On May 21-22, the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) in partnership with the Permanent Missions of Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway and South Africa to the United Nations will host a 2-day expert-level working group meeting (EGM) in New York. Sponsored by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the UK Commonwealth Office (FCO), the meeting will be a follow up to ICAN’s 2014 Better Peace Symposium that resulted in ICAN’s Better Peace Tool and additional gender responsive guidance and trainings, becoming the sixth thematic Global Solutions Exchange (GSX) meeting organized by ICAN and its partners.

The Better Peace Symposium will bring together relevant stakeholders to develop practical guidance to ensure inclusive implementation mechanisms and guarantee protection of peace makers in post-war/post-agreement/transitional settings. Participants will consist of experienced practitioners and policy makers relevant to the realm of mediation/peace processes. Among those will be women peacebuilders from the ICAN spearheaded Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) such as Rosa Emilia Salamanca, Pauline Riak, Visaka Dharmadasa, Rajaa Altalli, Muna Luqman, and May Sabe Phyu.

The growing momentum around support for women’s participation in peace processes juxtaposed by the rising threats faced by civil society actors in post conflict settings and the fragility of peace accords during times of transition, make this discussion timely and relevant. This meeting will focus on past and current contexts where conflicts have occurred and transitions are in place, giving specific attention to a) gender responsive implementation modalities of peace agreements; and b) the systematic and structured inclusion of women’s civil society, peace organizations/ movements throughout implementation.

The sessions during the Better Peace Symposium include:

  • “Transitions and Fragility” which will situate discussions around the period of transition (post-agreement/ postwar), demonstrate how agendas overlap and examine why they remain in siloes, and discuss the gaps in the implementation of agendas.
  • “Benefits of Inclusive Societal Peace Building & Resilience Against Violence: What do women’s civil society do during conflict/peace transition?” which will highlight the role and share experiences of women led civil society in transition periods.
  • “Reality Check – Threats & Backlash Against Women Peacemakers/CSOs” which will explore the pushback, threats and rising risks/trends negatively impacting civil society leaders/women peacemakers/ activists.
  • “Practical Steps Towards Meaningful Inclusion and Ensuring Protection” which will brainstorm and identify solutions and strategies.
  • “Policy Shifts: Mapping of Upcoming Processes and Opportunities” which will identify the audiences/processes to target in next 24 months as well as locate key opportunities for integrating guidance/recommendations; and infusing/shaping policy/program agendas.

After the sessions, participants will review findings and discuss next steps based on the recommendations gathered throughout the symposium.

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