Reclaiming the United Nations as a Peace Organisation. Ensuring women’s meaningful participation for peace and strengthening multilateralism

Banner for pageDate: 26-28 April 2017
Venues: United Nations and Ville de Geneve
Contact: convening2017 (a)

PROGRAMME – online

Title of the convening:

Reclaiming the United Nations as a Peace OrganisationEnsuring women’s meaningful participation for peace and strengthening multilateralism

About the convening

WILPF is organising a convening on women’s meaningful participation in the UN system. The convening is a response to the exclusion of women advocates and activists at the UN Commission on the Status of Women 61 (CSW61), which took place in New York, United States from 13-24 March 2017.

On 27 January 2017, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order originally halting all refugee admissions and temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Later a second version of the executive order was signed that did not ban entry of people from Iraq.

No matter what, the fact is that the US travel ban prevented women from first seven, then six, named countries to participate in CSW61. In addition to the ban, women from other countries in the Middle East (not subject to the ban), from countries in Central and South America (such as Colombia, Honduras and El Salvador) and from some countries in Africa were also denied visas.

The US Administrations assault on women’s rights to participate in a UN process has vividly illustrated the vulnerability of the UN to external decisions. WILPF believes that the absence of women from countries affected by the US executive order not only undermines the basic premise of the CSW61 as being an inclusive and participatory process and threatens its legitimacy, but also in the long run is a threat to the entire integrity of the United Nations.

In a time when there is compelling research documenting that the empowerment of women is crucial in achieving real and sustaining peace, it is more important than ever to ensure that a growing space for civil society in the UN system exists. Without women’s real and meaningful participation in the debates within the UN system, the reality of their lives, including during conflict, cannot accurately be brought to the attention of decision-makers, including policy drafters and Member States.

WILPF’s convening in Geneva will bring together stakeholders from the UN, Member States and Civil Society in order to bring to light today’s obstacles to women’s meaningful participation in the UN system. The invited participants will

  • assess the current modalities for participation and UN response; what is effective and can be replicated, what obstacles are faced and concrete proposals to overcome them;
  • examine the existing mechanisms on gender integration and develop concrete proposals for improvement or reform.
  • consider how to effect participation and the monitoring of implementation by member States and the UN.

By organising the convening, WILPF with the support of partners aims to improve multilateral actions and bring back the UN to its Charter and the peace organisation it was intended to be.


Invited participants will include: women activists, civil society organisations, and representatives of States and UN agencies. Invitees will include those excluded from NY-based events.

WILPF members and others interested in participating in this convening, please contact for further information.


The convening will take place inside the UN in Geneva and in elected locations near the UN. Addresses will be shared with participants via email.


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