Claudine Aoun Roukoz*
One of the major breakthroughs that marked the path of the National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW) in 2019 was the establishment of a National Action Plan (NAP) for an inclusive implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.
Towards the end of 2017, NCLW was entrusted by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers with the task of developing a national action plan to implement United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Determined to adopt a participatory and inclusive approach to fulfilling its new mission, NCLW formed and chaired a 1325 steering committee that included government and civil society representatives, and was tasked with developing an inclusive 1325 NAP addressing Lebanon’s priorities. Furthermore, NCLW held several rounds of consultations with key stakeholders at the local and national levels to develop measurable interventions in accordance with the strategic priorities of the NAP.
As such, working alongside UN agencies, governmental institutions and civil society organizations, NCLW drafted a 1325 NAP by reaching consensus on strategic priorities and interventions, while developing a monitoring and evaluation framework to assess the progress of the NAP.
The proposed 1325 NAP for Lebanon includes five strategic priorities that were defined and agreed upon as follows:
1- Increasing the participation of women in decision-making at all levels: in security and defense sectors, in political and public life; in the economy as well as in peace mediations and negotiations;
2- Engaging women in conflict prevention including raising awareness on human rights and tolerance;
3- Preventing sexual and gender-based violence and protecting women and girls from it through strong coordination mechanisms between different national institutions to respond effectively to gender-based violence;
4- Integrating women’s needs and perspectives in all relief and recovery efforts;
5- Amending, adopting and implementing laws and policies that will serve to advance the above priorities.
The involvement and engagement of all stakeholders and partners throughout the development process of the NAP increased national ownership of the plan along with the commitment of both government and civil society to its full implementation. Accordingly, some governmental entities proceeded with the implementation of activities within their scope of work, even before the final governmental endorsement of the plan.
However, past experiences have shown that the political will of governments remains insufficient for the proper implementation of any national action plan in the absence of financial provisions. Governments will struggle and eventually fail in their mission of fulfilling their commitment if no funds are secured for this purpose.
In light of the financial crisis that Lebanon is going through, the main challenge for the successful implementation of the 1325 NAP lies in the funding of its interventions across the five strategic priorities.
In order to overcome this challenge and provide the NAP with optimal chances of success by ensuring its timely and effective implementation, NCLW led a highly participatory process for costing the 1325 NAP in order to help the government form a comprehensive picture of its future financial commitments, and to encourage the international community to finance activities that fall within countries’ mandates and strategic plans to assist Lebanon.
This four-year NAP will undoubtably pave the way to a peaceful and stable Lebanon where peace and security are strengthened by women’s increased engagement in politics, security and defense, as well as in mediation and peace negotiations; where gender-equality is reached by providing women and men with perfectly equal rights and opportunities.
* President of The National Commission For Lebanese Women