Women, Peace and Security

War and conflict affect men, boys, women and girls differently. In order to establish sustainable peace in an area marked by war or conflict, it is crucial to include women in peace efforts. In 2000 the UN Security Council adopted the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which affirms that peace and security efforts are more sustainable when women are equal partners in the prevention of violent conflict, the delivery of relief and recovery efforts and in the forging of lasting peace.

Norway has over time consistently advocated for more gender-balanced approach to peace and security work. The issue of women, peace and security is one of four focus areas for Norway as an elected member of the UN Security Council for the period ’s 2021-22.

Norway advocates consistently for a more gender-balanced participation in peace- and security efforts. In the peace processes where Norway is engaged, we have worked systematically over many years to promote women’s rights and participation. Norway will strive to secure that women’s rights and women’s participation are included in all UN peace- and security efforts. As an elected member of the UN Security Council we will focus our efforts with the aim of seeing concrete effects on the ground, and efforts will continue when Norway's membership period is over.

We want to see women, peace and security commitments being implemented in UN operations and missions and we are working for the consensus on the women, peace and security agenda to be maintained and strengthened. Resolution texts, presidential statements and other council products should reflect the situation of women and ensure that women's rights and participation are safeguarded in the UN's peace and security efforts. It is also important to us that women from civil society inform the council regularly and that the work of women peace builders and human rights defenders is recognised and emphasised in the council, and that their safety is protected.

Norway’s ambitions in relation to women, peace and security give priority to 4 policy areas:

I. In peace- and reconciliation processes Norway will work to ensure that processes facilitate participation by women in all phases, and that both women’s and men’s rights, needs and priorities are respected. As an elected member of the UN Security Council 2021-2022, we will:  

  • work to increasing the number of women facilitators and peace mediators internationally,
  • urge the parties to include women in their delegations,
  • work to facilitate an inclusive process by raising the parties’ awareness at an early stage,
  • work to enable local women’s organisations and activists to present their priorities, among other things by supporting civil society through technical assistance and by building bridges between civil society and the formal negotiating table,
  • support civil society initiatives for peace and reconciliation and facilitate participation by women’s organisations in conflict prevention and conflict resolution processes,
  • work to ensure that gender perspectives are included in peace agreements and peace processes,
  • raise the issue of conflict-related sexual violence, work to ensure that survivors’ rights are safeguarded, ensure that perpetrators are held criminally liable and that a system for transitional justice processes are in place.

As part of the Nordic network of women mediators, Norway will be a driving force for close cooperation with the other regional networks of women mediators to achieve these goals.

II. Where Norway is involved in the implementation of peace agreements, Norway will endeavour to facilitate women’s participation and to safeguard both women’s and men’s rights, needs and priorities. Norway will work to ensure that multilateral organisations’ efforts in support of the implementation of peace agreements involve women and integrate the gender perspective.

In the implementation of peace agreements, Norway will:

  • continue to support civil society and to work with the parties in order to contribute to implementation of the agreement, where peace negotiations have been inclusive and the agreement has safeguarded women’s rights,
  • endeavour to make the most of the opportunities that arise when the peace agreements are implemented, so that both women and men benefit, where peace agreements do not safeguard women’s rights,
  • endeavour to ensure that women participate in key decision-making processes in post-conflict situations, at both the local and national level, such as electoral and constitutional commissions, and in the mechanisms established to monitor follow-up and implementation of the peace agreement,
  • endeavour to ensure that women’s organisations are strengthened, that they are formally affiliated to the bodies that are tasked with implementing the peace agreement, and that they are in a position to contribute,
  • endeavour to ensure the establishment of legitimate and representative security structures that meet the security needs of both women and men,
  • continue to give priority to prevent and combat sexual violence,
  • endeavour to maintain the gender perspective in all Norwegian efforts to promote security sector reform and transitional justice in post-conflict countries,
  • endeavour to ensure that the gender perspective is included in the reconstruction of post-conflict countries.

III. In operations and missions, the goal is to ensure the security and safety of the whole populationwomen, men, girls and boys. A gender perspective will be applied as regards how the organisations and personnel operate, in the selection of participants and when building competence.

Norway’s goals is to integrate women and men’s security, rights and needs in all areas of operations and missions that Norway is part of.

  • The gender perspective is to be included in the planning, implementation and evaluation of operations and missions.
  • Norwegian participants in exercises, training, operations and missions are to have competence in the gender perspective.
  • Norway will contribute to international competence and capacity building.
  • Through international cooperation, Norway will help to ensure that Nato’s and the UN’s policy and operational guidelines relating to women, peace and security are implemented.
  • We emphasise work on conflict-related sexual violence in operations – from preventive measures and combating violence as it takes place to criminal prosecution and reconstruction of society.
  • Norway wants more women in conflict areas to be able to participate in security efforts, conflict management and peace processes.
  • We also work to recruit women to leading positions nationally and internationally, and to get more women to join military units with an operational capability, as well as deploying units.
  • Norway’s Armed Forces and the police will continue to have zero tolerance for sexual harassment, maltreatment and abuse in operations and missions in accordance with national and international guidelines and national laws.
  • Norway will continue to actively support measures that strengthen compliance with the UN’s zero tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse.

IV. The gender perspective must be an integral part of the whole humanitarian effort and women’s rights and participation must be given particular emphasis.

Norway will:

  • emphasise that humanitarian organisations also take into consideration that girls and women, boys and men may have different needs and Norway will emphasise practical follow-up of the organisations of which Norway is a member or that receive Norwegian funding.
  • contribute to increasing competence and capacity on gender issues in humanitarian efforts and work politically and diplomatically to ensure that the UN and other key actors give priority to the efforts for women’s rights and participation and take a gender-sensitive approach in their humanitarian efforts.
  • intensify its efforts against sexual and gender-based violence, be a driving force for a stronger international effort, and will support prevention measures and measures that follow up survivors.
  • work to ensure that other countries also ratify the Lanzarote Convention on the Protection of Children (girls and boys) against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.
  • In the following up of the convention, we will focus in particular on the vulnerability that arises when people become refugees, and we will give priority to efforts to protect against human trafficking, child and forced marriage, and exploitation in prostitution.
  • give high priority to psychosocial support for survivors. Children who are conceived as the result of rape during an armed conflict are particularly vulnerable. We will contribute to combating stigmatisation and also help boys and men who are victims of sexual violence.
  • support measures that ensure that girls’ and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are safeguarded during conflicts and humanitarian crises.
  • endeavour to ensure that the gender perspective is included in processes relating to humanitarian disarmament and arms control. We will help to ensure that the states parties to the Arms Trade Treaty implement the provision on gender-based violence globally.
  • continue its work to ensure that the gender perspective is integrated in the work on clearing mines and other explosives.  

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Norway’s efforts in support of women’s rights and gender equality in its foreign policy and development policy in general, focus on five areas:

  • Girls’ right to education
  • Women’s political rights and participation
  • Women’s economic rights and participation
  • A life free from violence and harmful customs
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and the Action Plan for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality govern how the gender issues are implemented in peacebuilding efforts, in countries in conflict and in post-conflict situations.

 The Norwegian Government's Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and the Action Plan for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality  - see Women's rights and gender equality - regjeringen.no  govern how Norway’s policy in peacebuilding efforts are implemented in countries in conflict and in post-conflict situations.