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ASEAN launches Regional Plan of Action on Women, Peace and Security

Non-Aligned Movement has stressed the importance of ensuring meaningful participation of women in all stages of the peace process and systematically integrating women into all stages of analysis, planning, implementation and reporting of peacebuilding and sustaining peace activities. NAM has also stressed the significance of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 which reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. The UNSCR 1325 outlines the foundational framework of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.

Member States of the NAM in their individual as well as collective capacities as part of regional groupings are committed to the realisation of the objectives of the UNSCR 1325. A prominent example is the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) which recognises WSP as a priority. This is in line with Article 1 of the ASEAN Charter, that “the peoples and member states of ASEAN live in peace with the world at large in a just, democratic and harmonious environment”. Signalling ASEAN’s commitment to WPS, its leaders adopted the Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security in ASEAN (JS) during the 31st ASEAN Summit in November 2017. The statement recognised the importance of women’s participation in the political, security and justice sectors, and encouraged women’s full participation in peace processes as negotiators, mediators and first responders. The statement also acknowledged that maintaining peace and security requires attention to economic opportunities, health care and pandemic response, and disaster and climate change management.

During the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits in November 2022, ASEAN adopted the Regional Plan of Action on Women, Peace and Security (ASEAN RPA on WPS): 1)Protection of the rights of women, young women and girls, including those of marginalised groups, in policies, practices and institutions related to peace and security, including the protection of women and girls from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in conflict, post-conflict, peacebuilding and humanitarian settings; 2) Women’s full, meaningful and equal participation in institutions, organisations and decision-making processes related to peace and security, including in leadership positions; 3) ASEAN sectoral bodies, institutions and Member States will play an active role in contributing to global, regional and national conflict prevention, and prevention of violence, disasters and other threats to peace and security, with the principles of the WPS agenda central to these activities; 4) Peace and security institutions, mechanisms and processes are successful in preventing SGBV; 5) The needs of women and girls are met in relief and recovery processes at regional, national and local levels and women have equal and meaningful participation in these processes, including in positions of decision-making and leadership; 6) Implementation, coordination and monitoring & evaluation (M&E) infrastructure and mechanisms to support the RPA WPS are established and operational, with specific measures in place to adapt and change based on ongoing consultations and findings from progress reports, evaluations and data on WPS.
On December 5, 2022, ASEAN in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and UN Women officially launched the ASEAN RPA on WPS. The regional plan of action is a major step forward in ASEAN’s efforts to ensure that its ten Member States recognise and leverage women’s participation and leadership in preventing conflict and building and in maintaining peace in the region. Previous efforts include the Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security in 2017; the launch of ASEAN Women for Peace Registry in 2018; and the ASEAN Regional Study on Women, Peace and Security in 2021.

Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi, Minister of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia, remarked that “the development of the ASEAN RPA on WPS is a major step forward to fulfill ASEAN’s vision in achieving gender equality. Promoting women’s roles and participation across all realms of peace and security ranging from conflict prevention, peace building, preventing violent extremism and tackling emerging security risks such as disaster and pandemics in the region is imperative to reach our goal as inclusive and people-centered Community. ASEAN is committed to continue to forge ahead with advancing WPS agenda and the ASEAN RPA on WPS will guide our ways.”

Photo Credit : https://mobile.twitter.com/ASEAN/status/1605850706396725251/photo/1


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