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More Women to the Negotiating Table: Meaningful Participation and National Action Plans

By Maureen Macoun

In the year 2000, the UN Security Council explicitly linked peace to women’s participation for the first time. The landmark resolution 1325 embraced the idea that the inclusion of women in peace negotiations has a positive impact on the sustainable success of peace agreements. More than twenty years later, however, women are still dramatically under-represented in peace negotiations. Yet peace processes shape the identity of the respective society: New constitutions are drafted and important decisions are made that determine whether a society returns to its pre-conflict status or tackles the root causes of the conflict. Resolution 1325 was followed by numerous other resolutions, which together form the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. One tool the UN uses to address non-implementation is National Action Plans. Each member is supposed to develop a plan to promote women’s participation at the national level. This article examines and compares the action plans of Germany, Norway and Ghana, and offers a critical assessment based on selected points. It shows that the plans in some ways perpetuate the weaknesses of the WPS agenda, but they also have a lot of potential to make meaningful participation of women in peace processes a reality.

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