We live in a time of growing global securitization and militarised responses to all types of crises, including armed conflict and climate change impacts. This trend redirects resources away from conflict prevention, damaging the gains achieved by local peacebuilders.

 

In 2000, when women peacebuilders collectively advocated for the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda at the UN Security Council, it was for a new gender-transformative approach to peace and security that requires making conflict prevention a priority on the Security Council’s agenda.

 

Photo: Pacific Women Mediators Network

 

To end conflicts, the 2015 Global Study on UNSCR1325 raised the urgency:

1) to reduce military expenditures and control the availability of armaments in coherence with countries’ commitments to human rights and gender equality;

2) to promote non-violent forms of conflict resolution and strengthen comprehensive early warning systems; and

3) to foster a culture of peace through peace education and inclusion – because WPS agenda is about ending conflict, not about making conflict safer for women.

The Global Study emphasised that without transformative action, harmful gender norms, traditional gender relations, and gender inequalities will persist, conflicts, crises, and violence will continue.

 

Also in 2015, as a result of the leadership of the Pacific women peacebuilders, UNSC Resolution 2242 on Women, Peace and Security was adopted noting ‘the changing global context of peace and security, in particular relating to […] the impacts of climate change’

 

Photo: GPPAC Pacific/Pacific Women Mediators Network

This was vital for us, as Pacific Island women peacebuilders as we lived the intensifying impact and devastation of climate change in our homes, communities and on our bodies. We needed the rest of the world to recognise the adverse effects of climate change on peace and security.

 

Our message was also clear that transformative action was needed when it came to the normative and operational guidance when it came to addressing peace and security risks and opportunities posed by climate change. But almost 10 years on, and ahead of the 25th anniversary of UNSCR1325, we are still faced with responses that use traditional security approaches.

 

Our work now is to strengthen our movement and network to transform responses from militarised security towards prioritising human security with a gender lens can bring lasting peace.

 

We cannot achieve human security without inclusive peacebuilding.

 

The Pacific Women Mediators Network (PWMN) established in June 2023, is an example of how global south feminists are working across the Triple Nexus – learning and organising together to accelerate the achievement of gender equality, addresses poverty and economic inequality. We are diverse women mediators on the frontline of the climate crisis. PWMN is a project of GPPAC Pacific which provides a valuable opportunity to collaborate with the wider peacebuilding community including the Pacific Conference of Churches.

Photo: Pacific Women Mediators Network

 

Since the 2015 inclusion of “climate change” in UNSCR2242 the Pacific Island region has faced seven category 5 cyclones. Each time women peacebuilders have helped unpack the link between economic insecurity and domestic and community violence due to the loss of livelihoods. Working with LGBTQIA+ and disability rights activists, faith based and traditional leaders they have advocated for livelihood support in relevant communities, demonstrating how peacebuilding and conflict prevention must not be an afterthought in disaster management and humanitarian action.

 

Collectively the founding members of the PWMN are addressing threats comprehensively and inclusively without differentiating between development, humanitarian, or peace and security issues. This is an inclusive Triple Nexus approach that brings the evidence of the human security priorities of diverse people who experience intersecting crises. They are mediating through local and national governance processes, with traditional, faith and security sector leaders presenting strategies of how to localise the WPS and gender equality agenda to prevent and address the recurrence of conflict.

 

Photo: GPPAC Pacific/Pacific Women Mediators Network

 

As Florence Swamy pointed out our CSW68 Roundtable Pacific Perspectives on the Gender Action Plan to Support the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for
Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (March 15),
 integrating Inclusive Peacebuilding Approaches into Disaster Management is critical particularly as the impact of climate change results competition over diminishing resources, such as water and land, which can escalate tensions especially when there is weak governance and weak institutions. Peacebuilding practice in particular conflict analysis must be integrated into disaster management to address the impact on physical environmental as well as protection with dignity and socio-economic impacts. There is a vital role for local peacebuilders to support such processes including for and with national and local disaster management committees.

Achieving Climate Justice requires scaling up non-traditional and peacebuilding approaches.

 

In the Pacific, the adoption of a dedicated Peace and Security pillar in the Blue Pacific Strategy to 2050 in addition to the Boe Declaration on Regional Security, through which Pacific Leaders affirmed the call from Pacific peacebuilders to embrace an expanded concept of security that includes environmental security, to build resilience to disasters and climate change and that  Peacebuilding requires a partnership with non-governmental organisations to enhance collectively capacity including for prevention.

 

The 2023 revitalised Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration of 2023 further reflects our collective call for the implementation of the WPS agenda by ensuring the full, equal, effective, and meaningful leadership and participation of women and girls in all their diversity at every stage of peace processes, conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding for peace and security.

 

However, we are mindful that within the current regional peace and security architecture, we will be required to mediate between the traditional and non-traditional divide to ensure that the development of the concept of a Zone of Peace, the implications of the AUKUS arrangements does not marginalise women, the faith, traditional/indigenous leaders and youth led organisations because these will be considered within formal regional security arrangements to strengthen regional cooperation and partnerships.

 

There must be more systematic engagements with local peacebuilders, and women mediator networks, by regional, international and multilateral organizations, to discuss and integrate gender- and conflict-sensitivity across the Triple Nexus.

The  launch of the Pacific Women Mediators Network and the Revitalised Pacific Forum Leaders Gender Equality Declaration provide an ideal opportunity to bridge the traditional and non-traditional security divide to progress inclusive climate action, development, peace and security, and human rights.

 

The blog contribution is written by members of the Pacific Women Mediators Network. The regional network is a partner organization of the #PacificFeministDefendingTheLivingPlanet Campaign.