Women Negotiating Peace – International Conference on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security


19.06.2009 - 20.06.2009


Reykjavík, Iceland (view on map)

Women Negotiating Peace Conference PosterThe Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the University of Iceland was holding an international conference on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in Reykjavík,
19-20 June 2009. The conference’s main focus was put on the implementation of an important aspect of 1325: How to ensure that women are included in formal and informal peace processes. It addressed current practices in structuring peace processes as well as obstacles to women's participation. It seeked to evaluate policy options for governments, international organisations and NGOs for promoting women's participation in and ownership of peace processes and post-conflict administration.


A woman holding a babyIn conventional discourses on peace and conflict, women are generally depicted as victims of war. It is long overdue for women to be recognized as important agents in the stabilisation of societies and reconstruction towards just and sustainable peace. In order to act upon this recognition, UN member states, partner organisations and institutions need to capitalise on existing mechanisms and strive to reframe current thinking.The conference aims to challenge the conventional discourse on women as passive victims of war. It recognises that gender mainstreaming in post-conflict reconstruction is a belated attempt to fully represent women’s views in post-conflict societies. The conference goal is to advance a creative and critical approach to peace processes and women’s part in them by seeking practical solutions to the following questions: How do we ensure women’s ownership of peace processes? How do external actors mediate peace negotiations with the effective participation of women? What are the main obstacles encountered and how do we address them? Particular focus is given to UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security, adopted in 2000.





H.E. Mr. Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland and Dr. Kristín Ingólfsdóttir, Rector of the University of Iceland address an opening speach.

This first part of the conference focused on the experience of bringing women to positions of power and influence, both in peace processes and in politics generally. How can women in positions of power facilitate women’s empowerment elsewhere? Can lessons from women’s movements around the world be applied in advancing the voices of women in peace processes (and vice versa)? How can the international community empower women in conflict areas? How can UN member states commit themselves more actively to 1325?

  • Ms. Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland: Disobedience as Empowerment
  • Ms. Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women: What the UN can do better to ensure the implementation of 1325 in peace processes
  • Mr. Donald Steinberg, Deputy President for Policy, International Crisis Group and former US Ambassador to Angola: Participation, Projection and Peace: Fulfilling the Promise of UNSCR 1325

The second part of the conference explored the role of women as peacemakers. What has been achieved in making women’s voices heard in peace negotiations since the adoption of 1325? Why have women not been able to claim their rightful place at the negotiating table? What are the means available to women in contemporary peace processes? What are the main obstacles they encounter and how can they be overcome? How can men in positions of power be made conscious of the importance of women having a role in all peace processes? How can women in patriarchal societies be enabled to step out of their traditional roles and become peace mediators and negotiators? What kind of assistance is needed on the ground from the international community? What have women negotiating peace been able to achieve?

  • Ms. Samia Bamieh, Peace Activist, former Ambassador of the Palestinian Authority and former Vice-Chair of the Government Commission on the Advancement of Women: Challenges and opportunities for peace between Israel and Palestine - women´s political analysis and action
  • Ms. Naomi Chazan, Peace Activist, Professor of Political Science at Hebrew University of Jerusalem (emerita) and Head of the School of Government and Society, the Academic College of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo, Former Member of Knesset, Meretz Party, Former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset: Challenges and opportunities for peace between Israel and Palestine - women´s political analysis and action
  • Mr. Tore Toreng, Senior Adviser, Section for Peace and Reconciliation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Norway and former Ambassador of Norway to Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan: The Role of women in the Nepali peace processes – as seen by a Norwegian diplomat in Kathmandu
  • Ms. Wenny Kusuma, UNIFEM Country Programme Director, Afghanistan: Realities from the field: Challenges of implementing UNSCR1325 in the conflict of Afghanistan

The third part of the conference focused on women’s contribution to peace processes, their participation in conflict mediation and the role of NGOs. What are the shortcomings of 1325? And what about the conflicting parties? To whom are they accountable in regard to implementing 1325? How can women’s ownership in peace processes be ensured? Does the conventional discourse on women as passive victims of war stand in the way of their empowerment? How can external actors mediate peace negotiations with the effective participation of women? What is keeping women back? 

  • Ms. Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, MIT Research Affiliate and Co-Founder of the NGO International Civil Society Action Network Women for Peace: Peace for Women – The Despairs and Delights of Resolution 1325
  • Dr. Joyce Neu, Team Leader, Standby Team of Mediation Experts, United Nations and the Norwegian Refugee Fund Power politics: Women as international mediators 



  • Workshop on the upcoming 10th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 in 2010, led by Ms. Rachel Mayanja, Assistant Secretary General and Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women.
  • Workshop on Practical solutions and ideas raised at the conference – Women’s empowerment, external actors and main obstacles, led by Mr. Nikulás Hannigan, Political Director at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, and Ms. Simone Susskind, President of Actions in the Mediterranean, Member of the IWC, Doctor Honoris Causa of the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Workshop on Education as Empowerment: The Gender Equality Training Programme in Iceland, led by Ms. Irma Erlingsdóttir, Director of the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Iceland and Dr. Cheryl Hendricks, Senior Research Fellow at the Security Sector Governance Programme, Institute for Security Studies in South Africa.
  • Closing address of H.E. Mr. Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland.