The UK is committed to furthering the UN’s agenda on women, peace and security, as set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted in 2000. The FCO, DFID, MOD and the Stabilisation Unit worked together to deliver the commitments of the UK National Action Plan on implementing that resolution, cooperating closely with the Ministerial Champion for Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Overseas, Lynne Featherstone, as well as with civil society. The work complemented the Foreign Secretary’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, which was launched in May.
Work has continued in the three countries which are the focus of UK bilateral action in our National Action Plan. In Afghanistan, we have ensured that international conferences in Chicago and Tokyo on Afghanistan recognised the importance of women’s participation in the political process. DFID’s Tawanmandi project to strengthen Afghan civil society also provided grants to 15 organisations working on projects exclusively for women. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the UK played an important role in the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), extended until 30 June 2013, ensuring that the scope of the mission fully considered the role of women in peace and security issues. DFID is also providing £51 million over five years for the Sector and Police Action Programme, which works to build political will and institutional capacity to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls in the security and justice sector. The British Embassy in Nepal played a leading role in helping Nepal to deliver its own commitments on women, peace and security. Through the Nepal government-led Nepal Peace Trust Fund (NPTF), DFID Nepal is supporting six projects to the value of £2.2 million for the implementation of the National Action Plan on UNSCRs 1325 and 1820. DFID Nepal has also been supporting bilaterally a women’s paralegal programme covering all 75 districts and implemented by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare with technical support from UNICEF. The focus of this programme is to create awareness on gender-based violence issues, strengthen community referrals and support the victims of violence. We have continued to develop a Regional Plan on the Middle East and North Africa, taken forward through consultation, diplomatic lobbying, human rights and gender strategies.
In the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the UK worked to promote the full implementation of the women, peace and security agenda in all 56 participating states. We take an active role in supporting the development of an OSCE-wide action plan regarding UNSCR 1325.
At the United Nations, during the UK Presidency of the Security Council in March, the UK Mission to the UN held a Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on Women’s Role in Mediation and post-conflict resolution. Also in the UN Security Council, the UK drafted a presidential statement highlighting the role of civil society in conflict resolution and on human rights. This was adopted in October. The UK contributed to the Security Council’s Open Debate in November on the role of civil society in the empowerment and protection of women in situations of armed conflict.
At home, to mark International Women’s Day in March, the FCO hosted a screening of the film The Whistleblower, followed by a question and answer session. In November, a seminar was held on Mainstreaming Women, Peace and Security issues into the UK Government Building Stability Overseas Strategy.
On 31 October, the second Annual Review of the National Action Plan was laid before Parliament by written ministerial statement. In November, Government officials met the Associate Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security, and representatives from civil society, including Gender Action Peace and Security, to discuss the annual review and to consult on taking forward the Women, Peace and Security agenda into 2013.