The UK 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, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the first UN Security Council resolution on women’s inclusion in peace and security, UK embassy in Kabul said in a statement.
The Afghan peace negotiations that started in September has faced delays over disputed points on procedural rules for the talks. Four members of the 21-member negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan are women. However, there is no woman in the Taliban’s 21-member team.
The statement said that research by UN Women and the Council on Foreign Relations shows that 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.
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 processes.
In a virtual address to the United Nations on Thursday, UK Middle East Minister James Cleverly set out a new UK-funded protection framework – the first international guidance to be developed to specifically to protect women peacebuilders – amid increasing attacks on them globally.
“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,” Cleverly said. “World leaders must now put words into action and follow the UK’s lead of protecting women on the frontline and lobbying for greater inclusion.”
The statement says that 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 lobby for greater inclusion of women at all levels of negotiations, including at the UN.