Open Letter to Permanent Representatives to the UN: Recommendations on the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS)

This open letter was sent to all UN Member States on behalf of over 250 civil society organizations in advance of the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in October 2016. The letter called on Member States to meet the political, financial and institutional commitments made at last year’s High Level Review of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).

Dear Ambassador,

We write to you in advance of the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) urging you to provide details on the progress your country has made on meeting its political, financial and institutional commitments made at last year’s High Level Review of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).

In 2015, three UN peace and security reviews, including the Global Study on SCR 1325 (2000), affirmed the long-made recommendations made by civil society to prioritize conflict prevention, strengthen women’s participation in all decision- making around peace and security issues, substantially scale up the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda and increase investment in women’s organizations. At last year’s High Level Review of SCR 1325 (2000) and Security Council Open Debate on WPS, a record number of Member States participated in the debate. Of the 105 statements made by Member States, 65 percent included concrete commitments or positive statements on advancing women’s meaningful participation in peace, security and political processes and 59 percent emphasized the importance of conflict prevention and women’s role within this.

In your statement to the Security Council, we urge you to include updates across your domestic and foreign policies and where relevant in your capacity as a donor and troop and police contributing country. This should include sharing details on how you are working alongside women civil society organizations to implement the WPS agenda including the provisions of SCRs 2122 (2013) and 2242 (2015). Specifically, in regards to:

Women’s Participation in Preventing and Resolving Conflict and Post Conflict Rebuilding

We urge you to outline concrete steps taken to:

  • Ensure the increased and meaningful representation of women in all peace, political and judicial processes;
  • Support diverse women’s civil society and women human rights defenders in conflict-affected countries to engage in local, national, regional and global decision making structures;
  • Integrate women’s substantive participation in the development and implementation of conflict prevention and countering violent extremism UN and national-level strategies in line with commitments made in SCR 2242 (2015); and
  • Strengthen gender sensitive disarmament, demobilization reintegration programs and security sector reform initiatives.

Addressing Humanitarian Crises through a Gender Lens

We urge you to outline concrete steps taken to:

  • Engage women from local communities in the design and implementation of protection of civilian strategies and humanitarian assistance;
  • In line with international humanitarian law ensure access to the full range of medical, legal, and psychosocial and livelihood services, including sexual and reproductive services, without discrimination; and
  • Implement effective asylum and legal protection mechanisms in accordance with international law, remove gender discriminatory nationality laws; and protect women and girls from sexual and gender based violence while in transit and in final destinations.

Strengthening Justice, Accountability and the Rule of Law

We urge you to outline concrete steps taken to:

  • Support gender-sensitive security and justice sectors that are accessible to women and girls; uphold the rule of law; implement non-discriminatory laws, policies and practices; and increase women’s recruitment, professional development and equitable access to promotion;
  • Enable women’s meaningful participation in national reconciliation and transitional justice mechanisms and ensure mediators supporting such processes advocate for diversity in participant representation as well as gender equitable reparations;
  • Address, investigate and prosecute sexual exploitation and abuse committed by all UN and international staff by supporting calls for, or implementing, mandatory pre-deployment vetting and training; the equitable representation of women on conduct and discipline teams; more transparent reporting on allegations and investigations; and priority being given to survivor- centered responses which maintain confidentiality, minimize repeated trauma, and ensure rapid access to medical and psychosocial care;
  • Ensure accountability for crimes perpetrated by all sides of a conflict, by supporting the documentation and investigation of human rights abuses, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, particularly for sexual and gender-based violations;
  • Prevent and ensure accountability for attacks on women human rights defenders and women in public life as well as women who do not fill traditional gender roles and attacks on LGBT individuals; and
  • Curb the flow of small arms and light weapons including through enforcing the Arms Trade Treaty, imposing arms embargoes, and implement SDG16.4 on reducing illicit arms flows in a way that reduces gender based violence

Developing and Implementing National Action Plans on 1325

We urge you to outline concrete steps taken to:

  • Implement a National Action Plan which is robustly monitored and evaluated, well-funded and staffed, and inclusive of civil society in development, implementation and follow-up; and
  • Align national security and gender strategies, including national strategies to counter violent extremism, with National Action Plans on SCR 1325 (2000) to ensure WPS aims are coherently and consistently supported.

