Armed conflict is devastating on many levels. Long running violence leaves peoples traumatized and wounded, with the vast majority of casualties being civilians. Many of these are women, who are killed, tortured, raped, and left behind to survive in a world of destruction.
Yet, women are much more then victims. They play an active role in how conflicts evolve. Sometimes in its escalation or prolongation, but more often than that in the prevention and resolution of armed conflicts. The enormous importance of the role that women play in conflict prevention and peace building has long been recognized, amongst others through UN Security Council Resolution 1325. In 2010, 1325 will celebrate its 10th anniversary. A moment to reflect and review the effectiveness of the resolution.
The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is a global network of civil society organisations that work together for conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Throughout the process of GPPACs establishment and active involvement in peace processes in all corners of the world, it has recognized the role of women and has affirmed its believe in the importance of 1325.
From the 30th September till the 7th October some 55 GPPAC peacebuilders from all over the world came together in Davao City and Manila, the Philippines. The group met with different parties and actors involved in the armed conflict that still devastates the people, especially in Mindanao. At the same time, GPPAC worked on its new strategic direction and plans for the coming years.
During these meetings the importance of the role of women in conflict prevention and peacebuilding came up many times. In meeting with the Mindanao Commission on Women, who are living conflict and warned that ‘gender equality is an important goal in itself and a crucial factor for achieving sustainable peace’. But also in meetings with representatives of various Negotiation Panels, where the discussions touched upon the importance of having women participate in official peace negotiation processes and the change in dynamics such involvement brings to a peace process.
Taking all of these developments into account, GPPAC reemphasized its recognition of the importance of gender equality. During its strategic planning process, the network affirmed a renewed gender framework and appointed, Ms. Sharon Bhagwan Rolls from FemLINKPacific, as the new Gender Liaison Person of the GPPAC International Steering Group.
GPPAC believes that it is possible to prevent the devastating effect of armed conflict. That the suffering and destruction that conflict and violence can be prevented. Yet, for peace to be sustainable, it is essential to assure the involvement of women in all levels of work that is being done for conflict prevention and peace building. Together we can make peace possible.