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Bibliographic Information

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our updated Cookie Notice. A high-level review of United Nations Security Council UNSC resolution , expected to be released in October this year, provides an opportunity for policymakers to move beyond the rhetoric of gender mainstreaming and start putting words into practice.

Resolution underlines the need for gender-sensitive approaches to peace and stability in post-conflict contexts.

Introduction and summary

Although the inclusion of women in peacebuilding processes has gained momentum in policy discussions over the last 15 years, the number of women in decision-making positions remains relatively small. Peacebuilding is the foundation for creating sustainable human security and equitable development in countries emerging from conflict. UNSC resolution recognises that women are disproportionally affected by conflict, and to address this, women should play a key role in achieving lasting peace after conflict. A major challenge is that women are often not perceived to have the skills, knowledge or social status needed to bring about change in post-conflict environments.

Changing this requires a mind-shift by negotiators and mediators on how they view the role of women. The integration of women in key post-conflict processes can take various forms. The cases of Liberia and Somalia, for instance, show some of the different ways in which women have been involved in peace processes.


The participation of women in decision-making and community development varied. In the Grand Gedeh region, however, educated women were invited to participate in the peacebuilding processes. In Somalia, elder men were seen to exclude women from formal decision-making forums where negotiations for peace took place. Somali clan-based politics are inherently gendered, which meant that typically women did not participate in the peace talks.

Yet, women still played a role in bridging clan divisions and acting as mediators. While the men focused on political power and settlement, women focused on sustainable livelihoods, education, truth and reconciliation.

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The UNSC has passed a number of resolutions aimed at addressing the roles of women in peace and security agenda. While these legal frameworks have increased awareness of how conflict impacts on women specifically, calling for greater participation of women in transforming conflict-affected societies, the UNSC has not been widely successful in rolling out these strategies. By being included in prevention and response strategies, women can play an active role towards sustainable peace. A start would be to engage with women at the very beginning of peace processes. Studies have shown that gender mainstreaming can only be effective when accompanied by strong empowerment structures — where women have greater voices in the public sphere, and resources are allocated to human development priorities.

In Africa, resolution implementation strategies should be geared towards the development of national action plans that include more women in peace processes, such as that of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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The AU Commission on Women, Peace and Security also recommends that women, peace and security should be mainstreamed into national strategies. To make policies more effective, strategic steps need to be taken. Women are still primarily seen as victims of conflict — as opposed to perpetrators, or agents of change — which means that responses mostly deal with aspects of sexual and gender-based violence.

Since the Iran-Iraq war in the s, however, youths have had neither normalcy nor a sense of progress. That war compelled the regime to shift from redistributive policies to military mobilisation and massive arms expenditures.

Iraq lost hundreds of thousands of its young men while being saddled with a large financial debt and the burdens of a million-strong army. Cutting benefits and services, the regime fell back on paternalistic measures favouring only loyalists. After sanctions, the dinar plummeted and at times fluctuated significantly. Today, the U. Dinar-dollar equivalents cited in the report attempt to reflect the rate at the time of the event or period discussed.

Hide Footnote Within two years, it invaded Kuwait, an attempted takeover of a wartime creditor that ended in defeat and was followed by brutally suppressed uprisings. In the next decade, as state institutions crumbled and living conditions deteriorated under UN sanctions, young people, regardless of education or qualifications, had to get by on meagre government salaries or devise other means to survive in a ruined country that offered few prospects of return to the prosperity of the s. Created in , Fedayeen Saddam was a militia that recruited uneducated men in their twenties.

Paramilitary youth organisations subsequently expanded, drawing ever-younger recruits. Hide Footnote By , society had been degraded materially, psychologically and organisationally. The invasion and subsequent attempt to remake Iraq reshuffled the ruling elite, empowering regime opponents back from exile with little connection to the population, governing skills or experience.

Sectarianism and Civil Conflict , 27 February Hide Footnote The cadres trained typically on scholarships abroad and empowered in the earlier state-building process had reached retirement age, creating a gap filled by the returnees and those who benefited from the massive U.

