebuilding efforts to advance wider WPS objectives?

The study included six background papers. These include reviews of three areas of peacebuilding and reform processes which are relevant for the WPS agenda: constitutional reform, transitional justice and land reform. There are also reviews of how these reform processes have unfolded in three countries: Colombia, Kenya and South Sudan, looking at the role of the WPS agenda in supporting women’s voice and leadership in shaping these.

Integrated findings are presented in the Synthesis Report, “The Women, Peace and Security agenda: Breaking down silos”.

Key findings

  • International actors should adopt a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to WPS, connecting their engagement on different reform processes and sectors to advance gender-equality goals. This includes breaking down thematic and sectoral silos in international programming in order to integrate strategic synergies and mutually reinforcing components of different reform processes.
  • In order to do this, international actors need to think and work in ways that are politically smart, to understand how context-specific bargaining processes shape opportunities to promote women’s participation and influence in addressing conflict and shaping transitions from conflict.
  • It is particularly important that international development actors include providing long-term, strategic and flexible support to women’s movements; use political leverage and networking to build support for gender-equality goals; invest in their own analytical and technical capacities to undertake this work; overcome internal institutional siloes within international organisations to coordinate support across different reform processes and gender-equality objectives.