The United Nations Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and women's participation in peace processes are strongly supported by states. Yet financing to support the implementation of WPS has lagged behind overt international commitments to the agenda. The 2015 Global Study on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 highlighted a ‘persistent failure to adequately finance the WPS agenda’.Footnote 1 The study recommended that states, regional organisations, and agencies within the UN system allocate at least 15 per cent of all funding relating to peace and security for programmes addressing women's specific needs and advancing gender equality.Footnote 2 International financial institutions (IFIs) have adopted institutional mandates to promote gender-inclusive global development agendas and to prevent situations of ‘fragility, conflict and violence’ (FCV),Footnote 3 but without necessarily meeting this target.Footnote 4 Transnational feminist networks and WPS scholars have highlighted the funding shortfalls for enabling WPS implementation and the achievement of gender equality goals.Footnote 5 Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's (WILPF) #movethemoney campaign brought attention, moreover, to the mismatch between investment in global military expenditure (US $1.6 trillion) and 4 per cent (US $4.6 billion) spent on gender equality as a principal objective.Footnote 6
UN Women has highlighted the continued under-investment in gender-inclusive peace in conflict and postconflict settings and the significant gaps in financing that make the implementation of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) commitments much more difficult.Footnote 7 Gender-inclusive peace is qualitatively defined as ‘the combination and result of “sensitive” and “responsive” approaches that enable and enhance women's, men's, boys, girls, and sexual and gender minorities, equal representation and participation in decision-making processes’.Footnote 8 ‘Sensitive’ refers to the awareness of gender inequalities, differences, and issues affecting women, men, boys, girls, and sexual and gender minorities, and taking these concerns into account within a formal agreement, policy, project, programme, theory of change, or statement. ‘Responsive’ refers to the operational and practical capacity to address gender inequalities, exclusions, and differences affecting women, men, boys, girls, and people of diverse gender and sexual identities through action or implementation efforts that are feasible, monitored, and evaluated. Peace processes are widely regarded as gender-inclusive when there are efforts to ground them in women's analysis and experience as, for example, in the case of Colombia.Footnote 9 On this basis, laws and policies are reformed with gender-sensitive principles and to back these efforts with budgeting and implementation plans that are gender-responsive.Footnote 10 We know that when women's representation and gender issues are included in a peace process, the likelihood that peace will last beyond 15 years increases threefold.Footnote 11 Building back better after conflict requires the participation of women across all levels of peace process and implementation, including gender provisions in the peace agreement to ensure women's participation, women's rights, security, and access to resources.Footnote 12 However, little is known about the patterns of financial investment necessary to support the actual achievement of women's representation and gender equality provisions in postconflict, or fragile, countries. The international community rhetorically endorses women's active participation in conflict resolution and peace agreements that address gender inequality. Financing gender-inclusive peace is a crucial first step towards this implementation,Footnote 13 but how much are donor states, the UN, and IFIs financially backing the implementation of gender-inclusive peace agreements that they promote?
In this article we examine the relationship between aspiration and actuality in the financing of gender-inclusive peace agreements. We ask, to what extent donor funding has contributed to the implementation of these provisions? There is a dearth of knowledge and data on financing for WPS and specifically for implementing peace agreements commitments to gender equality and women's rights. We argue that ‘following the money’, by researching the financing of peace agreement commitments to gender equality, is vital to assessing gaps in the implementation of the WPS agenda. Resourcing as well as implementation plans are required to realise the goals of the WPS to promote women's rights and participation in postconflict transitions. We seek to find out what happens to the pledges and promises from donor conferences, peace agreements, and postconflict planning frameworks when it comes to allocating and spending resources on these issues. Specifically, we measure financing for gender-inclusive peace through the mechanisms of bilateral and multilateral donor investments during peace processes and postconflict recovery, which support states to finance and sustain peace.
