196 signatories have joined the WPS-HA Compact’s bold, global movement for gender equality since its official launch at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris in July 2021. The Compact is multi-stakeholder and intergenerational and aims to reshape peace and security and humanitarian action processes to systematically include women in the decisions that impact their lives. It builds on decades of work and lessons learned. The cornerstones of this movement are inclusivity, collaboration, action and accountability.
Public rhetoric on women’s rights has not been matched by concrete action and investment; a fact that is starkly evident in current situations of conflict and humanitarian crisis across the globe. Compact signatories pledge to take concrete action on existing commitments for women and girls in five key areas. At the end of 2022, across 156 countries, 87 signatories had pledged to increase financing for women, peace and security and gender equality in humanitarian programming; 136 had committed to take action for meaningful participation in peace processes; 75 are working on economic security and access to resources; 97 are advocating for leadership and agency; and 69 signatories signed up for protection and promotion of women’s rights in conflict and crisis.
In 2023, Compact signatories will report on progress made in 2022 to implement their selected actions. Here are some of the Compact’s key highlights from last year:
In JANUARY and FEBRUARY, the Compact Secretariat embarked on a journey to expand outreach and increase collaboration on women, peace and security and humanitarian action. A user-friendly website has been launched where Compact signatories and interested entities can easily access all the latest information about the Compact’s progress and how to get involved. In addition to its existing Twitter account, the Compact grew its online presence with the launch of its Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
In MARCH, the Compact held a virtual gathering on the sidelines of the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, in which dozens of peacebuilders and humanitarian workers shared ideas on how to increase youth participation and leadership in the women, peace, and security and humanitarian space. Speakers included young women leaders, senior UN and government officials from the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) – Young Women Leaders Caucus, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), Finland, Ireland, Karama, Namibia and Our Generation for Inclusive Peace. Recommendations from the session have informed the Compact’s intergenerational strategy.
Compact signatories have been making strong progress on their selected actions as highlighted in the Generation Equality Accountability Report.
Additionally, Compact Board and Catalytic members – GNWP, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – supported by UN Women and Member States, partnered to hold a multi-stakeholder dialogues series on Innovative Solutions for Feminist Financing for Peacebuilding.
Karama, a Compact Board member, recorded and presented key lessons from the practical implementation of women, peace and security, and the ongoing work of women’s rights activists from Africa and the Arab region.
In JUNE and JULY, the Compact Secretariat participated in the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) intergenerational regional consultation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Regional Sensitization Workshop on Promoting Youth-led Peacebuilding and Enhancing Capacities of Youth Groups in Southern Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe to raise awareness about the Compact and present avenues for young women to drive the strategic implementation of Compact actions in Africa.
In time for the Compact’s first anniversary in JULY, the Compact launched a publicly searchable database and dashboard; an essential tool that facilitates easy access to Compact signatory data and encourages collaboration and networking among the various diverse stakeholders working towards gender equality in peace and security, and humanitarian action.
AUGUST concluded the series of consultations started in March with Compact Board, Catalytic members and signatories to identify a set of monitoring indicators to track the progress of Compact Framework actions over the next five years. The indicators have been designed to strengthen data collection and information sharing on women, peace and security and humanitarian action and to avoid duplication with existing monitoring mechanisms.
In SEPTEMBER, during the Women, Peace and Security Conference in Abu Dhabi hosted by Compact Board member, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a Compact-focused panel featuring Compact Signatories discussed inclusive peace processes and highlighted recommendations on how stakeholders in the Arab region can contribute to the objectives of the Compact.
In addition, the Compact hosted a dinner for members of the private sector and the diplomatic community in the UAE to promote financing for and wider awareness and visibility of the women, peace and security agenda and gender responsiveness in humanitarian action. Learn more.
The Compact also partnered with the UN Women Europe and Central Asia Regional Office in SEPTEMBER to connect Compact Signatories in the region through an online event where Compact signatories shared their progress and lessons learned on the implementation of their respective Compact actions, and encouraged other stakeholders to join. Participating Compact signatories included Finland, Our Generation for Inclusive Peace (OGIP), University of Sterling, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
In OCTOBER, during the UN Security Council’s Open Debate Week, close to 300 participants attended the Compact’s hybrid event, which was held in-person at the UN Headquarters in New York and online. The new monitoring framework that will drive forward accountability on the rights of women and girls in conflict and crisis was unveiled during the event, and new Compact Board Co-Chairs, Norway and GNWP, were announced for a one-year term. Participants also heard from a panel of Compact Signatories including experts, peacebuilders and human rights defenders from Iran, Japan, the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace, Mexico, OHCHR and UN Women, highlighting the need for better reporting to tackle conflicts and crises. Read more.
In NOVEMBER, the WPS-HA Compact Secretariat kicked off online Thematic Knowledge Sessions for Compact Signatories with the first session on Protecting and Promoting Women’s Human Rights in Conflict and Crisis Contexts. The event provided a platform for Signatories to exchange best practices, forge connections for collaboration, and to generate recommendations for transformational action on this important issue area. Participants heard reflections from the Center for Advocacy in Gender Equality and Action for Development (CAGEAD), GNWP, Ireland, UNHCR and UN Women.
To close out the year, in DECEMBER, the Compact Board convened a hybrid meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, for the first time under the Board co-chairship of Norway and GNWP. The meeting was hosted by South Africa at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on the margins of the Inter-regional meeting of the WPS Focal Points Network. Board members reflected on the Compact’s progress in 2022 and provided guidance on the work ahead in 2023.
A LOOK AHEAD IN 2023
If 2021 was the year of the Compact launch and 2022 was the first year of implementation, then 2023 is the first year of reporting. Signatories are encouraged to review the indicators linked to their specific actions as self-reporting will begin in February and continue until the end of March.
Furthermore, the series of Thematic Knowledge Sessions for Compact Signatories will continue this year with the first session of 2023 taking place on 21 February, 9:00-11:00 am EDT on Engaging with and Supporting Non-Traditional Humanitarian Actors in Conflict and Crisis Settings.