About

The U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security (CSWG) is a network of experts, NGOs, and academics with years of experience working on issues involving women, war, and peace. Inspired by and building upon the international Women, Peace, and Security agenda, the CSWG informs, promotes, facilitates, and monitors the meaningful implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.

 

Global Forum on Women, Peace, and Security

The U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security (U.S. CSWG) hosted a three-day Global Forum on Women, Peace, and Security from May 8-10, 2017. With the objective of informing U.S. policymakers and promoting the implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, the Global Forum brought together members of the U.S. CSWG and nine international civil society leaders from eight different countries working on issues of violent extremism, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding in their respective countries.

The first day featured presentations from the international civil society leaders and moderated dialogue among the participants and members of the U.S. CSWG. The day concluded with a workshop to prepare the participants for their upcoming meetings on Capitol Hill. During the workshop, Communications Consultant Scott Morgan imparted advice for effective storytelling and stressed the importance of finding common ground with the audience and highlighting the central theme in each story; the second day focused on engaging policymakers, and the participants met with a number of allied embassies and U.S. policymakers to discuss thematic and geographic issues; and the third day focused on pathways forward, providing members with a platform to reflect, exchange lessons learned, and create plans for further collaboration. The forum culminated with a public event on. This moderated discussion highlighted the work of the international participants, who presented their experiences on how best to engage women in preventing extremist violence.

Key themes from the forum focused on implementing new practices that go beyond military engagement, furthering the participation of youth and local leaders, educating and breaking down important issues for policymakers, and eradicating the narratives that portray women as victims. Reflecting on the forum, U.S. CSWG members and the international participants identified the most pressing problems as the visibility of civil society and the considerable knowledge gap on issues of violent extremism, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding. Moving forward, the U.S. CSWG and the international civil society leaders plan on addressing those problems by creating stronger partnerships among civil society organizations, placing a greater focus on educating U.S. policymakers, engaging actors from different sectors within society, and holding government officials accountable for taking action and providing real change.

History

The U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (CSWG) was created in July 2010 to encourage and to support the U.S. Government’s efforts in the adoption of a National Action Plan (NAP) focused on women. NAPs are a governmental tool for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), and subsequently, to assist governments define the main elements of such a plan and monitor its implementation. The United States joins 42 other countries in the implementation of a national action plan.

Background

Adopted in 2000, UNSCR 1325 is an international framework for more effective conflict resolution and peacebuilding by recognizing the inclusion of women as necessary to these processes. The resolution was the result of active mobilization by civil society groups, particularly women’s peace groups who, caught on the frontlines of conflict and post-conflict situations, advocated for more inclusive international peacebuilding efforts and stressed the importance of including women in such efforts. While the resolution was remarkably forward-thinking and reflective of the changed nature of 21st century warfare, progress on its implementation suffered when U.S. and international attention became consumed by military responses to counter terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Over the next decade, women’s civil society organizations in the United States and abroad continued to remind policymakers of their commitments made in 2000. While UNSCR 1325 remained politically sidelined, in 2008 one critical aspect of the agenda – the issue of sexual violence in conflict—rose to the forefront. In the latter days of President George W. Bush’s administration, U.S. leadership at the UN resulted in the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1820 (UNSCR 1820), which highlighted sexual violence in conflict as a threat to peace and security and reiterated the call for increased participation of women’s civil society groups in peace making. Though an unequivocally positive step, it took another two years and the tenth anniversary of UNSCR 1325 for the United States to make the commitment to incorporate the issue of women, peace, and security comprehensively into its foreign policies. In October 2010, the then U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced that the U.S. would be developing a National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security (NAP) and on December 19, 2011, President Obama signed the executive order making the U.S. NAP official policy. In doing so, the United States joined 42 countries that have developed such plans. Currently, the U.S. Government is working to implement the executive order in the work of government agencies. On July 31, 2013, the Women, Peace, and Security Act (WPS Act) was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill builds off of the implementation taking place within U.S. Government agencies by ensuring congressional oversight in regards to the funding and evaluation of the U.S. NAP.

Members of the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security, some of whom had been actively involved in the adoption of UNSCR 1325 back in 2000, were early advocates for a United States National Action Plan (U.S. NAP). They understood the need for a coordinated strategy to create the space, raise awareness and build the political support necessary for the development and adoption of a U.S. National Action Plan (U.S. NAP). Reflecting on the development and progress of the U.S. Civil Society Working Group, this brief highlights key features that have characterized the group’s internal workings and core principles, as well as the key activities and contributions they have made to shaping U.S. policy and programming.