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  5. The new leaders inherited an oil-dependent country whose largest employer remained the state. Rather than diversifying the economy, they sought to control ministries to appropriate resources and build a popular base by offering supporters jobs in return for loyalty. The political system the U.

    Pre-Islamic history of the Middle East

    Majeeda al-Timimi, a parliamentary finance committee member, explained: [fn] Crisis Group interview, Baghdad, 27 July Before , the planning ministry was tasked with posting vacancies for each ministry and following up recruitment. After , in order to respect the principle of muhasasa, we decided that each minister should be in charge of employment in his ministry. But each minister represented a political party and would recruit only from within his party. The public sector remained almost the sole source of jobs, but Iraqis could access and rise in it only through affiliation with the newly empowered parties.

    Unable or disinclined to play the party-patronage game, some joined either a budding insurgency organised by ex-regime elements and Islamist radicals — initially mixed but ultimately mostly Sunni — or the Mahdi army Jaysh al-Mahdi , a militia led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who recruited youths from impoverished urban areas and turned them into vigilantes. Beyond the prospect of earning an income, what mobilised these youths was a sense of empowerment and ability to confront a foreign occupation.

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    Sadr, youngest son of a prominent Shiite cleric murdered by the regime, portrayed himself as personifying poor, jobless youths unable to find a place in the new system. Over time, these movements grew larger, more sectarian and more violent, engaging young members in a contest over ownership of the capital in particular. The Mahdi army expanded its reach over Baghdad, evolving into a gang-style militia even Sadr could not control. Starting in , the U. The U. This policy gave Sunni insurgents and Shiite militiamen salaries and prospects of jobs as police or soldiers, but it also funnelled enormous resources to tribal figures who often pocketed them.

    Access to public-sector jobs remained limited to those with connections to political party figures, thus keeping some militia commanders and ex-insurgents off the government payroll. It was a quick fix, perhaps needed at the time to roll back al-Qaeda, but one that reinforced patron-client relationships and failed to reintegrate fighters into civilian life. From , the steady growth of oil production based on new contracts with companies such as BP and Shell gave Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his party sufficient money to buy social peace and project an illusion of stability.

    After , state revenues doubled. Oil-income redistribution was limited to the public sector, including substantial allocations for recruiting youths to the security forces. Joint-Analysis Policy Unit, op. The interior and defence ministries had nearly , and , employees in , respectively, matched only by the education ministry, with nearly , Both were dominated by members handpicked by Daawa and allied parties.

    Recruitment favoured persons who shared family ties or a social profile with party leaders. A high-school diploma was a minimum requirement. In turn, youth committees elected representatives to the Youth Parliament from among their members. Political parties fully controlled the selection process. Crisis Group Skype interview, 12 March Separately, in , the Sadr-controlled planning ministry signed a four-year National Development Plan in coordination with the U.

    Agency for International Development, which identified youth among its targets. The plan had achieved little when a year later, a new minister from the Mouttahidoun bloc changed priorities and redirected funds to reconstruction in areas recovered from IS. Read text of National Development Plan.

    The revenue bonanza accelerated trends that had surfaced during the sanctions decade. Party leaders were the tip of the patronage pyramid, redistributing resources across state institutions and so perpetuating and exacerbating the favouritism and corruption long rife in public administration. Politicians would sell managerial positions to the highest bidders among their supporters to extract kickbacks. Crisis Group interview, Baghdad, 29 July Lower-ranking members gave bribes for senior appointments, enabling them to take kickbacks from subordinates or clients in turn.

    This disproportionately benefited senior managers with party connections at the expense of mid-rank civil servants, whose salaries stagnated as costs rose, directly affecting the quality of services. Political parties influence the … choice by appointing their supporters in the capital where students tend to be wealthier and can pay bribes to pass exams or see questions in advance.

    Crisis Group interview, Baghdad, 28 July Education exemplified the vicious circle that directly affected youths. Many teachers supplemented incomes by giving private instruction, thus assuming a workload that conflicted with their day jobs.