As Kvinna till Kvinna we are constantly trying to influence policies related to gender equality, women’s rights and peace and security. Moreover, we are finding it important to monitor actors, such as the European Union, to see if they are acting in line with their obligations.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend an expert workshop in Brussels to discuss EU’s role in promoting women, peace and security. The meeting was organized by the umbrella organization European Peacebuilding Liaison Office, EPLO, where Kvinna till Kvinna is a member. The purpose was to bring EU officials and civil society together to make an evaluation of the EU indicators on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and 1820, and to track the progress made since 2011.
Since I am working in Kosovo I was particularly keen to present some of our recent experiences from Kosovo. The EU is a heavy actor in Kosovo; through its member states’ presence, the European Commission delegation and the EU Rule of Law Mission to Kosovo, EULEX. Heavy actor doesn’t always mean solid results though.
Let me share one example I raised. The core of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is about recognizing women as actors in peace processes and to include them at the earliest possible stage in peace negotiations.
Recently, the EU has facilitated a dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, which has resulted in an agreement for the normalisation of relations. The EU high representative Catherine Ashton herself led the process and brought the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia to the table.
Based on the resolution 1325 one would assume that EU would take the chance to lead by example and ensure that women could influence the dialogue. But guess what? There was no woman included in the Serbian delegation and no consultations were held with civil society or women’s organizations from any of the countries. Indeed, Ms Ashton is a woman, but having her leading the dialogue is not the same as including or even consulting the women from the grassroots level in the countries affected by the agreement. And it is exactly because an EU representative is leading the dialogue that it is disappointing that women were excluded from the process. It is a pity to lose such an opportunity. EU, you can do better!
Lina Andéer, Field Representative Kosovo