Remembering a Windhoek Seminar and UN Security Council resolution 1325: ILAC’s Board member Nina Lahoud takes stock 20 years after promises were made to the world’s women in conflict-affected countries

”The Beijing Platform for Action and UNSC Resolution 1325 are both examples of how international law can be used to move gender equality forward. Countries like my own, Sweden, where equality between the sexes has reached further than in other countries – have a role to play at the international level: to learn from and be honest about the lessons we have gathered.” – Agneta Johansson, Executive Director of ILAC. 

This month, October 2020, marks 20 years since the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted the milestone resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which refers to two outcome documents of an impactful Seminar held in Windhoek, Namibia in May 2000.  It was a milestone resolution because it was the first official recognition by the UNCS of a Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, an agenda which calls for the inclusion of women as equal partners in all peace support operations and peace processes. ILAC’s Executive Director Agneta Johansson and Board Member Nina Lahoud were both actively involved in the process leading up to and following the adoption of that resolution, and, over the past two decades, nine other successor resolutions under the WPS agenda have been adopted by the Security Council.

In light of the 20-year anniversary, Nina now wields the opportunity to take stock of the disappointingly slow progress in implementation of the many promises made in resolution 1325 and the nine successor resolutions in her detailed and elaborate article entitled “What Fueled the Far-Reaching Impact of the Windhoek Declaration and Namibia Plan of Action as a Milestone for Gender Mainstreaming in UN Peace Support Operations and Where Is Implementation 20 Years Later?.  

The Windhoek Declaration and the Namibia Plan of Action were two ground-breaking outcome documents produced by the Windhoek seminar on “Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in Multidimensional Peace Support Operations” and submitted to the UN Secretary-General for distribution to the Security Council and the UN General Assembly, and had an enormous impact on the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325 five months later.  Participating as a speaker and working group member at that seminar, Nina is in a position to provide a unique first-hand account and description of the ways in which the Seminar’s visionary Windhoek Declaration and the more operational Namibia Plan of Action came into being and had such a critical impact on the adoption of resolution 1325.

Understanding what specific factors ignited this exceptional outcome and led to significant progress at the time would be useful, she explains, for formulating an action blueprint for the future that could finally lead to substantial systemic change to execute the calls of action in 1325 and its successor resolutions. For this purpose, and in advance of the 20th anniversary, she presents three concrete recommendations for actions aimed to trigger accelerated progress throughout this decade, which are relevant for all actors that are working to advance the implementation of resolution 1325 and the subsequent WPS resolutions.

Click here to read the article.