The article is structured as follows: First, we review the scholarship on policy implementation, and women's rights and participation in postconflict transitions, in order to understand how successful WPS implementation happens or not following the broad acceptance of a normative and policy framework. Second, we map the current international policy options identified by donors to fund women's participation and gender inclusion in peace agreements in a fourfold typology adapted from public policy studies. This typology reveals the perceived risk that donors attach to investment in gender inclusion in peace agreement, which the WPS literature argues is a necessary first step to support women's representation and implement gender provisions in peace agreements. Third, with this conceptual lens we develop a methodology for deeper empirical analysis of financing gaps that may lead to limited WPS implementation and use it to trace the four sources of international financing allocated during and after the signing of two recent peace agreements noted for their progressive and comprehensive gender provisions, the 2016 Colombia Peace Agreement and the 2014 Philippines Comprehensive Agreement for Bangsamoro. Fourth, we analyse the findings of this exercise showing that in both cases there is a drastic gap between the international donor rhetoric and the funding. We identify patterns of donor money that neither follow nor support the life cycles of gender inclusion in both cases. In the final part of the article we return to the WPS policy typology to understand these financing gaps for implementing gender-inclusive provisions of peace agreements.
1. Theorising implementation
International norms shared by states and (sometimes) non-state actors can range from fundamental values, as exemplified by the statement that ‘women's rights are human rights’; to organising principles, such as the Women, Peace and Security agenda; or standardised policies and procedures, for instance those relating to the documentation of sexual violence in conflict, inter alia.Footnote 14 Support for such international norms is reflected in national and international policies, laws, treaties, or agreements.Footnote 15 International Relations (IR) scholars have largely focused on fundamental norms and organising principles while public policy scholars have attended to standardised policies and procedures. They ask to what extent are international norms diffused across states and in what ways are they adapted and changed by national or local contexts and actors. Public policy scholars have tended to focus on what effective implementation looks like after the initial adoption of a new normative, legal, or policy framework. They highlight the political and administrative challenges to implementation and the conditions under which we might expect to see successful outcomes following norm adoption. Scholars have focused on street-level actors such as bureaucrats and frontline service providers as key agents of implementation.Footnote 16
By contrast with the policy literature, in the IR literature the adoption of a new institutional mechanism or national action plan is equated with the widespread acceptance of a norm. The diffusion process, however, doesn't stop at adoption: there remains room for substantial adaptation and innovation in their actual implementation as WPS and gender and politics scholars have shown with regard to violence against women and peacebuilding norms.Footnote 17 Rarely do IR scholars stay at the ‘street level’ long enough, however, to investigate the implementation process. In this article we follow one example of an international norm, gender inclusion in peace agreements, by one means of action, financing, to highlight funding arrangements as an integral but understudied part of the international diffusion of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.
Women's equal representation in the peace process is a right that is not given but must be claimed.Footnote 18 WPS scholarship investigates the optimal conditions for women's participation in peace negotiations, while gender and politics scholarship examines the conditions under which women's movements cohere and can influence policy change on gender issues and inclusion in peace agreements. WPS scholars have revealed the difference that women's participation in peace processes, and inclusion of gender issues in the peace process itself, can make to securing peace.Footnote 19 Jana Krause, Werner Krause, and Piia Bränfors highlight that when women participate in civil society activism as well as in elite mediation and peacemaking processes, peace is more likely to endure.Footnote 20 Based on research of one hundred peace agreements, Jacqui True and Yolanda Morales-Riveros find that when women participated at three different levels simultaneously – in civil society, in parliaments, or legislatures as well as at the peace table – agreements always included gender equality provisions.Footnote 21 Civil society participation often provides women with their first opportunities to engage in advocacy vis-à-vis governments. In conflict-affected environments, participating safely and representing women's security concerns may only be possible through civil society organisations that advocate for women's human rights.Footnote 22 The structure of some power-sharing peace agreements makes it challenging for women's groups to achieve inclusion;Footnote 23 and, if women's representation is conditional on their ethnic or religious representation alone, the obstacles for women to network and mobilise across these intersectional group differences will be far greater.Footnote 24
Even if more women are brought into peace processes as a result of local or international advocacy, their influence may be constrained by gendered institutional dynamics. Formal institutions may change but there is often a gap in outcomes because the informal norms and practices in state and security institutions based on hegemonic masculinity remain unaltered and may resist gender-inclusive processes.Footnote 25 In interviews with more than fifty peacemakers, Karin Aggestam identified the homosocial, informal social spaces in which political decision-making occurs while Gina Heathcote noted the lack of transparency and exclusion from know-how as major constraining conditions affecting women's inclusion in peace negotiations.Footnote 26 They may be invited into talks as an afterthought or without much prior notice or preparation,Footnote 27 or they simply may not be able to particulate due to structural barriers regarding family responsibilities. The failure to address these gendered institutions reinforces and replicates patriarchal order – and the conditions for violence and conflict.Footnote 28
Increasing women's representation via fast-track quotas without fundamentally altering or having inroads in these institutions can make change difficult to achieve even with the presence of international norms, such as UNSCR 1325.Footnote 29 Significant donor support is required to genuinely influence policy change on gender issues and inclusion in a peace agreement.Footnote 30 Vocal international support in favour of women's representation and gender inclusion is low risk and low demand compared with the high-risk, high-demand behavioural support that is required to achieve action. Financial investment is highly consequential behaviour that directly enables women's participation through investment in gender-inclusive policy and programming.
