On 18 May 2023, Colombia hosted an interinstitutional conference to discuss UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and Colombia’s progress in developing a National Action Plan (NAP) for its implementation [i]. The meeting led by Colombian Vice Minister of Multilateral Matters, Elizabeth Taylor Jay, included the participation of Miki Jacevic who has pioneered advocacy, research, and training efforts to support women’s leadership in peace and security.
Since the introduction of UN Resolution 1325 in 2000, Colombian women’s organisations have worked in an alliance, insisting on the need to develop a Colombian NAP. This alliance of women’s organisations includes, Sisma Mujer, Red Nacional, Limpal, Codacop, Humanas, Colombia Diversa, Ciase, Casa de la Mujer. Whilst the Duque government (2018-2022) began the process of a NAP on 1325, he did not in engage in any consultation with civil society organisations (CSOs).
In August 2022 a new Colombian Government entered office and the Foreign Ministry, took the decision to formulate a NAP to implement Resolution 1325, and a consultation process began. The alliance of women’s CSOs designed the consultation process, and a committee was established oversee the work (Comité de Impulso) which consists of the Foreign Ministry, UN Women, the Council for Women’s Equality, the organisations of the Alliance and 3 other organisations.
It was decided to hold five regional consultations with broad territorial participation, one National Forum, thematic forums and forums that are for specific populations. The conference was the conclusion of three macro-regional forums (Cali, Barranquilla, and Medellín) and two territorial meetings (Barrancabermeja and Arauca) which gathered different proposals and recommendations generated by women grassroots organisations in the territories.
These processes of negotiations and discussions have been supported financially by various governments including the UK and Ireland and facilitated and carried out by the Alliance of women’s CSOs together with UN Women and the Colombian Government. The aim of the National Action Plan is to promote gender equality, protect girls’ and women’s human rights in situations of conflict and post-conflict, and strengthen the peace and security in order to achieve long-lasting and sustainable peace.
Originally it had been hoped that there would be a Plan ready for presentation in New York at the UN Security Council. But consultation takes time if it is to be done correctly and ideas from these consultations incorporated in the plan. The level of citizen participation has been excellent, and Colombia could provide a good model for other countries on this process. However, the alliance of women’s organisations will have to be given sufficient time to elaborate the plan based on the consultation processes.
Women’s CSOs also played a key role in the development of the transversal gender commitments in 2016’s Peace Agreement that has made Colombia a pioneer, having the only Peace Accord in the world with a gender focus. The challenge that remains is the implementation of those proposals into practical actions.
The Colombian Vice Minister stated [ii] : the National Action Plan is only the starting point and not the end result, which not only recognises the disproportionate impact of the conflict on women, but also their role as agents of change, in the building and maintenance of Total Peace (Paz Total) which must be the desire of all Colombians.
Continued International Support will be needed for the implementation of the NAP 1325. It will be important to ensure that there are funds to do this working at the local and regional level where the consultations have taken place and ensuring that funding goes to women’s CSOs for its implementation.
[i] Resolution 1325 (2000) addresses the impact of war on women and the importance of women’s full and equal participation in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction. The resolution also calls for special measures to protect women and girls from conflict-related sexual violence and outlines gender-related responsibilities of the United Nations in different political and programmatic areas.
[ii] Vice Ministra de Asuntos Multilaterales de Colombia Elizabeth Taylor: “Este Plan de Acción Nacional es sólo un punto de partida y no de llegada, desde el cual reconocemos el efecto desproporcionado del conflicto sobre las mujeres, pero también su rol como agentes de cambio para el logro, la construcción y el mantenimiento de la Paz Total que debe ser un propósito de todos los colombianos”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QV8bfbcr6s