Past Events

2013

December 3, 2013

Congressional Staff Briefing - Creating Sustainable Peace and Security: The Need for Inclusivity in Syria and Afghanistan

Members of the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace & Security in conjunction with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA) hosted a panel discussion on the need to include women and ensure implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace & Security. In particular, this discussion focused on the Afghan and Syrian contexts.

 

August 30, 2013

Legislative Subcommittee Meeting with Mac Tolar, Military Legislative Council in Congresswoman Roby’s Office (R-AL)

Members of the Legislative Subcommittee met with Mr. Tolar to discuss potential co-sponsorship of the Women, Peace & Security Act.

 

August 29, 2013

Consultation with Creative Associates International

Members of the CSWG met with Charito Kruvant, President and CEO of Creative Associates International; Johanna Mendelson-Forman, Senior Associate, Americas Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Michelle Hughes, Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer; VALRAC Innovation, LLC. The purpose of this meeting was to get insight from the Working Group regarding a new publication – Strategic Blindness: Women in Community Development.

 

August 23, 2013

Legislative Subcommittee Meeting with Wyndee Parker, Foreign Affairs Policy Advisor to Leader Nancy Pelosi

Members of the Legislative Subcommittee met with Ms. Parker to discuss next steps for Leader Pelosi’s office regarding the Women, Peace & Security Act.

 

May 30, 2013

Consultation with Representatives of the Embassy of the Netherlands

Members of the CSWG met with Mirjam Krijnan, First Secretary (political), and Joseph Hoenen, Coordinator on Women, Peace & Security; to discuss the development of the U.S. National Action Plan; the role of the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace & Security vis-à-vis the U.S. Government implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan; and how the U.S. National Action Plan can be used to coordinate policy approaches to current crises.

 

May 22, 2013

Meeting with Dr. Valerie Hudson

Members of the CSWG met with Dr. Valerie Hudson, professor at Texas A & M and expert on international security and foreign policy analysis, to discuss the growing emphasis on women in U.S. foreign policy.

 

April 30, 2013

Consultation with the U.S. Department of State

A discussion with the CSWG to include civil society voices in a Department of State response to the UN Secretary General’s Report on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SVC), released March 14, 2013.

 

April 16, 2013

Consultation with the European External Action Service

A discussion to share lessons learned on U.S. NAP implementation as well as on the ground experience from civil society organizations working in transitioning countries such as Syria and Egypt.

 

January 30, 2013

Partners in Peace and Security: A Panel Discussion on the First Anniversary of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security: Progress and challenges

An expert panel with representatives of the CSWG, the U.S. Department of State, USAID, the National Security Council and the U.S. Department of Defense met to celebrate the accomplishment of the U.S. National Action Plan, discuss potential challenges moving forward, and to honor the work of Ambassador Melanne Verveer. 24 representative organizations from the CSWG were featured in a knowledge and resource fair.

 

January 29, 2013

Religion, Women, Peace and Security Discussion with Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook and The U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security

Representatives from the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom, USIP’s Center for Gender and Peacebuilding, and USIP’s Religion and Peacemaking Center met to discuss the impact of religious freedom on the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.

2012

December 20, 2012

NAP Anniversary Event Planning: Meeting with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and the U.S. Civil Society Working Group

The CSWG met with representatives from the U.S. Department of State and USAID to discuss the potential for combined events especially regarding the one year anniversary of the U.S. National Action Plan and honoring the departure of Amb. Melanne Verveer from the U.S. Department of State Office of Global Women’s Issues.

 

December 19, 2012

CSWG Release of 1 year Anniversary of U.S. NAP Document

 

November 28, 2012

U.S. Civil Society Working Group Strategic Planning Session #2

 

November 28, 2012

Women Leaders Promoting Peace and Security Consultation with African Representatives from the International Visitors Leadership Program

The CSWG met with representatives from 11 African countries as well as Paris and Haiti to discuss lessons learned from NAP implementation worldwide.

