PeaceRep welcomes a new report from UN Women examining women’s roles in local mediation in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. The report draws on research and analysis from a PA-X Spotlight report on local peace processes.
Read the PA-X report: Local Peace Processes: Opportunities and Challenges for Women’s Engagement
UN Women’s new report explores the vital roles women play in mediating local conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. The report aims to map entry points, techniques, key themes, and outcomes of women’s mediation in order to enhance understanding of this work, with the ultimate aim of better supporting the role of women in mediation and strengthening prospects for peace.
In setting out key terms, the report draws on analysis from our research on local peace processes. The report defines ‘local mediation’ as “referring to community-level mediation efforts that have limited territorial scope, are mediated by someone from that community, and address disputes that concern that community” (pp. 8) – a definition informed by the PA-X Spotlight report, Local Peace Processes: Opportunities and Challenges for Women’s Engagement, based on the PA-X Gender and PA-X Local Peace Agreements databases. The authors also acknowledge the importance of defining terms, as “the way we talk about mediation determines how visible women are and how their contributions are valued” (pp. 7).
The report concludes with a list of key findings and recommendations for supporting women mediators.
About the UN Women report
Largely excluded from formal mediation roles, women across conflict-affected countries in the Arab region have been instrumental in diffusing tensions and mediating conflicts in their own communities. UN Women’s new report “Women’s Participation in Local Mediation: Lessons from Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen”sheds light on the diverse mediation roles women have played to resolve conflict and restore social cohesion in their communities. Drawing on various case studies from the four conflict-affected countries, the report demonstrates how women have mediated ceasefires and a halt to violations against civilians, brokered the release of political prisoners, prevented and resolved tribal conflicts and engaged in cross-line negotiations to secure access to water and other vital resources. Yet, their contributions to peace go largely unrecognized. The invisibility and marginalization of women’s efforts means their work is less documented and understood, posing a challenge for those wishing to support them. The report makes a series of recommendations to support women’s local mediation while stressing the importance of understanding the local contexts where women mediators operate and providing assistance in a way that ensures their safety and security.
About the PA-X Spotlight report
Read the PA-X Spotlight report by Laura Wise, Robert Forster, and Christine Bell: Local Peace Processes: Opportunities and Challenges for Women’s Engagement. This report addresses the questions:
- When and how do local peace processes and agreements address conflict?
- What are the opportunities and challenges for women and gender-equality advocates seeking to meaningfully engage with local peace processes?
About the PA-X Peace Agreements Database
The PA-X Peace Agreement Database (www.peaceagreements.org) is a database and repository of peace agreements from 1990 to date, current up until April 2022. PA-X provides a comprehensive dataset of peace agreements, capable of underpinning both quantitative and qualitative research. PA-X has been designed to provide easy access to peace agreement texts and to allow users to explore patterns of agreements over time, both within processes and across processes.
PA-X also includes a suite of data visualisations that enable exploration of the data across time, space, and issues.
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Image: Shatha Altowai