Turning to the policy literature, Richard E. Matland suggests that the factors crucial for actions for implementation are dependent on a policy's ambiguity and conflict level. These factors may include the political context and contested nature of the policy, the compliance of actors with resources, the existence of opponents to the policy, the degree of bureaucracy and bureaucratic levels, the presence of policy entrepreneurs or street-level bureaucrats. With a policy as well as with a norm, the ‘passage of legislation often requires ambiguous language and contradictory goals to hold together a passing coalition’.Footnote 31 There is typically wide variation in how the same national policy is implemented at the local level since contextual factors in that environment dominate. The same has been found for the diffusion of an international norm to national or local contexts.Footnote 32 In the case of gender inclusion in the peace process, the variation under examination is the acceptance of the need to support women's rights and participation in conflict-affected situations (low to high conflict) and its translation into the investment required to enable women's participation and gender-inclusion reforms (low to high ambiguity). Matland outlines four possible models of policy implementation as shown in Table 1.Footnote 33
We use this typology to identify the current international policy options available to fund women's participation and gender inclusion in peace processes. We apply the types to bilateral and multilateral funding arrangements, to explore perceived risk that donors attach to investment in gender inclusion in peace agreements and explain their varying outcomes. Next, we describe our methodological approach to analysing financing of gender inclusion and the data sources we draw upon.
2. Gender equality funding for inclusive peace
There is substantial variation in donor support in gender equality. Table 2 summarises the international funding sources for investment in gender-inclusive peace in terms of the degree of conflict or contestation over the source and the relative ambiguity or clarity over where and how it is invested. Four donor-funding sources support women's participation and gender inclusion in peace agreements and each represents a different degree of perceived risk regarding the source itself and its investment target, which affects the type of implementation.
First, a low conflict-low ambiguity model, involves largely administrative implementation. This model usually includes policies with broad consensus (low conflict) and clarity in implementation plan that does require substantial effort especially if there are multiple levels. In 2010, the UN committed to increasing the financing for gender equality, specifically women and girls’ empowerment in postconflict situations.Footnote 34 The specific target of 15 per cent of funds directed towards gender equality programming and policy across the UN system following the Secretary-General's Seven Point Plan on Gender-Responsive Peacebuilding was a positive step.Footnote 35 The UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) has surpassed this target. Since 2016 it has directed 20 per cent of funding to gender-responsive programming in postconflict recovery. To this effect, the PBF's Strategic Plan 2017–2019 has three additional investment windows that allow the PBF to focus and track investments while also helping to strengthen the Fund's expertise and delivery networks. One of these investment windows fosters inclusion and gender equality by expanding the Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative (GYPI) and raising the target of gender-responsive peacebuilding investments from 15 to 30 per cent.Footnote 36
The UN PBF financing for gender-responsive peacebuilding in postconflict states corresponds with the first model of implementation – where the policy is low conflict and low ambiguity – due to the involvement of the postconflict government from the outset. Substantial administrative planning and capacity is needed to ensure the design and delivery of gender-responsive aid to peacebuilding activities. Here the PBF appears to have broad buy-in, including an international governance board representing key donor governments to guide strategic decisions and marshal sufficient multilateral resources, as well as an effective in-country network to ensure those resources reach the ground and are equitably distributed.
