Slogans or Evidence-Based Decisionmaking? The Knowledge Foundation of the UN’s Women, Peace, and Security Agenda


Location: C103, Hesburgh Center for International Studies

Olsson Photo: OSCE

Louise Olsson

Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and a former Senior Advisor on Women, Peace, and Security at the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), Sweden

In 2020, the first thematic United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Over the last two decades, this theme has grown into an encompassing agenda. In spring 2019, the UN adopted its ninth WPS resolution.

However, while the policy agenda grows, efforts for actual implementation have been much more limited. Arguments used to motivate the importance of more action include "women and children are the most vulnerable during war," "more women, more peace," "gender provisions result in a more durable peace," and "rape is a weapon of war." 

While policymakers and researchers agree that these phrases seek to address serious problems, research is growing increasingly hesitant regarding the accuracy of the arguments used. It has also highlighted that misconceptions and oversimplifications can negatively affect the ability to come to terms with women's insecurity and lack of participation. On a more hopeful note, knowledge is currently growing quickly and there is increased policy demand for evidence-based research. This provides us with new opportunities to formulate sharper arguments and more effective implementation strategies. Reflecting on existing policy claims in light of current research, this talk suggests ways in which a closer cooperation between policy and research can help us identify constructive paths forward after 2020.