A Year in Focus: The Power of Peacebuilding in 2016

By: Codey Young, Communications Intern

For some across the globe, 2016 was marked by tragic conflict, from Syria to Standing Rock and beyond. More than ever before, there is an increased demand for peace. As Peace is Loud pushes forward to amplify women’s voices in 2017 and beyond, we also look back on the significant strides made in the women, peace, and security sector during 2016. Here are just a few highlights of this past year’s noteworthy accomplishments.  

  • Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win a major party nomination in the United States after defeating Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. 
     
  • Colombia reached a major peace agreement after 52 years of brutal conflict, with women playing major roles in the process. 
     
  • Women political dignitaries, intellectuals, and activists from over 26 countries and four continents came together in Paris, France in solidarity and unity of action for “Pledge for Parity: Women United Against Fundamentalism.” 
     
  • In September, Liberia’s House of Representatives passed the Equal Representation and Participation Bill, creating five designated seats for female politicians, one for people with disabilities, and one for youth. 
     
  • The number of women in Iran’s Parliament almost doubled, setting a record for the country. 
     
  • According to the 2016 Global Gender Gap Report, on average among over 140 countries, 96% of the gap in health outcomes between men and women have been closed, along with more than 95% of the gap in educational attainment. 
     
  • The US House of Representatives adopted the Women, Peace, and Security Act in November 2016 with bipartisan support. The bill has since been introduced to the Senate. The act promises to:
     
    • Call on the president to provide and make publicly available a women, peace, and security strategy to Congress that details how the U.S. will fulfill policy objectives of the WPS ACT of 2016, and mandates the strategy must align with similar plans in other nations;
       
    • Mandate training for U.S. defense, diplomatic, and development personnel on the value of women’s inclusion and strategies for achieving it;
       
    • Require the president to provide reports to appropriate congressional committees that outline the monitoring and evaluation tools, mechanisms, and common indicators to assess the progress made on the policy objectives; summarize U.S. diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance efforts to promote the meaningful participation of women, and summarize and evaluate the impact of such programs; 
       
    • Make an official statement that it is U.S. policy to promote the meaningful participation of women in all aspects of conflict prevention, management, and resolution ;and
       
    • Require the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to establish guidelines for  overseas personnel to ensure women’s meaningful participation in consultations with key stakeholders on preventing and resolving conflict. 
       
  • Chile’s first woman president, Michelle Bachelet, launched the country’s first Gender Parity Initiative. The initiative aims at increasing women’s participation in labor, reducing the wage gap between men and women, and bolstering women’s presence in leadership roles. 
     
  • U.N. Secretary General António Guterres appointed 3 women diplomats to senior positions. Amina Mohammed, Nigeria’s environmental minister; Maria Luiza Ribeiro, senior Brazilian foreign ministry official; and South Korean diplomat Kyung-wha Kang have been appointed as special advisers on policy. The newly appointed Guterres has made gender parity a central priority of his tenure. 
     
  • As of the end of 2016, 63 UN member states (33%) had developed National Action Plans to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. UNSCR 1325 highlights the disproportionate impact of war on women, as well as the essential role women play in conflict management, resolution, and peacebuilding post-conflict. 

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but rather a snapshot of some important milestones. Please let us know in the comments what events you would have included. Here’s to another year of building peace, honoring women peace leaders, and promoting equity all across the globe! 

Flickr photo via Maryam Rajavi