Capacity Building: Iceland commits to fund the participation in the United Nations University Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme of at least 4 women yearly from conflict zones or post-conflict zones who work in the field of women, peace and security.
In 2019 Iceland funded the participation of a total of nine women from conflict or post-conflict zones to the United Nations University Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme (GEST). Three women from Mozambique participated through Iceland’s collaboration with UN Women on Women, Peace and Security. Three women from Palestine, two from Kosovo and one from Afghanistan all work on WPS in one way or the other.
This project has been reported to have been completed.
Participation: Increase meaningful participation of women in peace and reconstruction and commit to ensuring women are equally represented with a target of no less than 40 percent before 2020.
The Icelandic Crisis Response Unit currently seconds 14,5 positions, of which five are occupied by women working specifically on Women, Peace and Security in Turkey and Mozambique. Two men are seconded to UNRWA in Jordan where they work generally on protection, but without a specific focus on WPS. Women are still underrepresented in Iceland’s NATO deployments, where women are 32% of deployed personnel.
“Iceland’s National Action Plan on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security plays an important role in ICRU‘s work. Before deployment, all seconded personnel receive education on gender equality and the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security. In recent years, ICRU has been striving for gender balance among seconded personnel.”
While having no standing armed forces, Iceland contributes to NATO operations with financial contributions and civilian personnel. In its work within the Alliance, Iceland inter alia puts emphasis on NATO’s role in disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, including nuclear issues; the common values of the Alliance, i.e. respect for democracy, rule of law and human rights; collective defence and the importance of solidarity, the transatlantic link and the indivisibility of security. Iceland also stresses the important role of NATO in implementing Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security; the High North and supports the notion that the Alliance should continue to be open to all European Countries that share the values of the Alliance as well as fulfil its conditions for membership. https://www.government.is/diplomatic-missions/permanent-delegation-of-iceland-to-nato/iceland-and-nato/
National legislation: Raising awareness of UNSCR 1325 among Icelandic policymakers and those working on security and humanitarian issues on the field, including mainstreaming 1325 in policies and strategies such as development cooperation, humanitarian assistance, security and defence.
Although Women, Peace and Security has in the past belonged administratively within the Directorate of International and Security Affairs of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, a restructuring at the beginning of 2020 now sees this portfolio within a new Directorate for International Affairs and Development Cooperation. The WPS agenda is mainstreamed into the humanitarian affairs and development cooperation policy through a direct reference to Iceland’s current National Action Plan on WPS. Additionally, a portion of Iceland’s humanitarian funding is earmarked for WPS. Awareness raising of UNSCR 1325 is done in collaboration with UN Women in Iceland, based on a signed agreement between the parties and established practice.
Additional Reading: Iceland’s Policy for International Development Cooperation
Financial commitments: Support bilateral and multilateral funding and programmes aimed at peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction that contribute to security and assistance for women in conflict zones. This includes a 4-year project with the Government of Mozambique in partnership with UN Women and Norway and another 4-year programme with UN Women’s Regional office in Turkey to create an enabling environment for refugee women to lead and benefit in of refugee response, peace and security, migration, DRR and humanitarian action.
Update 29 January 2020: Iceland has continued its multi-year support to the two above mentioned programmes. Additionally, Iceland provided a one-off contribution of USD850,000 to a project on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Yemen (in accordance with a pledge by the Government of Iceland made in Oslo last Spring). We have also continued our long-standing contribution to two Civil Society Organisations in Palestine who i.a. provide support to women suffering domestic abuse and aid their empowerment. On last year’s International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Iceland pledged to support the ICRC’s special appeal tocombat sexual violence in armed conflict. Previously Iceland signed a multi-year framework agreement with the Red Cross in Iceland to support its humanitarian work, with a special emphasis on gender equality and women’s rights.
Gender equality and the empowerment of women are both cross-cutting and specific objectives in Iceland’s development cooperation. Further updates on WPS implementation are provided in Iceland’s Report for Beijing+25 (pgs. 67-70)