KABUL, Afghanistan – The United Kingdom is urging countries and UN agencies to give more women a meaningful role in peace talks and protect them from violence while they are on the frontline of negotiations, warning Afghan Peace might fail without their presence in the process.
In a virtual address to the United Nations Thursday, UK Middle East Minister James Cleverly set out a new UK-funded protection framework – the first international guidance to be developed to specifically protect women peacebuilders – amid increasing attacks on them globally, according to a Press Release by British Embassy in Kabul.
“We know that when women have a seat at the table, peace negotiations are less likely to fail, which is why 20 years ago, every country at the UN pledged to increase their participation,” said Cleverly, at the UN open debate on women, peace and security.
When women meaningfully participate in peace talks, the resulting agreement is 64% less likely to fail and 35% more likely to last at least 15 years, according to research by UN Women and the Council on Foreign Relations. “Yet between 1990 and 2017, women made up only 2% of mediators, 8% of negotiators, and 5% of witnesses and signatories in all major peace process.”
To demonstrate the UK’s ongoing commitment to women’s inclusion in peacebuilding, “Minister Cleverly announced £1 million of new UK aid for the Women Mediators across the Commonwealth (WMC) network, an independent group of 50 women mediators around the world, hosted by peacebuilding NGO Conciliation Resources.”
The funding will provide women on the frontline of peace talks with training, mentoring and resources for their participation in peacebuilding, and to lobby for greater inclusion of women at all levels of negotiations, including at the UN.
Meanwhile, the UK also announced £250,000 of new aid funding to support research into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on women and girls living in fragile and conflict-affected states, such as Afghanistan and Nigeria, according to the release.