 

November 5, 2012

Roundtable Discussion with the U.S. Department of State and NATO

Lynette Behnke (U.S. Department of State), LTC Jesus Gil Ruiz (NATO), and Mari Skåre (NATO Special Representative on Women, Peace, and Security) met with members of the CSWG to discuss lessons learned and recommendations on indicators and assessing impact of WPS efforts

 

October 18, 2012

U.S. Civil Society Working Group Strategic Planning Session #1

 

October 18, 2012

Consultation with Representatives from NATO and the U.S. Department of State

The CSWG met with Lori Alemanno-Testa and Jacqueline Borsboom, of NATO, and Jamille Bigio from the U.S. Department of State to discuss lessons learned and recommendations on indicators and assessing impact of WPS efforts.

 

October 10, 2012

Pakistani International Visitors Consultation

The CSWG met with representatives Pakistan to discuss lessons learned from NAP implementation worldwide.

 

August 13, 2012

The U.S. Department of State Releases Their U.S. NAP Implementation Plan

 

August 13, 2012

USAID Releases Their U.S. NAP Implementation Plan

 

May 24, 2012

U.S. Department of State Consultation with the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace & Security

The CSWG met with representatives from the U.S. Department of State to discuss their department-wide U.S. NAP implementation plan.          

 

May 2, 2012

U.S. Department of Defense Consultation with the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on the U.S. National Action Plan

Members of the CSWG and representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense discussed the status of the Department of Defense’s U.S. NAP implementation plan. Topics such as Sexual Assault and Prevention within the services, Contractors & FAR/DFARS, Security Cooperation, and Next Steps were addressed.

 

April 12, 2012

U.S. Department of State Consultation with the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on the Women, Peace, and Security

Representatives from the U.S. Department of State met with the CSWG to discuss the Protection Pillar of NAP as well as how to create a space to look more broadly at issues of GBV in countries not affected by conflict or not covered under the NAP. Also discussed at this meeting was a process by which to communicate with Civil Society organizations and the importance of including their inputs as well as the importance of communication with other key U.S. Government agencies.

 

April 9, 2012

Discussion of the U.S. Efforts to Advance Women's Rights Abroad

The CSWG met with Amb. Melanne Verveer to discuss the issue of women’s rights abroad.

 

February 14, 2012

CSWG Releases Recommendations on the U.S. NAP

The CSWG proposes 10 recommended actions to be completed within the first 150 days of U.S. NAP implementation.

2011

December 19, 2011

U.S. National Action Plan on women, Peace and Security Launch Announced

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announces the launch of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

 

December 19, 2011

Executive Order Signed

President Obama signs an executive order that establishes women, peace and security as U.S. Policy.

 

November 28, 2011

CSWG Expert Statement Released

CSWG releases statement which aims to assist the U.S. Government in turning policy into action and to engender effective outcomes that bring peace, security and dignity to the lives of women and men in conflict settings.

 

November 4, 2011

CSWG Consultation with Robert Dresen of the Dutch Embassy

The CSWG met with Robert Dresen of the Dutch Embassy to discuss the role of the civil society in the Dutch National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

 

May 5-6, 2011

Women & War Symposium

USIP and CSWG members host an international symposium on the next decade of UNSCR 1325.

 

February 15, 2011

Memorandum to U.S. Government Agencies Involved in Drafting the U.S. NAP

This memorandum outlines four recommended benchmarks against which actions could be evaluated: gender analysis, inclusion, resources, and accountability.

 

January 2011

UNSCR 1325 Tutorial

Based on Civil Society Working Group inputs, USIP develops an introductory web-based tutorial which offers overview of the UN Security Council 1325 on women, peace and security.

 

January 2011

Meeting of the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security

The U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (CSWG) formulates the February 2011 memorandum with four benchmarks to USG agencies involved in drafting the U.S. National Action Plan.

2010

December 10, 2010

USAID and Mainstreaming Gender: A Discussion with Civil Society Leaders

 

November 3-5, 2010

Women and War Conference

USIP, Civil Society members, USAID, the U.S. Department of State, and the World Bank hosted a three day event focused on women, peace and security. It featured an extraordinary coalition of national and international participants.

 

October 26, 2010

Announcement of the U.S. National Action Plan (NAP)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

 

July 27, 2010

Women, Peace and Security: Fulfilling the Vision of 1325

Members of civil society (IIS, WIIS, ICAN) hosted a working meeting to discuss the ten year anniversary of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325. The U.S. Department of State, USAID, and 20 countries were represented.