Second, a low ambiguity-high conflict model entails political implementation since disagreement about some features of the policy requires political bargaining where the relative power of the stakeholders matters in how the policy is implemented. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Advisory Committee (DAC) investments in gender equality and women's equality are increasing in low and middle income, as well as in fragile and conflict countries, with 42 per cent of bilateral aid invested in gender equality and women's equality as a principal and/or significant objective – the highest target yet reached.Footnote 37 However, just 4 per cent of DAC members (thirty countries) total aid on average supports programmes dedicated to gender equality and women's empowerment as the principal objective amounting to US $4.9 billion per year, while 58 per cent of all aid remains ‘gender blind’.Footnote 38 Among the 38 multilateral organisations that report to OECD, only 14 have reported on their percentage of investment to the OECD.Footnote 39 Clearly, the OECD community is still a long way from meeting the 15 per cent minimum of all funding relating to peace and security for programmes that address women's specific needs and advance gender.Footnote 40
While aid focused on gender equality in situations of armed conflict as a share of total bilateral aid in this area has consistently increased over time from under 5 per cent in 2002 to close to 45 per cent by 2017,Footnote 41 funding for initiatives with gender equality as the principal objective constituted only 2 per cent of funding for much of the period since 2005. The OECD DAC have been investing in a slew of WPS bilateral activities that detail initiatives to empower and support individual women, women's networks, and women's participation in peace and security. These do not appear to be connected to specific gender provisions in peace agreements or to specific campaigns to increase women's participation in peace processes, however. For instance, the women mediators’ regional networks spreading around the world aim to support women's participation in peace processes and are largely supported by bilateral donor aid, but little is known about the investment and sustainability of these networks.Footnote 42 The United Kingdom, announced £1.6 million towards the Women Mediators of the Commonwealth Network.Footnote 43 In 2019, a multilateral initiative created the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks, which aims to be a ‘collective of voices demanding policy and decision-makers alike to hasten the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and consciously create spaces for women to participate in and lead peace processes’.Footnote 44 However, at the local level there have not been politically driven and funded campaigns to push for women to be appointed as mediators in key peace processes. To date, DAC funding for women's mediation networks seems to conform to the second model of implementation, where the WPS participation norm at stake involves relatively low ambiguity but high conflict with political bargaining by powerful stakeholders essential for implementation.
A high conflict-low ambiguity model where a policy is not disputed but is broad or vague in its ambit anticipates experimental implementation. That is, outcomes will depend largely on which actors are active and most involved and whether or not they have resources at the local level to support this experimentation. Opportunities are excellent for norm entrepreneurs in this environment to create policies that meet local needs. The Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) is a good example of this model. The WPHF aims to address financing gaps and under-resourcing of women's humanitarian and peacebuilding efforts across the peace and security and development continuum. It was launched in 2018 with the slogan ‘40by20’.Footnote 45 The goal is to raise $40 million by 2020 to invest in support of community-based, grassroots women's organisations across 24 eligible countries. The WPHF's theory of change aims to ‘advance women's leadership in economic recovery’.Footnote 46 However, other, more systematic interventions are needed to ensure women's participation in economic recovery decision-making forums targeting postconflict financing mechanisms and their governance as well as IFI mechanisms in order to achieve gender equality in postconflict countries. To date, 14 out of 24 countries have received funding from the WPHF, with investments from UN agencies, donor countries, private organisations, and international financial institutions. The selective model of funding, however, is far too meagre to resource women's peacebuilding in all conflict-affected situations globally.
To explain the weakness of WPHF, the third model of implementation seems relevant since advancing women's peacebuilding and especially their leadership in economic recovery is ostensibly a low-conflict policy objective. The question of how to operationalise this goal is highly ambiguous. In such situations, experimental implementation is most likely. The outcome of such implementation processes greatly depends on whether the actors involved are entrepreneurial enough and locally engaged to be able to address the ambiguity in the policy objective, setting boundaries and devising concrete ways to implement it. Implementation outcomes of WPHF also rely on whether or not sufficient resources can be divested at the local level, in particular, whether annual donor contributions can be reached and if those funds can actually reach women and women's organisations on the ground. The latter is a challenge since the administrative rules of the UN and donors require recipients of WPHF aid to be organisations with prior experience in managing funding.Footnote 47 In response to the COVID-19 pandemic there has been the introduction of two funding streams for all eligible countries: stream 1 for institutional funding (sustain local civil society organisation during the crisis) from US $D2,500–$30,000; and stream 2 for programmatic funding (in response to COVID-19), starting from US $30,000–$200,000.Footnote 48 This model of investment implementation is small, intermittent, and unlikely to fund a major policy objective though – making it an ‘ideal’ example of the high conflict-low ambiguity implementation. The question is whether the learning generated through the implementation process is worth the precarity.
