HD is engaged in conflict resolution through dialogue and mediation in many conflicts across Asia, Africa, Eurasia and the Middle East. It works in a practical and pragmatic manner to mediate directly or support other mediators. This wide array of projects provides HD with a unique opportunity to work on inclusion in mediation processes.
It has been 18 years since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000, the first of multiple UN Security Council resolutions promoting women’s participation in conflict resolution, prevention, peace building and post-conflict reconstruction. Despite an exponential growth in the number of organisations working on Women, Peace and Security and the establishment of this field as an area of study and vibrant global activism, women are still largely excluded from formal peace processes. Similarly civil society and other non-armed stakeholders who are directly affected by conflict are not adequately heard.
Over the last ten years, HD has developed significant expertise on designing and implementing inclusive strategies in peace processes building on its capacity to work with a diverse group of actors. HD has pursued activities aiming to strengthen the contribution of women, youth and civil society in several countries, including: Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, Mali and the broader Sahel region, Burundi, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Mozambique, Senegal, Myanmar and the Philippines. HD has added impetus to its efforts to promote inclusion across its operations by establishing an in-house team of inclusion advisers.
In addition to its operational efforts, HD carries out policy work and has implemented the ‘Women at the Peace Table in Asia and Africa’ initiative, which has brought together high-level female mediators, negotiators and advisers to identify strategies for improving women’s participation in peace processes.
HD works pragmatically to expand the space for inclusion in the peace processes it supports. Building on its capacity to work with diverse groups of actors, and taking advantage of its niche as a private organisation with access to high-level dialogue tracks, HD’s looks for strategic openings to ensure meaningful contribution irrespective of track and the integration of inclusion considerations in all aspects of process design.
The participation of women and civil society however brings significant benefits to peace processes. It offers analysis and perspectives that would otherwise not be available to HD and other mediators. It is often through consultations with women and civil society actors that innovative ideas can emerge and inform subsequent project design. Inclusion is also a way for HD to diversify its network of national actors, who have the ability to operate across the conflict’s main dividing lines and encourage dialogue among parties.
Inclusion work can take many forms depending on the peace process and the political space available for the participation of women, civil society and youth. Activities may include: mapping relevant actors, networking and consultations among women’s groups, capacity building, providing women and civil society with access to decision-makers (notably by linking them with armed groups), organizing dialogues among these groups, offering opportunities to network and form coalitions, and indirect support through cooperation with inclusion-minded international partners. At the policy level, HD draws lessons from our experiences and shares them with partners in order to inform global thinking on women, peace and security.
HD uses its unique position to share and promote the latest thinking on inclusion and offers peacemakers practical recommendations for involving all those who have a stake in the process. Publications such as Broadening participation in peace processes: dilemmas and options for mediators weigh up the benefits of including a whole range of stakeholders while From clause to effect: including women’s rights and gender in peace agreements specifically focuses on increasing consideration of the needs of women.
HD would like to thank the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Irish Aid) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Principality of Liechtenstein for its support to HD’s inclusion work.