From Rhetoric to Reality: The Need to Implement Policies into Action

The Women, Peace, Security and Prevention: New Directions and Opportunities panel took place on March 15th during the first week of CSW61. This panel was significant in the way it intertwined the themes of gender equality, peace, and economic empowerment from various panels such as the panel The Secretary-General’s First 100 Days: Toward a More Feminist UN and the second to last panel of the conference, Women’s Economic Empowerment for Sustaining Peace


A significant area of focus was implementation. More than one panelist commented on the need for transforming rhetoric into reality. There are amazing ideas being discussed on the ground, national, and international level. However, not as much is being done to solidify these ideas into the working world. For example, Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, Moderator to the UN Secretary General, said only 2% of peace and security funding is for women’s empowerment.  Along with this statistic, she addressed the lack of women participants on the Security Council. In a similar fashion, Ms. Kavita Ramdas noted that the UN has $2 billion dollars in funds but only $7 million is used for gender equality funding. This is a shocking discovery considering the aim to mainstream gender into social transformations and policy work. Ms. Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Director of UN Women, shed light on the presence of only 5 gender equal cabinets out of 193 member-states.


To better pave the path for implementation of policies, Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury introduced the following 7 priorities for the question: How do we establish 50-50 with a framework?


1)     The focus on the girl child and investment in her future. The girls of today are the women of tomorrow


2)     Addressing 3-71 and 0-9, increasing the number of women presidents for UN assemblies from a small number of 3 and working towards a woman Secretary-General after the 9 Secretary-Generals that have lead the post


3)     Every 6 months, the Secretary General having an open forum with civil society to discuss progress and development regarding the Women, Peace, and Security Resolution 1325


4)     Setting standards for member-states to implement their national plans to account for the past and present delays in putting plans to action


5)     Coordinating responsibilities within the UN and sensitizing senior management about changing rhetoric to reality by setting the example


6)     Integrating and working with men and boys for Resolution 1325


7)     Broadening the culture of peace “Peace is not something external. It is what you are doing, what you are thinking. It is what is taking place in your daily life.” – Ambassador Chowdhury


Some note-worthy quotes from the mentioned panels are as followed:


“Peace is both an enabler and outcome of sustainable development.” – WPS and Prevention: New Directions and Opportunities


“The idea is preventing war. Not making war safer.” – WPS and Prevention: New Directions and Opportunities


“We must focus on: gender norms, dress codes, segregation, and marginalization of women.” – WPS and Prevention: New Directions and Opportunities


“The IPI Global Study indicated that gender equality is a strong indicator of a stable state.” – WPS and Prevention: New Directions and Opportunities


“Peace is not possible without development. Development is not achievable without peace. Neither is possible without the involvement of women.” – Ambassador Chowdhury on Women’s Economic Empowerment for Sustaining Peace