Fourth, the high conflict-high ambiguity model is a particularly challenging example of implementation of a norm or policy for they are policies often ‘aimed at redistributing power or goods’.Footnote 49 States’ collective commitment to the Global Study on WPS recommended 15 per cent target is a good example.Footnote 50 Investment in gender-inclusive peace has been described as an investment in societal stability through enabling development,Footnote 51 but few UN member states have committed to the target of 15 per cent of peacebuilding funding to promote gender equality in fragile and conflict-affected states.Footnote 52 Only Norway has done so in its 2019–22 WPS National Action Plan.Footnote 53 Collectively, states ‘lack of financing … is one of the greatest barriers to achieving gender equality’ especially in countries transitioning from armed conflict.Footnote 54 To satisfy all actors, a peace process may increasingly include high volume references to gender rather than specific gender provisions. When power is not evenly distributed, both conflict and ambiguity in financing gender equality will increase.
3. Methodology and data sources for financing of gender provisions in peace agreements
There are few postconflict environments where there is a dedicated percentage of development assistance to ensure gender equality across all sector programmes, and where women are able to access development assistance across ALL sectors. The four different funding models create different pathways for achieving access to funding to improve women's participation and gender inclusion in the same peace process. There is little knowledge on whether the conditions for funding are producing high conflict and/or high ambiguity in implementing gender inclusion in peace. Our case studies of Colombia and the Philippines explore this relationship by following the financing for gender inclusion in both peace processes.
Between 2000–16, there were 517 separate gender equality and women's rights provisions across 55 peace agreements in a dataset of 110 agreements.Footnote 55 Most of the funding required to support these provisions depends on international sources including official development assistance (ODA), although postconflict states themselves are primarily responsible for implementation of the peace agreements and the WPS agenda.Footnote 56 International financial investments in gender equality and women's participation thus largely determine the realisation of gender-inclusive peace and implementation of the WPS agenda. Therefore, we ask to what extent has donor funding contributed to the implementation of these provisions? We consider bilateral funding as measured by aid reported to the OECD DAC, and multilateral funding available through UN Women's, Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) and the UN Peacebuilding Fund (UN PBF). To ascertain the extent of funding for gender equality and women's empowerment including the peace agreement provisions related to these goals, we analysed secondary data sources from the OECD Development Advisory Committee on promised bilateral aid expenditures applying the OECD's own Policy Gender Marker, which differentiates between aid that addresses gender equality and women's empowerment as a principal objective (read: primary) or a significant (read: secondary) objective. We use UN and World Bank data on multilateral aid funding to identify the extent to which this aid addresses gender equality provisions, guided by UN Women's definition of gender-sensitive policy and projects.Footnote 57
We examine the cases of the Philippines and Colombia, both touted as examples of gender-inclusive peacebuilding with peace agreements that include progressive gender equality and women's rights provisions. We selected these two countries as heuristic cases because they have extremely high values on all of the three following criteria:Footnote 58 (1) they have concluded and sustained (to date) peace settlements that contain strong references to gender inclusion; (2) they involved mobilisation of women to participate in the peace and reconstruction process – from the elite level to local participation and representation; and (3) they targeted postconflict economic investment for women.
We explore all donor planned investments in gender equality and women's participation (including for women's economic security and empowerment) set against the ambition of statements of gender-inclusive peace and specific provisions in the peace agreements and/or reconstruction planning and programmes in the two countries. In upper and lower middle-income countries such as Colombia and the Philippines, tax revenue, private investment, and remittances are the greatest source of finance, according to the OECD DAC 2018–19 reporting system. International aid from the public sectors of external actors, both bilateral or multilateral, covers only a small part of sources of finance in these countries. Yet, external aid is particularly important in providing the additional funding required in fragile and conflict-affected countries tasked with implementing peace settlements.Footnote 59 We examine three main sources of external aid and financing for Colombia and the Philippines's peace processes: (1) bilateral funding as measured by OECD DAC; (2) multilateral funding through UN Women's Women, Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) and the UN Peacebuilding Fund (UN PBF) (where noted, included in (3); and (3) UN and World Bank multi-donor trust funds specifically to support peace and reconstruction.
