Ruby Kholifah discusses what's next for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda at 20

by Ruby Kholifah

Presenting in Monash GPS and AMAN webinar session, 22 October 2020.

What’s next for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda at 20?

The 20 years of implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, aside from the issue of women peace and security, brings more awareness among civil society and local government. That there is more awareness on these issues among government and civil society, I feel that civil society organisation has changed in the way we integrate the issues and the way we advocate the issues.

The National Digital Consultation on Reviewing the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security in Indonesia; hosted by Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) Indonesia and in collaboration with the Coordinating Ministry of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, the Consultation involved more than 200 representatives of the civil society organisations from 24 provinces and was conducted from 20th July 2020 to 31st  August 2020, has confirmed some changes within civil society.

Firstly, the CSO, in particular women-led organisations working in a conflict setting, are more expert at looking at the nexus of the fights for women's rights and the struggle to ensure women's voices and influence in peace and security. Though women's organisations working in conflict on natural resources have limited understanding on the WPS framework, they are clearly any form of violation of women's rights in the dispute and conflict relating to land, mining, and other natural resources mismanagement.

Secondly, the CSO has renovated and improved the peace architecture at the local level. Following the decentralisation policy and the new law on Village No. 7 years, 2014 provides more opportunity for local movement and the CSO to strengthen the system and mechanism of conflict prevention and resolution, where the work of Women, Peace and Security, and of women are valued. From the consultation, we discover that many women-led initiatives taking place in the community have been well recognised by the community members, but in the formal conflict resolution, the women peace-builders remain unrecognised, marginalised, and under-valued.

Thirdly, the CSO has shifted the partnership styles, which is more open and promotes joint-working between government and civil society. For instance, the initiative information of the Working Group on Women and P/CVE (WGWC) was initiated in collaboration between government and non-government. but the partnership remains a challenge when it comes to the formal type of partnership between government and CSO in terms of coordination within ministries and between the central and provincial governments. Moreover, the lack of financial support in some provinces is also affected by local government working isolated from the presence of civil society.

Fourthly, the ability to use intersectional perspectives in looking at women as single entities, rather should be seen as intersecting with age, gender, ethnicity, political affiliation, conflict set etc. The intersectional perspective also helps to better understand the  community, which has layers of crisis such as conflict, disaster, and violent extremism.

In the next decade, the WPS Agenda is tackling more complex issues, in the particular the intersection with climate change, violent extremism, and the COVID-19 pandemic. As AMAN Indonesia has been working in strengthening community resilience in 39 communities of 7 provinces in Indonesia, we believe by providing an affirmative action space for women from inter-faith communities to learn in Women's School for Peace, engage with community agenda, and monitor local policy to be a gender-sensitive and peace-oriented solution, that this will bring the community more resilience. So, investing in women's inclusion at the community level, by recognising their works, and engaging them in decision making, it creates better peace architecture.

To mobilise the community, we need to get support from multiple stakeholders, including women religious leaders. Under Indonesia Women Ulama Congress (KUPI), Indonesia has manifested the movement of Islamic feminism to work on the area of women, peace, and security. Islam and Feminism are compatible, in that both promote equality, nondiscrimination, nonviolence, and human rights. KUPI not only provides a space for women ulama to voice their perspective to respond to the violation of women's rights from an Islamic perspective, but also promotes women-friendly Islamic study methodology that is based on the voices of victims of GBV, national and international legal instrument, and Islamic text tradition.