Financing the WPS Agenda

We urge you to outline concrete steps taken to:

  • Allocate specific aid to efforts which advance gender equality and women’s leadership, participation and protection;
  • Increase predictable, accessible and flexible funding for women’s civil society organizations working on peace and security at all levels, including capacity training to women civil society representatives engaging in peace processes;
  • Ensure that counter-terrorism strategies do not restrict the work of women’s rights organizations through overly restrictive legal, financial and reporting requirements; and
  • Support women’s participation in donor conferences to ensure interventions appropriately target the needs of women affected by conflict.

Last October, 71 Member States co-sponsored Security Council resolution 2242 (2015) reaffirming that women’s and girl’s empowerment and gender equality are critical to conflict prevention and to broader efforts to maintain international peace and security. Co-sponsoring Security Council resolutions is a positive and symbolic step which then should be followed by UN and national-level implementation. We look forward to hearing how you are doing this.


  1. 1325 Network Finland
  2. 1325 Policy Group (Sweden)
  3. A Chorus of Women (Australia)
  4. ABAAD Organization (Lebanon)
  5. Action Works Nepal (AWON)
  6. Advocates for Youth and Health Development (AYHD) (Nigeria)
  7. Africa Development Interchange Network (ADIN) (Cameroon)
  8. African Sky (The Netherlands)
  9. Afrihealth Optonet Association (Nigeria)
  10. After Bruce (USA)
  11. Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group (India)
  12. Albanian Society for All Ages (ASAG)
  13. Amnesty International
  14. Arizona State NAACP (USA)
  15. Armenian Committee of Helsinki Cotizens’ Assembly
  16. Asia Catalyst (USA)
  17. Asociación Mujeres por la Paz (Spain)
  18. Association for Farmers Rights Defense (AFRD) (Georgia)
  19. Association for Gender and Sustainable Human Development Empowerment (AGSHDE) (Cameroon)
  20. Association for Women’s Career Development in Hungary
  21. Association of War Affected Women (Sri Lanka)
  22. Association pour la Protection de l’Environnement et le Developpement Durable de Bizerte (APEDDUB) (Tunisia)
  23. Australian Civil Society Coalition on Women, Peace and Security
  24. Balance (Mexico)
  25. Bolivian Women’s Efforts
  26. Bougainville Women’s Federation (Papua New Guinea)
  27. Bridgebuilders Trust (New Zealand)
  28. Cadire Cameroon Association (Cameroon)
  29. Canadian Federation of University Women
  30. CARE International
  31. CEIPAZ (Spain)
  32. CENDDOW (The Netherlands)
  33. Center for Conflict Resolution (Uganda)
  34. Center for Women’s Global Leadership (USA)
  35. Center Women and Modern World (Azerbaijan)
  36. Central Arizona NLG (USA)
  37. Charles and Doosurgh Abaagu Foundation (Nigeria)
  38. Child Health Organization (Nigeria)
  39. Children On The Streets Project (Nigeria)
  40. CHOICE for Youth & Sexuality (The Netherlands)
  41. Coalition for Action on 1325 (COACT 1325) (Uganda)
  42. Coalition of State Women and Youth Organization (COSWYO) (South Sudan)
  43. Comité des Observateurs des Droits de l’Homme (DRC)
  44. Common Cause UK (UK & DRC)
  45. Community and Family Aid Foundation (Ghana)
  46. Consejo de Seguridad y Justicia de las Familias-Pueblo de la Nación Argentina
  47. Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights
  48. Cyprus Women’s Lobby
  49. Democracy Now (Armenia)
  50. Development without Limitation (Lebanon)
  51. Double Hope Films, LLC (USA)
  52. Dushirehamwe (Burundi)
  53. Echoes of Women in Africa (Nigeria)
  54. Emonyo Yefwe International (Kenya)
  55. Engr. Aja Eze Foundation (USA)
  56. Essential Partners (USA)
  57. European Network of Migrant Women (Europe)
  58. Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria
  59. Felm (Finland)
  60. Feminist Majority Foundation (USA)
  61. Feminist Task Force
  62. femLINKpacific (Pacific)
  63. FEMNET (Kenya)
  64. Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS) (Norway)
  65. Forum for Women in Development, Democracy and Justice (Kenya)
  66. Fostering Progressive Advocacy Foundation Inc (FPA Foundation) (USA)
  67. Frauenakademie München e.V. (Germany)
  68. Frauennetzwerk für Frieden e.V. (Germany)
  69. Fundacion Arcoiris (Mexico)
  70. Fundación para el Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer (Argentina)
  71. Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS) (UK)
