Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action
2021 – Year in Review

Generation Equality Forum

Nearly 160 signatories have joined the Compact’s bold, global movement for gender equality since its official launch at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris in July 2021. More than 25 years since the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and more than 20 years after the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325, public rhetoric on women’s rights has not been matched by concrete action and investment. This fact is starkly evident in the peace, security and humanitarian sectors where women are woefully underrepresented.

Over the past 12 months, the Compact has developed into a movement which aims to reshape peace and security and humanitarian action processes to systematically include women and girls in the decisions that impact their lives.

By joining the Compact, signatories pledge to take concrete action on existing commitments for women and girls in five key areas: increased financing for Women, Peace and Security and gender equality in humanitarian programming; meaningful participation in peace processes; economic security and access to resources; leadership and agency; and protection and promotion of women’s rights in conflict and crisis.

Below are some of our proudest achievements from 2021.

GA74 – Side Event – Promoting young women’s leadership within the UN. UN Women/Ryan Brown

Throughout JANUARY AND FEBRUARY, Compact Working Groups, including more than 50 stakeholders representing Member States, UN entities, regional organizations, civil society organizations and youth networks, started development of the Compact Framework.

Indigenous women’s groups perform a Tlalmanalli opening ceremony to kick off the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico. UN Women/Dzilam Méndez

In MARCH, the Generation Equality Forum kicked off in Mexico with more than 13,000 participants and over 250 speakers from 85 countries. The Compact’s session focused on amplifying intergenerational leadership, driving forward concrete action on gender equality, and raising the visibility of women and girls in all their diversity – including those with disabilities, those from indigenous or marginalized communities and the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as refugees and stateless women.

From APRIL TO JUNE, Compact Working Groups finalized the official Framework Document which outlines more than 130 actions that Signatories can take to advance gender equality. The UN Women Secretariat also officially opened the signatory application process.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women and Pramila Patten, Under-Secretary-General and UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict provide welcome remarks at the Compact launch in Paris

In JULY, the Compact celebrated its official launch at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris with 20,000 participants from around the world. More than 100 governments, United Nations entities, regional and civil society organizations, academic institutions and private sector groups formally announced their signatory status at the event. The Compact launch was in the top 10 most watched events out of nearly 200 events on gender equality at the Forum.

Throughout 2021, the Compact amplified the voices of inspirational women peacebuilders, human rights defenders, gender equality activists, and Signatories. Their inspirational leadership and lived experience helped us drive further commitments to the Compact’s bold agenda.

Known as Yemen’s “Mother of Detainees,” Laila Lutf Al-Thawr is a prominent human rights activist who has mediated the exchange and release of over 1000 prisoners and detainees. Read more

Nearly 30 per cent of girls in Aissa Doumara Ngatansou’s home in North Cameroon are married before the age of 18, facing loss of education, high rates of maternal mortality, and increased risk of gender-based violence. Today she’s changing the narrative. Read more

Around the world, women’s empowerment programs and local women’s organizations are facing a severe lack of funding. Signatory OECD shares how the Compact provides a unique opportunity to increase financing for gender equality. Read more

In 2021, the stakes on gender equality were higher than ever, including in Tigray, Haiti and Afghanistan. In some parts of the world, progress has never looked so bleak. Here are four ways to advance gender equality and peace and security: Read more

Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations chairs a Security Council meeting. UN Photo/Manuel Elías

In SEPTEMBER, Board and Catalytic members convened for a joint session to take stock of the Compact’s progress and discuss a five-year road map for advocacy and awareness-raising, as well as implementation of signatory commitments.
  Compact Board Member Ireland took over the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, using their platform to highlight the needs of women and girls in conflict and crisis, and to initiate a focus on Women, Peace and Security at the Council for three consecutive months (September, October, November). This focus was further emphasized as Compact Catalytic Member Mexico took the reins in November.

In OCTOBER, more than 240 participants gathered for a Compact event on the sidelines of the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, hosted by Signatories including the Permanent Missions of Sierra Leone, Norway and Mexico to the UN, the African Union Permanent Observer Mission to the UN, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), and UN Women.

Focused on dialogue between stakeholders at the regional level, panelists urged increased cooperation to ensure full protection and participation for women and girls in matters of international peace and security. Read more.

At the UN Security Council Open Debate, a number of Member States shared their actions and investments on women, peace and security and humanitarian action, as Compact Signatories.

Building on a Signatory-wide survey and bi-lateral meetings with key stakeholders, the first Working Session to develop an inclusive monitoring framework was held in NOVEMBER to track the implementation and achievement of Compact Framework actions. The data collected through this process will support Signatories with drafting more inclusive policies and making better strategic decisions regarding financial investment in women’s empowerment programming.

In DECEMBER, we closed out the year by celebrating the sixth anniversary of UN resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security. As part of the Compact’s commitment to intergenerational leadership, we asked young leaders to share why the Compact is important to them:

“The Compact provides an opportunity to address and tackle the systemic barriers to participation in peace and security spaces and global processes young people face; placing them as leaders and experts in their own right.” – Our Generation for Inclusive Peace

 “It is essential that the integral, independent role that young women play in promoting human rights and preventing conflict is recognized and defended. Young women face specific human rights violations and insecurity such as early, forced, and child marriage, conflict related sexual slavery and trafficking, forced disappearances, and female genital mutilation. These threats are unacceptable and serve as a deterrent to their participation in leadership, especially in contexts where they must already overcome cultural, political and economic barriers to entering public life.” – Mallika Iyer, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders

To learn more about the Compact on Women Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA), including how you can become a Signatory, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter @WPSHACompact