New York, 24 October 2011.
Eleven peacebuilding analysts from the Fiji Islands, Canada, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Georgia, Phillippines and Serbia are gathering in New York this week as members of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) to advise the UN on ensuring a gender component in Libya's reconstruction process.
The women will emphasise new opportunities in rebuilding states on issues of governance and institution-building, rebuilding civil life, the representation and participation of women – and being inclusive to all of those affected by it.
During a GPPAC-organised roundtable event to be held this Thursday 27 October at the UN Church Centre from 3.30-6pm, GPPAC members will call on the UN to include global perspectives on women's roles in ensuring peace and security and taking a preventive approach in state building processes to avoid the resurgence of armed conflict and violence.
"Especially in situations of transition, as is the case in Libya, it is important to remember that there is a whole sector of society that is potentially excluded from rebuilding political and social life" says Justine Brouillaud of the World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP) who facilitates GPPAC's advocacy in New York. "excluding women from these processes can sabotage the stability of a new state at its very foundation."
There is a need to take a peacebuilding and a gendered approach in the reconstruction and rebuilding of Libya, to ensure an ongoing process that allows different parties to engage, to create spaces of negotiation and ultimately influence these political arenas.
Women's roles in the rebuilding of a state such as Libya are vital, "Not only do we need to ensure a greater representation of women in political processes", says Veena Singh, Coordinator Regional Programmes and Policy of FemlinkPacific, a community media organisation working in the Pacific Region on Women, Peace and Security. "There is also a need to increase the recognition of women's role in these dialogue and engagement processes in order to challenge the existing status quo of women, peace and security."
Women's contributions are instrumental in rebuilding Libya as they have been in reconstruction processes in other countries such as Liberia. The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize award to three women peacebuilders recognises this and highlights the leadership roles women have assumed but which have largely been underrepresented until now.
"The Nobel Peace Prize this year offers a lessons learned to Libya as it honors three women who have been involved in leading transformative change in their countries," says Gesa Bent, Coordinator Gender at GPPAC's Netherlands-based Global Secretariat.
"This recognition should inform decisions on who gets involved in transition processes at national level. At the same time, we need to look beyond those who are involved in lead positions and focus on a participatory process which builds on existing efforts of civil society that is directly affected by the change, especially women."
The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is a global civilsociety-led network which seeks to build an international consensus on peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict. It was established in 2003 in response to the call made by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for an international conference of civil society organizations working in the field of conflict prevention in his 2001 report Prevention of Armed Conflict. GPPAC builds civil society networks for peace by linking local, national, regional and global levels of action and by developing multi-stakeholder partnerships with key stakeholders including governments, the UN system and regional organizations.www.gppac.net
Sharon Bhagwan Rolls