  72. Gender and Development for Cambodia
  73. Gender and Mine Action Programme (Switzerland)
  74. Gender and Water Alliance (The Netherlands)
  75. Gender Equity: Citizenship, Work and Family (Mexico)
  76. Gender-Institut Graz (Austria)
  77. General Trade Union of Workers in Health Services and Pharmaceutical Industries (Jordan)
  78. Generation Initiative For Women and Youth Network (Nigeria)
  79. Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (USA)
  80. Gestos (Brazil)
  81. Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights
  82. Global Justice Center
  83. Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
  84. Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)
  85. Global Sisterhood Network
  86. Grandmothers Advocacy Network (Canada)
  87. Havilah Kenya
  88. Head High International Organization (Nigeria)
  89. Hope foundation for Social Entrepreneurship (Tanzania)
  90. HUDIFA (Cameroon)
  91. Human Rights Watch
  92. Humanity Beyond Borders (Kenya)
  93. IKFF Växjökretsen (Sweden)
  94. Impact for Change and Development (Nigeria)
  95. Impunity Watch (The Netherlands)
  96. Inclusive Security
  97. Indigenous Information Network (Kenya)
  98. Inez Casiano/Central Phoenix NOW (USA)
  99. Institute for International Women’s Rights – Manitoba, Inc. (Canada)
  100. International Alert
  101. International Alliance of Women (Switzerland)
  102. International Centre for Women Empowerment and Child Development (ICWECD) (Nigeria)
  103. International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
  104. International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
  105. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  106. International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW)
  107. International Organization for Victim Assistance (USA)
  108. International Peace Bureau (Switzerland)
  109. International Relief Services (IRS) (DRC)
  110. International Sociological Association (USA)
  111. International Women’s Development Agency (Australia)
  112. International Women’s Rights Project (Canada)
  113. International-Curricula Educators Association (UK)
  114. Iranian Circle of Women’s Intercultural Network (ICWIN) (USA)
  115. Iraqi Women Network
  116. JAGO NARI (Fighting For Women Empowerment) (Bangladesh)
  117. Justice Equality Rights Access International (Australia)
  118. Kadesh International (South Africa)
  119. Kefeya (Tunisia & Libya)
  120. Kenana Association for Women Empowerment Sustainable Development (Egypt)
  121. Khulumani Support Group (South Africa)
  122. Kirmizi Biber Dernegi (Turkey)
  123. Kvindernes Internationale Liga for Fred og Frihed (Denmark)
  124. Les Héritiers de Lumumba pour la Démocratie (DRC)
  125. Les Victimes des la Guerre du Kivu au Congo (DRC)
  126. Lulu Community Empowerment Project (Kenya)
  127. MADRE
  128. Massachusetts Peace Action (USA)
  129. Matumaini asbl (DRC)
  130. Media Equity Collaborative (USA)
  131. medica mondiale e.V. (Germany)
  132. MenEngage Alliance
  133. Monash Gender, Peace and Security (Australia)
  134. Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM) (Cameroon)
  135. MPV Nederland (The Netherlands)
  136. MUCOP (DRC)
  137. Multicultural Women Peacemakers Network (MWPN) (The Netherlands)
  138. Nabil Africa Centre for Security & Strategic Development (NACSSD) (Ghana)
  139. Naserian Organization, Maasai Widows (Tanzania)
  140. National Council of Women of New Zealand
  141. National Council of Women of the United States
  142. Netwerk VN-Vrouwenverdrag/ Dutch Network CEDAW
  143. NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security
  144. Niger Delta Women’s Movement for Peace and Development (Nigeria)
  145. Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Program (Nigeria)
  146. Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform
  147. Norwich and Norfolk Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (UK)
  148. NOW(SL) (Sierra Leone)
  149. Observatoire International de la Démocratie en Afrique, Caraïbes et Pacifique (OID.ACP) (DRC)
  150. Organisation européenne pour les Nations Unies (OENU) (DRC)
  151. Organisation française d’Aide aux Réfugiés (OFAR) (DRC)
  152. Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (Iraq)
  153. Osafric Women Society (Kenya)
  154. Oudere Vrouwen Netwerk Nederland (OVN-NL) (The Netherlands)
  155. Owerri Daughters League (ODL) (Nigeria)
  156. Oxfam
  157. Pacific Women’s Watch (New Zealand)
  158. Participatory Human Rights Advancement Society (Bangladesh)
  159. PAX (The Netherlands)
