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Starting with resolution 1325 in 2000, the eight WPS Security Council resolutions have established an architecture that works to define how the Council considers the elements of the WPS agenda in its daily work.

Key messages

  • Over the past fifteen years, the breadth and quantity of women, peace and security language used by the Council has greatly increased. However, actual implementation of these mandates has been uneven.
  • The majority of the Security Council’s work on women, peace and security has focused on protection of women and girls rather than prevention or effective participation.
  • The Council's implementation of the WPS agenda would be improved with dedicated high-level leadership on women, peace and security, as well as more consistent and accountable information flow from across the UN gender architecture.

Facts and figures

  • In 2010, only 15.8 percent of all resolutions in the previous decade contained women and/or gender references. This has increased to almost 30 percent in 2015.
  • Of the currently 16 United Nations sanctions regimes, five have human rights and sexual violence related designation criteria. Out of more than 1,000 listings in these sanctions regimes, 15 individuals and four entities have been designated based on these criteria.

Key recommendations

  • Establish an informal expert group on women, peace and security in the Security Council to deal with both the protection and participation aspects of the agenda in country-specific situations.
  • Allow for more frequent briefings by civil society, relevant SRSGs, UN Women, and the Human Rights Council-established Commissions of Inquiry and fact-finding missions.
  • Ensure stronger integration of women’s rights violations and gender expertise in sanctions regimes (e.g. inclusion of experts in monitoring bodies, inclusion of gross women’s rights violations in listing and delisting criteria).


  • Establish an informal expert group to maximize information, monitoring and support capacity from the UN system as a whole. Initially the group should be focused on 3-4 countries. This would allow for a comprehensive and targeted approach to monitoring consistent implementation by the Council of resolution 2122, including ensuring that women, peace and security information is part of all briefings and reports to the Council and that questions are asked consistently of senior leaders on these issues.
  • Increase the channels for flow of information from the Human Rights Council and related bodies, including from mandate holders with conflictrelevant mandates, Commissions of Inquiry and other fact finding bodies, to provide important sources of information for Council deliberations and outcomes. More consistent approaches, including regular Arria-formula meetings between the Security Council and the Human Rights Council-established Commissions of Inquiry on countries of concern should be established.
  • Invite regular civil society briefings, including women’s organizations in particular, not only on thematic but on country-specific deliberations.
  • Ensure greater and more effective capacity for gender analysis in conflict-affected countries (see Chapter 10: Key Actors - United Nations).
  • Increase the reporting of dedicated high-level leadership within the UN system on women, peace and security from specific country contexts (see Chapter 10: Key Actors - United Nations).
  • Ensure that senior mission leadership consistently includes women, peace and security analysis in all reports and regular briefings, in line with resolution 2122.
  • Consistently incorporate a gender perspective in terms of reference for visiting missions, and give it priority at the outset of the visit.
  • Expand ownership of the women, peace and security agenda within the Council beyond one ‘penholder’ or lead, to include a co-lead role with an elected member.
  • Ensure that Council members who are also members of the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee facilitate approval of resources required to implement gender components of Council mandates.
  • Periodically request SRSGs to present on an ad hoc basis country reports on implementation of the women, peace and security mandate. This could provide opportunities for collective review, focus and action at the country level while providing the Council with more in depth and substantive information on specific context.
  • Strengthen its work in the sanctions committees by:
    • Using existing sanction regimes more effectively to enforce thematic priorities—in line with the high-level sanctions review— including women, peace and security, and consider adopting thematic sanctions regimes in addition to country-specific sanctions to 343 address global threats such as sexual violence in conflict, human trafficking, and gross violations of women’s rights.
    • Expanding the designation criteria in other relevant sanctions regimes where sexual and gender-based crimes and specific attacks against women are persistently perpetrated.
    • Calling for information-sharing between the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, UN Women as appropriate, and all relevant sanctions committees and associated expert groups.
    • Formally requiring expert groups assisting sanctions committees to include gender experts as part of the composition of such expert groups, and in line with the recommendations of the High Level Review on Sanctions, requesting the General Assembly to make additional resources available to provide the requisite technical, language and substantive skills needed to strengthen capacity of sanctions bodies and their expert groups.
    • Including respect for the rights of women as delisting criteria in sanctions regimes that target political spoilers that may eventually need to be part of a political solution.
    • Ensuring that specific information about the gendered effects of sanctions is systematically included in all reporting on the implementation of relevant sanctions regimes.