Briefing on the Women, Peace, Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA) Compact

The IGC Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Impact Group held a briefing of the Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA) on Tuesday, 14 May at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). The briefing was organised in partnership with UN Women and the Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva.  

The Impact Group convened Gender Champions, as well as interested heads of International Organisations, Civil Society Organisations and Permanent Missions in Geneva to support the group’s objective of implementing the WPS-HA Compact and encouraging more actors to become signatories. The WPS-HA Compact was launched in 2021 at the Generation Equality Forum to advance gender equality, and ensure the leadership, participation and protection of women and girls in conflict and crisis-affected areas. The Compact presents an opportunity to highlight the barriers and challenges in the WPS agenda, while catalysing  transformative and gender-responsive action. In addition to spotlighting the WPS-HA Compact, speakers also discussed the status of the WPS agenda in the current political context and identified priority areas for action ahead of the Summit of the Future and the 25th Anniversary of Resolution 1325.  

Ambassador Thomas Greminger, Executive Director of the GCSP and co-Chair of the WPS Impact Group, highlighted the stark regression in women’s rights following the increase of inter-state conflicts and unprecedented spending on arms. He reflected on the urgent actions that need to be taken, the importance of dismantling oppressive power structures, and his role as a Gender Champion. He proclaimed that “action and implementation starts with each of us,” outlining the GCSP’s efforts in advancing the WPS agenda through policy analysis, dialogue activities, and the training of peacebuilders, mediators, and civil society leaders on women’s leadership. He urged everyone to lead by example and to continue taking forward the spirit and actions of the Compact. 

Harriet Williams Bright, the WPS-HA Compact lead, provided an overview of the Compact and the challenges and gaps that need to be addressed ahead of the Summit of the Future. She referred to inclusivity and financing as key barriers of the framework. She also emphasised the importance of promoting institutional synergies and dialogue between stakeholders from across sectors - including civil society organisations, governments, UN agencies and the private sector - to overcome these challenges. Finally, she highlighted the role of youth voices in the process and the need for adequate and sustainable funding, capacity building and training for youth and women peacebuilders.  

Signe Gilen, the Special Envoy on Women, Peace, and Security for Norway and co-Chair of the WPS-HA Compact, also highlighted the importance of focusing on the intergenerational aspects of the WPS agenda, and the crucial need to mobilise and amplify the voices of youth and women leaders, especially those at the frontlines of conflict. She stated that “without peace and sustainability, there would be no development and the need for humanitarianism would further increase.” In her view, the Compact provides an effective platform for collective action on financing, participation, protection, leadership, and economic security for women and girls. The Compact has more than 200 signatories and spent close to $1 billion to reach 22.1 million women and girls worldwide.  

H.E. Ms. Clara Cabrera Brasero, Deputy Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva, provided an overview of how Spain – as a signatory member – has implemented the WPS-HA Compact as well as translated the WPS agenda within its national systems and policies. She pointed out how the Compact could be a useful and important tool for countries to build on their National Action Plans. In the lead up to the 30th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as well as the 25th Anniversary of Resolution 1325, Ms. Brasero called for the critical need to include the WPS agenda in the Summit of the Future.  

Maria Victoria Cabrera-Belleza, Founder and CEO of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, provided some key recommendations in the lead up to the Summit of the Future. She pointed out the need to be more ambitious in ensuring the Pact of the Future is action-oriented, ensuring it prioritises women’s participation and leadership in security and recovery by establishing clear mechanisms and targets. To close the session, Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and co-Chair of the WPS Impact Group, called on the importance of having crucial conversations on gender and the Patriarchy: “What we are talking about is important, we must recognise rights and be responsive to what women and men are saying on the ground.” She called on focusing on the work at hand and pushing the WPS agenda forward. 

To learn more about the WPS-HA Compact, please click here.