With regard to multi-donor dedicated peace and reconstruction funds available for these two cases, we identified all the funds in the UN database relating to peacebuilding with their start-/end dates coinciding with or after the signing of the respective peace agreement (Colombia since 2016 and Philippines since 2011). The projects within these multi-donor funds for each country were then coded according to whether they were gender-sensitive/not gender-sensitive, or / no information provided based on the definition in the UN Women's glossary definition on women's participation in peace processes:
The awareness of gender inequalities, differences and issues affecting women, men, boys, girls, and sexual and gender minorities, and taking these concerns into account within a formal agreement, policy, project, program, theory of change or statement. Gender-sensitive approaches seek to secure change to achieve gender equality wherever possible.Footnote 60
This definition of ‘gender-sensitive’ can be compared with the OECD Gender Policy Marker ‘significant’ (secondary) category where gender is a mainstreamed objective. The definition also includes projects that may have gender equality and women's empowerment as a principal (primary) objective, but that is not necessary to be coded as ‘gender-sensitive’. This is the language commonly used by the OECD and UN although we could go even further to analyse projects in terms of whether or not they are ‘gender-responsive’ or transformative insofar as they enable the ‘operational and practical capacity to address gender inequalities, exclusions and differences through action or implementation’ would be a higher standard for evaluation.Footnote 61 Following the former definition, general and specific goals of the project were searched to ascertain if their objectives were gender-sensitive.Footnote 62 A further search was undertaken on the information available in the most recent results reports, the contributions and outcomes of the project in terms of gender equality, searching by keywords: Gender, Women, Girls, Female, Maternity, Widow. If these reports did not provide enough information about gender issues, the most recent annual or quarterly report (depending on availability) was examined. As well as applying the broad definition of ‘gender-sensitive’ both project objectives and results were assessed as gender-sensitive/not gender-sensitive/no information based on whether they met at least one of the criteria below. While requiring project objectives and results to meet only one criterion to be defined as gender-sensitive is permissive, it is a fairly objective assessment that nonetheless reveals an important pattern.Footnote 63 A ‘gender-neutral’ project or minimally gender-sensitive project that did not have a plan to seek social change to achieve gender equality was not considered to be a ‘gender-sensitive’ project; nor were projects that reinforced gender inequalities or traditional roles of women and did not provide practical actions to reduce inequalities or to expand the roles of women. Based on this analysis of project objectives and results, the percentage of gender-sensitive projects relating to peace and reconstruction processes in the designated country was calculated as a percentage of all funded projects and the overall multi-donor investment in US dollar terms.
In addition to analysing data sources of financing, field research interviews were conducted in 2017–19 with key actors in the institutional mechanisms established to implement gender provisions in the 2014 Bangsamoro and 2016 Colombia agreements to explore the implementation gains and the gender-inclusive financing for them. In researching the two cases, we aimed to illuminate and measure the financing gap between plans, aspirations, and expenditures, as well as patterns of money and resources relating to gender-inclusive peace and reconstruction.
The final agreement to end the armed conflict and build a stable and lasting peace, signed on 26 November 2016 between the Colombian government and the guerrilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Army of the People (FARC-EP), allowed an end to more than 52 years of armed conflict. One of the main features of this peace agreement is the inclusion of specific gender provisions that recognise and seek to compensate for the disproportionate effects that the war has had on Colombian women.
Leading up to the 2016 Peace Agreement the FARC's militant numbers were believed to have dropped to around 8,000. Only a small number of women had previously been involved in formal peace negotiations. However, beginning in 2013 with the National Summit of Women for Peace, there was an increasing mobilisation of women for a resolution to the Colombian conflict. Demanding that the parties not leave the table until they reach an agreement, women from across different groups and organisations in Colombia came together to insist on the presence and participation of women at all stages of the peace process including at the negotiation table, and for the inclusion of the needs, interests, and the impacts of the conflict on women to be taken into account.Footnote 64 Following the summit, the government appointed two plenipotentiaries, Nigeria Rentería and María Paulina Riveros in November 2013 and FARC also secured greater women's participation with women amounting to 20 per cent of seats in their negotiating team with Commander Victoria Sandino joining and more than 40 per cent women by February 2015.Footnote 65 The second National Summit of Women for Peace held in Bogota in September 2016 continued the pressure for the gender-inclusive peace agreement and set forth the agenda for a roadmap for the role of women in the implementation of the forthcoming agreement.
