Women, Peace, and Security Mandates for UN Peacekeeping Operations: Assessing Influence and Impact

Peacekeeping mission mandates now routinely include language on women, peace, and security (WPS). Despite this progress, negotiations in the Security Council on the inclusion of WPS language in mandates have at times been contested, and it is not always clear that more detailed or “stronger” language on WPS in mandates translates to changes in peacekeeping missions. The language included in mandates can even perpetuate stereotypes, including the assumption that every uniformed woman is responsible for implementing a mission’s WPS mandate.

This paper explores the different elements of the WPS agenda that are included in peacekeeping mandates, assesses the factors that influence the inclusion of language on WPS, examines the drivers behind the implementation of the WPS agenda in the field, and assesses the impact that mandate language has on uniformed women peacekeepers. It concludes by considering how the Security Council and other stakeholders could advance the WPS agenda through mission mandates, including by:

  • Proposing WPS language early in the Security Council’s mandating process;
  • Facilitating engagement between country experts and WPS experts in member states’ permanent missions to the UN;
  • Using informal consultations to understand the needs of women affected by conflict;
  • Including language in mandates that reflects the contributions of both women and men to operational effectiveness; and
  • Ensuring that approaches to WPS in the Security Council consider the full spectrum of gender.