Otito Greg-Obi Elected to Executive Committee of U.S Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security
by Caroline Roddey*
On May 20, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Gender Program Coordinator Otito Greg-Obi was elected to the 2019-20 Executive Committee of the United States (U.S) Civil Society Working Group (CSWG) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on WPS promotes women’s participation in conflict management and resolution and addresses the disproportionate impacts of war on women. United Nations members have integrated National Action Plans (NAPs) to implement the WPS agenda, which emphasizes four pillars: participation, protection, relief and recovery.
The CSWG is a nonpartisan, collaborative network of civil society organizations that provides technical assistance to U.S. governmental agencies seeking to integrate the WPS agenda into national security efforts. Since its establishment, the working group has hosted over 30 public events, published a series of policy briefs and conducted off-the-record consultations with civil servants and policymakers to ensure the incorporation of the agenda into legislation and national policies. In 2011, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that instituted the U.S. NAP on WPS, making the agenda an official part of U.S. national policy.
The CSWG works to strengthen relationships between the U.S. government and relevant civil society actors, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders. The Executive Committee is responsible for a number of operational duties, including outreach to the U.S. government and external organizations, oversight of all new CSWG membership applications, proposals for potential funding opportunities or consultations for the larger membership’s approval, and the planning and execution of CSWG workshops, meetings and events. Through these duties, the committee monitors and evaluates progress toward the CSWG’s strategic goals.
IFES has long been dedicated to advancing the WPS agenda through numerous forms of engagement. In cooperation with the office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), IFES hosted a yearlong briefing series on Capitol Hill to highlight the issues that the CSWG seeks to address. Briefing topics included women at the peace table, engagement of male allies, women in the military and the mitigation of violence against women in crises and political transitions. In 2018, IFES Gender Adviser Dr. Gabrielle Bardall co-authored a policy brief for the CSWG, “Violence Against Women in Politics: A Barrier to Peace and Security,” to underline the critical need to apply the WPS agenda beyond the negotiation table into democratization processes and to address the barrier violence poses to women in democracy processes.
*Caroline Roddey is a gender program intern at IFES.