Women's participation in Colombia's peace negotiations influenced the composition of two key subcommissions: The Technical Sub-Commission on Ending Conflict, which made up 25 per cent of its members and the Gender Sub-Commission, which consisted of mostly women with the exception of one FARC male representative. The latter Sub-Commission was mandated to ‘review and ensure, with support of national and international experts, that the partial agreements and the eventual final agreement have an appropriate gender approach’.Footnote 66 As such, one of the overwhelming features of the 2016 Colombia Peace Agreement is the emphasis it places on adopting a ‘gender-based approach’.
Gender was mainstreamed throughout the agreement resulting in strong gender provisions in its five points: comprehensive rural reform, political participation, end of the conflict, the solution to the problem of illicit drugs, and victims of the armed conflict. The gender-based approach recognised the equality of rights between men and women, the guarantee and effective enjoyment of those rights and the promotion of the effective participation of women and their organisations in the construction of peace.Footnote 67 Of importance for this article's focus on financing for gender-inclusive peace and recovery is Point One, which deals with Comprehensive Rural Reform, and includes specific provisions dedicated to women's inclusion. Specifically, female heads of households have the right to access the Land Fund, a designated subsidy for land purchase and assistance with formal ownership of property. The first point of the 2016 agreement also refers to the Solidarity Economy Stimulus, which is obligated to promote gender equality, economic autonomy, and organisational capacity, especially for rural women. In addition, there is to be a social security system that provides access to health care, including sexual and reproductive health, technical, technological, and university education, in order to promote women's training in non-traditional disciplines.
Crucial for the implementation of these gender provisions are the new entities established by the peace agreement, such as the Monitoring, Promotion, Verification and Implementation Commission of the Peace Agreement (CSIVI), the Special Justice for Peace and the Truth Commission. They have the effective implementation of the gender-based approach as part of their institutional mandate. To ensure women's rights are upheld and fully realised in tangible actions especially for women victims and ex-combatants, gender commissions have been created within CSIVI and the Special Justice. The 2016 Colombia Agreement represents a ‘high water mark’ for women's participation and concrete gender provisions in peace processes. This suggests that the Colombian model of peace implementation should attract high conflict, low ambiguity funding given the specificity of the provisions, which demands a politically driven implementation process.
Since the Republic of the Philippines’ independence in 1946, many on the Mindanao Island have sought to maintain a separate identity and rule, calling themselves Moros (adapted from the term ‘Moors’ referring to the Islamic occupiers of present-day Spain in 700 ce). Moros’ claim for independence stems from a history, prior to colonialism, of independent rule. It also stems from experiences of discrimination and violence suffered during colonialism and in the early decades of Philippine independence.Footnote 68 Since 1976 there has been a civil war between the Moros and the Philippine government. A peace agreement was signed between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996. The conflict between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has continued despite repeat ceasefire attempts in 1997 and 2006. In October 2012, the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) was signed, followed by the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) in March 2014.Footnote 69 This was a significant achievement in that it committed three major combatant groups – the Philippine Army, MILF, and MNLF – to a ceasefire.
In terms of representation, the Philippines Bangsamoro Agreement has also been a leader. In 2009, the Philippines government adopted the Magna Carta of Women, which provides for increased participation of women in peacebuilding processes.Footnote 70 Miriam Coronel Ferrer, was head of the government negotiating panel, and the first woman to be a signatory to a major peace agreement (the CAB). Of the signatories to the CAB, 4 of the 12 were women: Coronel Ferrer, Zenonida Brosas, Yasmin Busran-Lao, and Teresita Quintos-Deles.Footnote 71 In response to the strong representation of women on the government side, the Chairman of the MILF peace negotiating panel appointed Raissa Jajurie, a human rights lawyer and a member of its ‘Board of Consultants’, after she argued there is no injunction in the Qur'an against women taking leadership positions.Footnote 72
From the outset, the CAB has been internationally recognised for comprehensive gender provisions in the areas of politics, economics, disarmaments, and justice. The CAB contains two strong gender provisions: the adoption of financing schemes that ensure the return to normal life for women (section 11), and the right of women to meaningful political participation and protection from violence (section 10(g)).Footnote 73 These inclusions are not specific in terms of quotas, intersectional and civil society participation, or representation in the security sector. The annex to the CAB does, however, include a strong gender provision regarding access to finance. Specifically, in the Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing section it states that there shall be the equal utilisation of public funds to ensure women and men's needs (that is, gender mainstreaming via gender budgeting); specifically, at least 5 per cent of the official development funds are to be set aside for support programmes and activities for women (Article XII). The CAB has been adopted as the Bangsamoro Basic Law in 2017, and the 5 per cent designated development funds for women has remained.
