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20 years after UNSCR 1325: Charting progress on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

By Miruna Bouros

Gender & Inclusivity in Peace & Security

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) and 25 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which lay the groundwork for the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda’. The WPS Agenda emphasises the long-term effects of women’s meaningful and equal participation in multiple aspects of peace and security. Ireland is a strong supporter of WPS, of gender equality more broadly and has developed three consecutive National Action Plans to implement the Agenda since 2010, with the most recent plan being launched in 2019 and covering the governance period until 2024. In this context and as part of our #VisibleWomen2020 programme, the Embassy in Brussels and our Partnership for Peace Office (PfP) teamed up with institutional partners, academia and civil society, to support two insightful thematic discussions on WPS issues.

On November 10, Ambassador Nolan participated in the virtual launch of the “Gender and Inclusivity in Peace and Security” report co-authored by Dr Katharine Wright (Newcastle University) and Olivia Caeymaex (Quaker Council for European Affairs). Joined by distinguished experts and practitioners in the field of gender and security, Ambassador Nolan outlined Ireland’s experience with mainstreaming gender and inclusivity across government policies and operations, and outlined the progress made in implementing the WPS Agenda over the two decades since the adoption of the UNSCR 1325.

The report proposes a set of tangible guidelines for professionals tasked with supporting gender, inclusivity and the WPS agenda within state and international institutions. It features a selection of best practices collected from the field, and seeks to answer three key questions: “Why do gender and inclusivity matter for peace and security?”, “What does good leadership on gender look like in practice?” and “What strategies can contribute to overcoming resistance to gender?”.

The research, practical examples and testimonials from experts across various professions working on gender, peace and security shine a spotlight on achievements since the UNSCR 1325 was adopted 20 years ago, but also the current shortcomings in its implementation. The report’s authors conclude that a gendered and inclusive approach to peace and security requires sustained effort, along with deeper integration and coordination of ongoing work. Without an engaged leadership which prioritises the inclusion of a WPS lens across all government and policy fields, progress risks becoming stalled or even reversed. Globally, Ireland is among the leading states on this issue.  To demonstrate its commitment to the WPS Agenda, Ireland has adopted gender inclusivity as a horizontal priority across all it policies and operations, making it a leading theme for the upcoming United Nations Security Council mandate. However, this doesn’t take away from the global need to do much more. Women remain under-represented among peace negotiators, peacekeepers, and those who hold political office. Without the inclusion of a broader group of stakeholders in peace talks, and considering the different ways in which conflict may affect separate population groups, achieving sustainable peace and stability will remain an incomplete process.

Click here to read the guide

The event can be viewed here:

Irish Women in Leadership in Peace, Security and Diplomacy

Building on the report launch, on November 16, the Embassy, our PfP office and the IIEA, organised a high-level virtual discussion with three Irish women who are leaders in peace, security and diplomacy. Moderated by the former Irish Ambassador to the EU’s Political and Security Committee, Marie Cross, the event brought together Brigadier General Maureen O’Brien, the most senior woman serving in the Irish Defence Forces, with Jacqui McCrum, Secretary General of the Department of Defence and Sonja Hyland, the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Political Director, three trailblazing Irish women, who shared unique insights from their professional achievements and the challenges they have encountered along the way. This was also an opportunity to address the interconnectedness of the work of the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Defence.

Watch the event here:


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