Updated: Mar 25, 2021
A new financing mechanism to accelerate women’s influence and participation in peace processes was launched by the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund on 10 September. The fund’s Rapid Response Window (RRW) on Women’s Participation in Peace Processes and the Implementation of Peace Agreements aims to address funding gaps obstructing efforts of women peacebuilders and women’s civil society organizations to effectively influence and participate in peace processes. Ghita el Khyari, head of the secretariat for the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, says through the new funding mechanism, the fund will mobilize and rapidly channel urgently-needed financing for strategic, short-term civil society-led initiatives. She says this will enhance women’s influence and meaningful participation in various stages of peace processes in every region of the world. “As we approach the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 next month, against the backdrop of the deadliest global pandemic of our generation, women's contributions to peace processes are more urgent than ever. The fund’s RRW has two funding streams of Direct Support or Short-Term Grants (currently closed),” says el Khyari. According to el Khyari, with Direct Support funding, the RRW finances an activity or service directly to ensure access and influence, while Short-Term Grants are for projects that address barriers to women’s influence and participation in peace processes and implementation of peace agreements. She says the Direct Support funding stream is open for applications on the fund’s global website in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. There is no application deadline for funding proposals which are accepted on a rolling basis and civil society organizations from all Official Development Assistance eligible countries are qualified to apply. The Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund has taken a participatory approach to establishing the RRW through a series of consultations with women peacebuilders and diverse stakeholders and experts. El Khyari says these consultations have ensured the RRW does not duplicate the critical work of United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organizations, but rather fulfills an essential function of responding to alarming funding gaps. She says these gaps continue to constitute barriers to women’s access to and influence over peace processes and their effective implementation. “The establishment of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund RRW was a recommendation of the UN Secretary-General in his October 2019 annual report on women, peace and security. It has been made possible with the generous support of the governments of Austria, Canada and Norway,” says the secretariat.