Arab Women Mediators Network
Women involvement in peacebuilding has recently taken space on the chessboard of the political arena as the gender perspective in reaching peace agreements has become a priority for the international community. It is a truth universally acknowledged that there has been tangible participation endeavors for women in peacemaking and several local and regional mediation initiatives, however, their roles are seldom recognized, and they are rarely involved in high-level mediation processes. In order to increase women’s participation in these processes, there is a need for change in the adopted approach, particularly by building alliances, sharing expertise, increasing the visibility of women's experiences, lobbying for women's access to resources, providing training and guidance to women, with focus on young women, and actively seeking to establish inclusive processes in terms of fostering cooperation with community organizations, civil society and women's organizations. Governments across the world are exerting efforts to contribute to increasing women's representation and access to mediation and negotiation. In recent years, regional mediation networks for women have been established, including African Network of Women in Conflict Prevention and Peace Mediation (FemWise-Africa), the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network, the Women Mediators across the Commonwealth, as well as other networks that are currently being formed in in Asia and Latin America. These networks are part of the global movement that seeks to promote women's participation and their role in peace processes. In the Arab region, it is equally essential to foster the capacities and negotiation skills of women in mediation that extend to all areas of peace and security and to better capture the challenges which armed conflict inflict on the lives of women and their role in peacebuilding, in addition to developing action plans for implementing Women, Peace and Security (WPS) commitments.
The League of Arab States in collaboration with UN Women Regional Office for Arab States (ROAS) have taken the lead to establish the Arab Women Mediators Network, pursuant to the ongoing cooperation towards the advancement of the status of women and girls in the Arab region. The Arab Women Mediators Network functions within the framework of the Regional Strategy and Executive Action Plan on the Protection of Arab Women: Peace and Security; which primarily serve as implementation tools to the the UNSCR 1325 (2000) across Arab Member States.
The challenges and impediment brought about by wars and armed conflict in the Arab region have generated widespread instability and insecurity, particularly threatening the welfare of women and girls. The crises in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and other conflict zones pose a tragic reality and further intervenes in the daily lives of women and girls as discrimination, sexual violence in conflict, and retrograding economic and political discrimination have escalated. Nineteen years following the adoption of UNSCR 1325 (2000), women and girls are still vastly underrepresented in formal peacene gotiations, and gender mainstreaming in peacebuilding is rarely addressed, rendering the needs of women and girls unattended.
The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda created a compliant behavior by Arab Member States to ensure that it fully integrated into the policies and efforts to promote the important role of women’s engagement. It has been, therefore, important for Arab women to establish their own network of Arab mediators to bring together Arab women from all member states who have the expertise and leadership capacity to take part in mediation and peacebuilding efforts. The network serves as an opportunity for Arab women to share their own expertise in conflict prevention and peaceful settlement, taking into account lessons of women were involved in the establishment of peaceful solutions to conflicts.
- Support and facilitate women's legislative and meaningful participation in peace processes at all levels and across all tracks within the framework of UNSCR 1325.
- Join efforts to promote the real and effective participation of women in fostering peace (focusing particularly on achieving sustainable developmentgoals, particularly SDG5 and SDG16).
- Create social networks that give space for facilitating communication andinteraction between women mediation networks in the field of peace and security.
Meeting on Establishing the Arab Women Mediators Network
The League of Arab States and UN Women (ROAS) organized the Meeting on Establishing the Arab Women Mediators Network: on Wednesday 24th, July 2019 at LAS Premises, pursuant to LAS commitment in mobilizing efforts to promote the participation of women in peacebuilding and peace-keeping.
- The meeting discussed the current trends for women's participation in mediation and negotiation processes at the international and regional levels and ways to enhance the ability of women in the Arab region to engage effectively in peace processes, and examine the concrete ways women mediators’ networks contribute to national, regional and international peace and security by increasing women’s effective participation in peace processes.
- The meeting brought together representatives from 15 Member States as follows: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,. United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Bahrain, Republic of Djibouti, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Sudan, Federal Republic of Somalia, Republic of Iraq, State of Palestine, Lebanese Republic, State of Libya, Arab Republic of Egypt, Kingdom of Morocco, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Republic of Yemen.
- The meeting included speakers involved in mediation including speakers from the Nordic Women Mediators Network and the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network.
- The meeting also included the participation of international organizations and regional organizations and UN agencies.