The year 2015 marks an important point in history for the women, peace and security agenda, as we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the UNSCR 1325 and the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. In these documents the international community recognized for the first time the disproportionate impact of armed conflict on women, as well as women’s critical role as active agents of change in promoting, building and maintaining peace.
Capitalizing on the momentum of these anniversaries, the United Nations Security Council decided in 2013 to convene a High-level Review on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in 2015 and requested the UN Secretary-General to conduct a global study on the resolution with the aim to assess the progress, achievements, gaps and remaining challenges in the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda.
Austria, as an early supporter of the objectives laid out in UNSCR 1325 and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, is strongly convinced that sustainable peace can only be achieved if women’s needs are accounted for and women are fully involved as active participants in all peace- and security-related efforts. Women have critical roles to play in maintaining peace and ending violent conflict, including as peacekeepers, peacebuilders, mediators, decision-makers and agents of change.
As a consequence, in 2007 Austria was among the first UN Member States to adopt a National Action Plan (NAP) on the implementation of UNSCR 1325, which was revised in 2012 in order to account for new developments and subsequent thematic resolutions. Following the objectives of the NAP, Austria has taken various measures to strengthen the participation of women in peace-promoting and conflict-resolving activities. Amon these measures are increasing the proportion of women in peace operations and decision-making positions in international and regional organizations, integrating the content of UNSCR 1325 in relevant training activities for peace operations, as well as preventing gender-specific violence and protecting the needs of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations.
Continuing Austria’s efforts to promote the implementation of UNSCR 1325, in preparation of the High-level Review on UNSCR 1325 and as a contribution to the global study on UNSCR 1325 and the Beijing +20 campaign of UN Women, the symposium "Enhancing Women’s Share in Peace and Security” was organized. The two-day symposium, which took place in November 2014 in Vienna, brought together international experts from politics, governments, the military, academia, the media and civil society and set out to discuss major achievements, remaining challenges and emerging priorities in the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the twenty-first century, as well as providing recommendations for the way ahead. The key findings of the symposium are reflected in a policy paper containing specific recommendations for national governments, international, regional and sub-regional organizations, civil society organizations and the media. This policy paper has also been circulated as a Security Council document on 27 February 2015 under the symbol S/2015/142.
In addition, this report provides a detailed and comprehensive reflection of the symposium’s thematic discussions, findings and recommendations. We would like to express our gratitude to all who have contributed to the symposium, the development of the policy paper and this report. Our particular appreciation goes to the symposium’s participants - their expertise and knowledge built the foundation of this report.
Austria believes that the insight and recommendations gained during the symposium will help significantly to improve our collective efforts in advancing the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda. To this end, Austria will continue to work with partners in taking forward the key recommendations identified, thereby promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.