Fostering peace and security – through women’s empowerment and regional cooperation

We consider that more women in peace, security and justice processes, particularly in decision making and formal negotiating tables can result in more durable peace, stability and prosperity. Our goal is ensuring women’s political and peacebuilding empowerment, women’s equal participation in peace, security, justice processes and institutions and consolidating peace, stability, reconciliation, and prosperity in the post-conflict region of the Western Balkans and beyond.

The dramatic underrepresentation in peace making and peacebuilding, in security and justice, in peace processes and formal peace negotiations cannot be tolerated any longer, this especially 20 years after the adoption of the resolution 1325. While recognizing achievements we think they are from what should have been.

We support peacebuilding with women at the heart of the leadership and equal in decisions on peace and future. We organize international conferences and roundtables on advancing Women, Peace, and Security agenda in post-conflict setting of our region of Western Balkans. The conferences/raoundtables look for new ideas and strategies that will shorten the road to gender equality, peace, stability, reconciliation and European and Euro-Atlantic integration for the Western Balkans countries. Expected result of the events are regional mutual reinforcement and networking among women, common statements and sets of actionable recommendations on advancing peacebuilding and women’s equal participation in political decision making, peacebuilding and formal negotiating tables, as well as, full gender equality in all other spheres of life, politics, justice, economy, security, social affairs and issues of transitional justice which remain largely unaddressed, particularly about rape of women in last wars and conflicts in Balkans during the process of disintegration of former Yugoslavia, which should bring restored dignity and support for victims and punishment for perpetrators.

Our main concerns relate to unsustainability and fragility of peace, stability and prosperity in the region which also affects gender equality agenda, once again displayed in a way as how this pandemic COVID19 worsened gender inequality and weakened the process of women’s empowerment. The Western Balkan continue to face not only interethnic tensions and pending bilateral issues but also new security challenges posed by geopolitical ambitions of non-western countries, immigration fluxes or violent extremism, which does not allow to consolidate peace and preserve the previous achievements. Balkans remain faced with an unfinished peace, slow reconciliation, fragile democracy, weak economy, fragile security and justice, corruption, unemployment. The issue of brain drain is affecting the entire region, which is a loss of capacities making it difficult to plan and work for development and prosperity. Inequalities continue in many respects and especially worrisome is gender inequality. Moreover, delays in European and Euro-Atlantic integration of all six Western Balkan countries have put the region in crossroad.

We invest in peace and reconciliation through striving to break inter-ethnic mistrust and building long term relationships of trust between individuals and ethnic communities. Our approach is ‘bottom–up’ through local, national and regional peacebuilding and community building projects focused in all seven focus countries in the region.

We support peace processes and lobby for women’s equal participation at all levels, particularly at formal in peace negotiating tables and for gender inclusive outcome. We have been supporting the Brussels Dialogue on normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia facilitated by EU and supported by US, since its start in 2011 as well as others including Prespa Agreement on name dispute between Macedonia and Greece (2019), the Vienna Status talks on Kosovo (2005-2006). Our mission will continue in support international peace processes, the Brussels Dialogue on normalization of neighborly relations between Kosovo and Serbia, the Washington Agreement on Economic normalization (4 September 2020), while we call for Euro-Atlantic mediation of the final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia contributing to lasting peace and stability in the region.

The RWLSEE Regional Dialogue between women politicians and parliamentarians from Kosovo and Serbia and region in support of the Brussels Dialogue, is taking place for many years. We attach relevance to implementation of peace agreements. In this regard, strategic dialogues will continue between women representatives of different communities in the Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo, to build the confidence and increase the understanding and women’s role in the EU facilitated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia (Brussels Dialogue) with participation of Ms. Edita Tahiri, RWLSEE Chair, Former Kosovo Chief Negotiator.

Our last international conference in November 2019 focused on the “Regional review of the Beijing Platform+25” of achievements and challenges in the post conflict setting in the Western Balkans”, organized by the RWLSEE and UN Women with support of the Swedish Government”. The forthcoming one will address the “WPS Agenda and COVID-19 in the Western Balkans, in light of 1325 beyond 2020”  

Results and recommendations produced through inclusive multi-stakeholder dialogue meetings and international conferences, are disseminated to relevant institutions of national, local and international levels for influencing more effective laws, policies and other peacebuilding and state building initiatives at the national and regional levels. Our efforts in partnership with national and regional and international peacebuilding institutions have contributed significantly to the long-term development of peace-oriented societies by introducing legitimate process and institutions for effective conflict management.

For more, see our Events.