Lasting peace requires comprehensive conflict prevention, which ensures all actors have the capacity to participate in and access formal processes that address root drivers and causes of conflict and provide cooperation across political and/or other sectarian boundaries. The NGO Working Group works to ensure that conflict prevention efforts mandated by the Security Council are gender-sensitive and address short-term and long-term root causes of systematic and structural drivers of gender inequality, gender discrimination and gender violence. Effective conflict prevention demands recognition of gendered dynamics and impacts of armed conflict, with policy analysis and monitoring that clearly identifies the masculine and feminine social roles that contribute to violence and subordination. In engendering conflict prevention, the Security Council is requested to support an increase in women’s participation in all efforts to prevent and resolve conflict; including by supporting women’s civil society organizations’ participation in the planning, design and implementation of preventative policies and programs for violence.
The United Nations has mediated conflicts since its creation and in 1992 established the Department of Political Affairs to assist in mediation work. The Security Council has considered mediation and settling disputes in open debates in 2008 and 2009, chose conflict prevention and mediation as the theme for its 2011 open debate on women, peace and security, and adopted Security Council Resolution 2171 (2014). The Council has, furthermore, included mediation in its work on the women, peace and security agenda, calling for gender experts in mediation teams in Security Council Resolution 2122 (2013) and issues of sexual and gender-based violence in mediation efforts in Security Council Resolution 2106 (2013). Security Council Resolution 2242 (2015) reaffirmed that women and girls’ empowerment and gender equality are critical to conflict prevention.
Like conflict prevention measures, successful mediation and negotiation require women’s meaningful participation. The NGO Working Group works to advocate for consistently and concretely including women and their rights and concerns in mediation efforts and regular practice. The Working Group calls on the Security Council to adopt holistic approaches that address the root causes of conflict, including structural gender discrimination and inequality which often drive instability. All conflict prevention and mediation efforts should ensure women participate in the design, planning, and implementation, including preventative diplomacy initiatives.