“The mediator can’t do everything,” or doesn’t consider inclusion of women a priority.
Given the urgency of ending violence, mediators often assume that women are not directly relevant at the early stages of mediation. Some worry that engaging women will complicate a delicate process, or “overload” the negotiation table, and increase the risk of failure. Even where they favor inclusion, “the mediator isn’t a god,” and cannot always persuade the parties to include women. But research shows their inclusion is a worthwhile goal. In many instances, women have been key players in enabling a ceasefire and creating the environment for talks to proceed.
How to overcome this barrier:
1. When appointing an envoy or mediator, ensure that the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 is in their mandate.
2. Reach out to third party actors who are committed to the inclusion of women (e.g. the Group of Friends of Women, Peace, and Security), and seek support to:
· Informally raise inclusion with the mediator referring to normative obligations, women’s positive impact on effectiveness, and their experience in mediation processes elsewhere.
· Facilitate or convene meetings of women peacebuilders’ and the envoy, encouraging systematic interactions from the start of the process.
· Formally request the envoy to report on their interactions with women’s groups.
· Ensure the mediation team includes an experienced gender/inclusion adviser from the start, through funding and monitoring the appointment.
3. Recall past envoys who engaged women and provide models for how inclusivity was achieved.
4. Provide examples and quotes from other mediators and envoys about the benefits and positive experiences of including women peacebuilders in processes.
5. Provide samples of gendered language in existing agreements related to different topics.
6. Consult international organizations with women, peace, and security expertise and consult local women peacebuilders about how best to support them.
In 2014, then-UN Special Envoy Mary Robinson launched the Great Lakes Women’s Platform for the Peace, Security and cooperation Framework, to promote women’s roles in implementing the peace agreement in the DRC and the region. The Platform funds women peacebuilders and links them to national and regional implementation committees – which largely exclude women int heir formal membership.