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Women, peace and security

Last edited: July 03, 2013

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  • Since 2000, five resolutions on Women, Peace and Security have been adopted by the Security Council. They seek to strengthen women’s participation in decision-making, conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and post-conflict recovery, as well as preventing and stopping sexual violence in conflict. Taken together, these resolutions represent a critical framework for improving the situation of women in conflict-affected countries. Actors working on violence against women in conflict and post-conflict situations should be familiar with these SCRs to meet their responsibilities and obligations to promote and protect human rights.
  •  These five resolutions, and in particular SCR 1325 and SCR 1820, which for the first time acknowledged that sexual violence, when widespread, systematic, or used as a tactic of war, constitutes a threat against international peace and security and therefore belongs in the remit of the Security Council, have formed the basis of many national policies and action plan in conflict-affected settings (see Section IV on Coordination). 


Security Council Resolution (SCR)

Relevance to GBV



UN SCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security 

First SCR to link women to the peace and security agenda. It recognizes that women are disproportionately affected by conflict and calls for their active participation at all levels of decision-making in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peace processes, post-conflict peacebuilding and governance. SCR 1325 further calls on all parties to armed conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, and all other forms of violence in situations of armed conflict. It emphasizes the responsibility of all States to put an end to impunity and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes including those relating to sexual and other violence against women and girls. 



UN SCR 1820 on Women, Peace and Security



First SCR to recognize conflict-related sexual violence as a matter of international peace and security. Condemns the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict situations, stating that rape can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.  The Resolution also calls for effective steps to prevent and respond to acts of sexual violence as a way of contributing to the maintenance of international peace and security – including urging Member States to comply with their obligations for prosecuting the perpetrators of sexual violence, ensuring that all victims of sexual violence, particularly women and girls, have equal protection under the law and equal access to justice, and ending impunity for sexual violence as part of a comprehensive approach to seeking sustainable peace, justice, truth, and national reconciliation. 


UN SCR 1888 on Women, Peace and Security






SCR 1888 strengthens the implementation of SCR 1820 through assigning leadership and establishing effective support mechanisms. It calls for the appointment of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General to coordinate UN efforts to address conflict-related sexual violence, as well as for the rapid deployment of teams of experts and advisors to situations of concern. SCR 1888 also calls for the inclusion of the issue of sexual violence in peace negotiations, the development of approaches to address the effects of sexual violence, and improved monitoring and reporting on conflict trends and perpetrators.

UN SCR 1889 on Women, Peace and Security

SCR 1889 addresses obstacles to women’s participation in peace processes and peacebuilding. It calls for the UN Secretary-General to submit to the Security Council a set of indicators for use at the global level to track implementation of SCR 1325. It also calls for the strengthening of national and international responses to the needs of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict settings, and is the basis for the Secretary-General’s 7-point Action Plan on gender-responsive peacebuilding.


UN SCR 1960 Women, Peace and Security

SCR 1960 provides an accountability system for implementation of SCRs 1820 and 1888. It mandates the Secretary-General to list in the annexes to annual reports those parties credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for patterns of sexual violence in situations on the Council’s agenda. It calls on the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict to brief Sanctions Committees, who may take action against listed parties. SCR 1960 also calls for the establishment of monitoring, analysis, and reporting arrangements specific to conflict-related sexual violence.  Information about implementation of the key operational elements of resolution 1960 can be found in the UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. 2011. Provisional Guidance Note - Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1960 (2010) On Women, Peace and Security (conflict-related sexual violence). Available in  English.

Source: adapted from GBV AoR. 2010. Handbook for Coordinating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings; also see UN Women, “Resolutions and Instruments”.

  • UN Women is the UN lead on Women, Peace and Security. It prepares the annual reports of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on Women, Peace and Security and chairs the Standing Committee on Women, Peace and Security, which serves as the coordination mechanism for over 20 UN entities and NGO observers. It oversees the implementation of the 2011-2020 UN Strategic Framework on Women, Peace and Security (which can be found in the 2011 report of the Secretary-General), and tracks progress on the implementation of these five resolutions through indicators (For more information on the indicators, see UN Women’s  "Tracking Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325".
  • A number of Member States are developing National Action Plans (NAPs) on Women, Peace and Security as a means of providing a roadmap for transforming existing national policies on defence, diplomacy and development in a manner that would eliminate barriers to women’s participation in peace and security processes. As such, NAPs should identify and prioritize strategic action – through goals, budgets and monitoring and evaluation processes. As of June 2013, there are 41 countries that have adopted such NAPs, while a number of countries are in the process of adopting them. However studies conducted to determine the effect of SC Resolution 1325 on the ground suggest that NAPs do not always include “a budget, clear lines of responsibility, timelines, and the establishment of coordinating or oversight bodies” (see Dharmapuri, S. 2011, A Survey of UN 1325 National Action Plan Mechanisms for Implementation, Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation”).


Additional Tools

Australian Government's Australian Civil-Military Centre and UN Women. 2012.  "Side by Side -- Women, Peace and Security."  This 30-minute film documentary explores how the international community has and can meet its commitments on women, peace and security. It features an introduction by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as interviews with United Nations personnel, peacekeepers, mediators, humanitarian actors, policy makers and survivors of conflict.

UN Women. 2012. “UN Women Sourcebook on Women, Peace and Security.” This collection of resources provides practitioners, advocates, and policy makers with practical guidance, on areas ranging from gender-responsive transitional justice to women’s participation in conflict resolution and in peacebuilding and recovery, protection of women and girls in conflict-affected settings, and accountability frameworks to implement these resolutions, such as the global indicators and national action plans.

Peacewomen (WILPF). 2012. “Women, Peace and Security Handbook – Compilation and Analysis of UN Security Council resolutions language, 2000-2012.” This tool compiles good practice language, options and recommendations to integrate gender and women’s rights into the work of the Security Council, based on Peacewomen's Resolution Watch initiative.