Leaders from world governments, the United Nations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) concluded a three-day meeting on “The Impact of Conflict on Women and Girls,” finding that addressing women’s needs must be incorporated into any global response to post-conflict situations. The meeting, organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), also found that protecting women’s rights should become a standard priority. Participants focused on issuing a set of recommendations to ensure that peace-building efforts include provisions for meeting reproductive health needs, combating gender-based violence, and supporting local women’s NGOs. Some of the proposed steps included giving space for reproductive health equipment and supplies on relief convoys, increasing the representation of women in security and police forces, the creation of special police units on gender-based violence, and improving coordination between international agencies and local NGOs. Participants also recommended that the United Nations appoint gender advisers for each peacekeeping operation and increase women’s participation at every level of individual missions.
Women’s NGOs were highly regarded in the meeting as participants acknowledged that these NGOs “with their strong community ties and flexibility, are uniquely positioned to carry forward a more gender-sensitive approach to providing services in conflict and post-conflict situations.” The meeting emphasized the need for the UNFPA as well as other organizations to work even more closely with women-led NGOs and to increase their funding. A UNFPA representative assured the public that these recommendations would be incorporated into all efforts in Afghanistan.