UNSCR 1325 in the Middle East and North Africa: Women and Security
The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 fifteen years ago. The resolution addresses the disproportionate impact war has on women and reaffirms their important role in conflict management, conflict resolution, and sustainable peace processes. This report pulls from interviews conducted with academics, activists, government officials, and nongovernmental leaders in Egypt, Iraq, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Tunisia. It examines the benefits and challenges of the resolution in these countries as well as its potential in the Middle East and North Africa region.
- The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325 in October 2000. The resolution is not being utilized consistently across the studied nations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This disparity exists not only among the five nations examined by this report but also within each nation.
- Internally, there are differences among women and men in their support for the resolution and a Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda due to factors such as rural/urban divides, religious/secular affiliations, and socioeconomic status.
- Resolution 1325 offers a “common language” and approach for unifying efforts toward ending violence against women in the MENA region post-Arab Spring and promoting advancement toward gender equality.
- Women’s organizations have benefitted from 1325 because of international funding for related projects which they have struggled to obtain from local governments.
- Passage and implementation of National Action Plans (NAPs) by governments in the studied nations have proven difficult, largely due to insufficient political will, a dearth of governmental leadership and buy-in, and a lack of necessary and targeted resources. General unawareness is a major obstacle to both launching viable campaigns for 1325 and recruiting actors necessary for its implementation.
- For real change to occur, male and female leaders need to embrace values of gender justice that are recognized to be in the national interest of all.
- As conflicts in the region persist and economic inequality deepens, governments are prioritizing responses to the economic, political, and security crises in ways that preserve the status quo. As a result, women are pushed to the periphery.
- It is crucial that both men and women see the strong connection between implementation of the objectives of 1325 and long-term national security and economic development.
About the Report
This report examines the implementation of UNSCR 1325, what it has accomplished, and its potential in Egypt, Iraq, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Tunisia fifteen years after being passed by the United Nations Security Council. To understand the successes and challenges of 1325 in each nation, one-on-one interviews were conducted as a key part of this research. Interviewees included female and male academics, activists, government officials, and nongovernmental leaders. The report distills lessons and recommendations that are applicable to the Middle East and North Africa region and those relevant to particular nations. The report’s findings aim to deepen the recognition and application of the essential linkages between advancing gender equality and creating sustainable national security and peace.
About the Authors
Paula M. Rayman is the director of the Middle East Center for Peace, Development and Culture at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Seth Izen is the assistant director of the Middle East Center for Peace, Development and Culture. Emily Parker is a research fellow and consultant on the Middle East.