SDG Watch Europe am High Level Political Forum: Linking SDG 16 and SDG 5 in a Time of Crisis – Women in Peacebuilding and Justice


The linking of SDGs 16 and 5 can provide a basis of support for the entire 2030 Agenda, as even though conflicts multiply threats, women serve as solution multipliers. Women lie at the center of social, economic, and environmental development, and therefore play an important role in the restoration of areas and societies that have undergone conflict. Today, there are many largescale, longstanding conflicts that are currently affecting the entirety of the world, disproportionately affecting all minorities, and violating human rights across the board.

Resolution 1325, one involving women, peace, and security, was adopted over 20 years prior, and yet its implementation has been wholly weak and near absent in many parts of the world. Sexual violence and the inclusion of women in peacebuilding efforts are among the two main points the resolution tries to enforce.

In recent years, Austria has advanced its efforts in including women and youth in environmental and political developments. Similarly, Austria has reached out to areas of conflict to assist women in those areas as well, specifically Ukraine and Afghanistan. However, worldwide, women are still heavily underrepresented in judicial and legislative positions.

  • Inclusion – Essential for peace and security, provides a sense of ownership to women as they are part of decision-making processes and their outcomes, as well as improving trust in governments
  • Access to Justice – Women  pay a higher price for gender-based and domestic violence, especially in areas of conflict. Lack of access undermines the ability of women and their contributions to developmental efforts
  • Need to Repeal Gender-Discriminatory Laws – Non-discriminatory laws need to be enforced from the local level to the governmental level. This is important to monitor, promote, and enforce equality, especially within justice systems

SDG 5 is essential for the implementation of all other SDGs, as the role women play is vital in all efforts of the 2030 Agenda. The conflicts in Ukraine and Afghanistan, as well as the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic are negatively affecting the enforcement of all SDGs and slowing the response to climate change. Women are essential to the peacemaking processes within their communities, undertaking critical roles supporting peace for their nations and families. Women young and old accelerate economic recovery when given the equality to do so, and naturally desire to uphold human rights, something very much needed in conflicted nations.

Key priorities and possibilities exist to increase women’s role in the ownership of and control over natural resources and their management. Jordan has also seen great advances in this regard, working to decrease gender inequality in these economic sectors. Climate change also constantly multiplies the problems that come with natural resource management, often driving out the people of the worst-affected areas. Women often remain to take on the burden and need support to rebuild their environments and the peace in their societies.

47 % of the peacebuilding fund was allocated towards gender equality and the inclusion of women in these processes

The situation in Afghanistan, in which policies regarding women and gender equality are being infringed, has arisen due to existing regimes within the country and their strict policies. Effectively half of the population of the country is being excluded from any form of peace building, a decision which is highly unsustainable. There exists a need to repeal laws banning women from education as well as work, as the country is facing its worst economic crisis, which has led to a humanitarian crisis and famine.

There exists a correlation between all countries with the lowest gender gaps in their justice systems and economic sectors: peace and prosperity, in which women are included in all decision-making processes and peacekeeping efforts. One proposed solution for countries in which backsliding on women’s rights and inclusion is the empowerment of a pluralist society to make the soundest democratic decisions and the utilization of the system as a tool for progressing forward.

When the invasion of Ukraine began, there was seen a rising up of local populations of women to provide humanitarian support wherever they could, actions that could be seen as intrinsic. When conflicts arise, the local women act to support their families and communities. Ukraine proves that localized humanitarian response is among the most effective and should be encouraged and supported. Currently the country is working on implementing the second National Action Plan on women in peacebuilding efforts. Ethical and systematic implementation is needed in order to properly aid these efforts and document accurately the war crimes committed against women. Political protection is also important, as many women around the world, especially in Russia, Ukraine, and Afghanistan are not able to contribute to activist efforts safely and effectively without the threat of imprisonment and death.

For the first six weeks of the invasion, the only humanitarian response seen was from local organizations, often times women rights and peacebuilding organizations. The action was instant and massive resilience was seen across the entire are of conflict. The flexibility between linking organizations together was also helpful to providing adequate support at both the local and regional level.

The 2030 Agenda provides hope for the future of women and peacebuilding, as the rights of women are ensured to be constantly fought for, and positive change will be wholly supported. As well as laying the foundation for the future, the achievements of the last 20 years must also be defended and protected from backsliding. It also acts to support partnerships between peacebuilding efforts, organizing directly with local populations of women.

Other important efforts to be considered are natural resource mediation, reforestation programs, oil pollution mediation, environmental justice, and climate change mitigation. These natural aspects have a ripple effect on women, and humanitarian aid would not be possible without the inclusion of environmental forms of peacebuilding and the role that women can play with regard to them.

The starting point and the end goal should be women’s rights and gender equality. Women are absolutely critical in solution making processes and must be supported effectively, including processes in regard to peacebuilding and conflict mediation. Supporting women in zones of conflict is also highly important, as women are disproportionately affected in these zones while still continuing to provide local humanitarian support.

The HLPF Side-Event was organized by Austria, Jordan, Italy, the Ban Ki-Moon Center for Global Citizents, SDG Watch Europe and the UN-Women.

Ein Beitrag von Zacharias Godsey.


High Level Political Forum

HLPF Side Event Austria, Jordan and Italy

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