Agenda Women, Peace and Security in Morocco: efforts to consolidate womens leadership

By Fatima Lahnait* — Senior Associate Fellow Timbuktu Institute

The United Nations is preparing to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda adopted on 31 October 2000.

This resolution marks a milestone in the history of international relations in promoting women‘s leadership in the areas of peace and security. Has the Kingdom of Morocco put in place the necessary measures within the framework of this Agenda? Lighting.

Fragile advancements
Since 2005, UN Member States have implemented the principles of Resolution 1325 by developing national action plans (NAPs), lasting three or five years. They work to promote and consolidate efforts to promote women’
s leadership in the areas of peace and security by highlighting them in national and international contexts.

This NAP process helps countries identify their priorities in this area, define action plans and resources.

The Moroccan authorities have launched and participated, for several years, in many initiatives, notably through the network of focal points on the theme ‘Women, Peace and Security’, and the training of religious leaders (preachers and preachers, imams) from African and European countries. Morocco is among the few Arab countries, together with Jordan, to train women preachers so that they can explain the religious word to other women, who in turn will be able to speak enlightened on religious issues to their children and families. This is an excellent initiative to combat obscurantism that goes hand in hand with ignorance.

Aware of the importance of integrating the gender dimension as a component of peace initiatives, Morocco officially committed on 26 June 2019, at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAEC), to launch the process of drawing up its first National Action Plan 2020-2022 on the theme ‘Women, Peace and Security’ (FPS), for the implementation of implementation of resolution 1325 [1].

An Interdepartmental Steering Committee has been established under the supervision of the IATF. The work of this committee was divided between a task force responsible for drafting the NAP and a think tank involving civil society.

The design of the plan was to be carried out in collaboration with relevant ministerial departments, United Nations agencies and civil society organizations working to combat domestic violence, patriarchal norms and promote equality.

The aim is to consolidate efforts to promote women‘s leadership (parity is enshrined in the Constitution) in the areas of peace and security, by supporting their visibility at the national and international levels, and to strengthen the empowerment of women and girls (the best way to guaranteeequal rights).

The presentation of the National Action Plan in 2020 was to coincide with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and, above all, with the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 in October 2020. Unfortunately, this Moroccan NAP is still waiting, although it should be pointed out that Morocco has not waited to adopt such a plan to carry out many actions on the ground.

This is not the only one: as of 31 August 2020, only 86 UN Member States have UNSC 1325 National Action Plans [2]. The implementation of the agenda of resolution 1325 relies on volunteerism, which can only be regretted.

Nearly 50% of African Union states have adopted NAPs in order, in particular, to integrate women into peace processes, with West Africa distinguishing itself with thirteen of its fifteen member states having adopted a NAP.

Women, Peace and Security Agenda: What is it all about?
UN Security Council Resolution 1325 ‘
Women, Peace and Security‘, adopted on 31 October 2000, is the first to recognize and want to strengthen women’s primary role in building peace. It underlines the link between gender inequality and fragility, as well as between women‘s security and international security.

The Security Council made the following observations:

— Gender inequality contributes to instability, insecurity andviolent extremism

— Sustainable and sustainable peace requires the participation of all members of society, including women.

On the basis of this, the Security Council has defined three main objectives in its SPF agenda (sometimes labelled programme), which encourages the inclusion and implementation of a gender approach in the development of any policy:

the Protection of Women from Violence in Conflict,
promote and ensure the participation of women in conflict prevention and resolution
work for the consolidation of peace and recovery (of society).

Women’s participation in decision-making, including political decision-making, cannot be interpreted as a favour granted to them. Such participation must become a norm, as it is an essential condition for achieving equality of power‘, social cohesion, sustainable peace and security.

Nine other resolutions, between 2000 and 2019, reinforced the CSR1325, notably to remind us that women’s bodies are neither a battlefield, nor a sexual object, nor a punching ball!

What are the obstacles and challenges to be overcome?
It must be acknowledged that political setbacks, lack of investment in women‘s rights organizations and, as Antonio Guterres — Secretary General of the United Nations — recalled on 8 October 2020, ‘deep-rooted mentalities and male domination ‘are slowing progress in this area [3].

In North Africa, there is a lack of awareness of the WPS agenda, as Tunisia is the first – and only – country in the region to have adopted, in August 2018, a NAP on Resolution 1325 (the culmination of its policy to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5: gender equality). Morocco must formalise in a NAP the strategy and action plan it is already carrying out on the ground.

As early as January 2019, the UN Security Council, concerned about the lack of progress on the WPS agenda in the Middle East and North Africa, organized a Security Council meeting entitled Next Steps for Women, Peace and Security in the Middle East and North Africa: the Potential of National Action Plans.

The aim of the meeting was to encourage Member States to develop strategies to integrate the WPS programme into their security and development plans.

In some countries, the obstacles lie in the lack of genuine political will and leadership’s lack of interest in women‘s rights to prioritize women’s rights and implement the NAP of resolution 1325. In Morocco, King Mohammed VI has placed the cause of women among the priorities of institutional reforms.

However, the implementation of the NAPs requires substantial budgets which most States do not have. Of the 84 NAPs registered at 31 December 2019, only 28 (33%) include a budget allocated to implementation [4]. In the face of projects that are stopping due to lack of resources and interest, it is up to civil society to mobilize and put them back on the agenda and fight them.

In Morocco, as elsewhere, as long as women are the target of violence and harassment, they will not be able to participate fully in civil and political life. It is therefore necessary to strengthen the capacities of women (many already have them and are only asking to exploit them!), invest in education, change standards in society, raise awareness and… above all involve men more! Only on this condition will the equality of men and women enshrined in the Moroccan Constitution be fully realized.

*Fatima Lahnait, author of the book Pasionarias, which portrays armed political activists.