  160. Peace Action (USA)
  161. Peace Action New York State (USA)
  162. Peace is Loud (USA)
  163. Peace Movement Aotearoa (New Zealand)
  164. Peaceful Skies Coalition (USA)
  165. PeaceWomen Across the Globe (Switzerland)
  166. Pennsylvania Coalition for Peace Action (USA)
  167. Permanent Peace Movement (Lebanon)
  168. Prabha Khosla Consulting (Canada)
  169. Radanar Ayar Rural Development Association (Myanmar)
  170. Reacción Climática (Bolivia)
  171. Reconstruction, Health and Humanitarian Assistance Committee (HEWAD) (Afghanistan)
  172. Refugees International
  173. Regional Centre for International Development Cooperation (Uganda)
  174. Réseau National des ONG pour le Développement de la Femme (RENADEF) (DRC)
  175. Rivoningo Women’s Forum (South Africa)
  176. Rural Women’s Network Nepal (RUWON Nepal) (Nepal)
  177. S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (India)
  178. Saathi (Nepal)
  179. Safe World for Women
  180. Sansristi (India)
  181. SecurityWomen (UK)
  182. SERVITAS Cameroon (Cameroon)
  183. Single Mothers Association of Kenya
  184. Société Civile de l’Afrique des Grands-Lacs/ Civil Society of Great Lakes (CSGL) (Great Lakes)
  185. Solidarité avec les Victimes et pour la Paix (SOVIP) (DRC)
  186. SolidarityNow (Greece)
  187. Somali Organisation for Voluntary Action
  188. Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific
  189. Soroptimist International
  190. Stichting ProJob (The Netherlands)
  191. Stichting Sundjata (The Netherlands)
  192. Sunshine Progressive Youth Alliance, Ondo State (Nigeria)
  193. The Gender Agency (Australia)
  194. The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation (Sweden)
  195. The Lutheran World Federation (Switzerland)
  196. The National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) (UK)
  197. The Network for More Women in Politics (NMWP) (Cameroon)
  198. The OTHRS (USA)
  199. The WomanStats Project (USA)
  200. Tiye International (The Netherlands)
  201. Uganda Youth Aliiance For Family Planning And Adolescents Health (UYAFPAH)
  202. UN Women National Committee Germany (Germany)
  203. Union de l’Action Feminine (UAF) (Morocco)
  204. Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA – International Association of Lawyers)
  205. United Nations Association San Diego (USA)
  206. United Nations University for Peace (Costa Rica)
  207. University Women of Europe (The Netherlands)
  208. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights (USA)
  209. Village Care Initiatives Congo D.R (VCIC) (DRC)
  210. Voice of Libyan Women
  211. VOND (The Netherlands)
  212. Wider Security Network (WISE) (Finland)
  213. Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD) (UK)
  214. WILPF Cameroon
  215. WILPF Ghana
  216. WILPF Lebanon
  217. WILPF Palestine
  218. WILPF Spain
  219. WILPF Sweden
  220. WILPF Uganda
  221. WO=MEN, Dutch Gender Platform (The Netherlands)
  222. Womankind Worldwide (UK)
  223. Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria (WEAN)
  224. Women Environmental Programme (Nigeria)
  225. Women for Peace (Germany)
  226. Women for Peace and Democracy Nepal (WPD Nepal)
  227. Women for Progress Center, Sadr City (Iraq)
  228. Women for Women International
  229. Women House Development Center (Palestine)
  230. Women in Alternative Action (WAA Cameroon)
  231. Women Initiative for Peace and Good Governance (WIPGG) (Nigeria)
  232. Women Peacemakers Program (The Netherlands)
  233. Women Problems Research Union-Women’s Institute (Azerbaijan)
  234. Women Thrive Alliance
  235. Women Transforming Cities International Soceity (Canada)
  236. Women’s Refugee Commission
  237. Women’s Coalition – Turkey
  238. Women’s Environment and Development Organization (USA)
  239. Women’s Initiatives Network (The Netherlands)
  240. Women’s Intercultural Network
  241. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
  242. Women’s International News Gathering Service (WINGS) (Canada)
  243. Women’s Peace Initiatives (Cameroon)
  244. Women’s Rehabilitation Center Nepal (WOREC) (Nepal)
  245. Women’s Security Council (Germany)
  246. Women’s UN Report Network (WUNRN)
  247. World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (USA)
  248. World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations (WFUWO)
  249. World Peace Now!
  250. Yemen Organization for Women’s Policies (YOWP)
  251. Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) (Zambia)
  252. Youth for Peace (Cameroon)
  253. Zonta International (USA)