Like Colombia, the Philippines has been lauded in the international community as an example of gender-inclusive peacebuilding. The specificity of the gender provisions in the CAB has been seen as ‘best practice’ suggesting it would also attract funding a model of implementation that is low ambiguity while obviously high conflict given the situation of ending a civil war, similar to Colombia.
4. Analysis of Financing trends and implementation models
Have such women's participation and gender inclusion commitments in both peace processes, however, been translated to gender investment in their respective postconflict transitions? Significantly, we find that the level of bilateral and multilateral donor assistance being provided to Colombia and the Philippines declines after the conclusion of respective peace process.
If we consider the Philippines FAB and CAB, followed by the Bangsamoro Basic Law in 2017, ODA has shifted in recognition of these impressive achievements. But, as Figure 1 shows, the scale of investment has dramatically declined for the Philippines since the conclusion of the CAB, from 48 million in 2015 when the agreement was signed to 16 million in 2017. This is counterintuitive to what we would expect given the need to implement the peace agreement including its strong gender provisions to support women's economic participation and recovery including ‘the adoption of financing schemes that ensure the return to normal life for women’ discussed above.
However, as shown in Figure 1, there has been considerable progress in gender-focused aid to the Philippines. It went from 15 per cent of total aid (200.7 million) in 2014 to 41 per cent (436 million) in 2017 and 62 per cent (1.262 billion) in 2018. While there is a large increase in gender ‘mainstreamed’ aid from 2014 to 2018, if we follow the funding invested in the peace process the peak funding is in 2012 (the year after Aquino talks in 2010 and 2011), which led to the longest ceasefire to date; another peak after CAB (and Typhoon Haiyan) (2015); and a peak at the same time as the Bangsamoro Basic Law (2017). Thus, there appears to be an interest in funding peace immediately after a key achievement, but that funding and interest is not sustained beyond one year. The rise in gender-focused aid during this period must then be understood in the broader context of overall aid decline.
For Colombia, bilateral ODA since 2016 peace agreement signed that year has seen steady increases in total aid commitments (excluding military assistance), to 1.37 billion in 2017 (the year after the agreement) and 1.5 billion in 2018. However, as shown in Figure 2, gender-focused bilateral ODA to Colombia reached its high point in in 2017: 56 per cent of total aid commitments (771 million) reported women's empowerment and gender equality as objectives. This is a significant increase in the 4 per cent of aid in 2005, 25 per cent in 2010 and 40 per cent in 2014. However, the overall gender-mainstreamed share of total aid declined in 2018 to 42 per cent of total aid (638 million).
Most of the increase in gender-focused ODA until 2017 was in mainstreamed aid, rather than aid principally targeted at financing women's security and rights. Assistance for women's empowerment and gender equality as a principal objective, moreover, dropped off considerably after its 2017 peak, as shown in the orange trend line in Figure 2, from 295 million to just 33 million in 2018. The same decline in assistance for women's empowerment and gender equality as a principal objective can be observed in the Philippines. These trends indicate that the level of funding needed to implement the peace agreement's gender provisions has not been sustained by bilateral donors. This decrease is not compensated for by increased multilateral funds either that we turn to discuss now.
Multilateral support for the implementation of gender provisions in the Philippines CAB reveals a significant gap between gender-inclusive commitments in the agreement and the gender-responsive financing to implement them. It is important to note that in addition to the CAB, the Republic Act No. 9710 (2010) or the Magna Carta of Women, stipulates that the ‘government should ensure that 5% to 30% of ODA it receives should support gender-responsive programs and projects’. It is clear that neither the government nor donors have fully maximised the Magna Carta or the CAB to address gender issues in WPS and to monitor how gender budgets are allocated.Footnote 74 In the CAB, as noted above, there is a 5 per cent allocation of development funds to support women's return to ‘normal life’, their participation in political life, and their protection from violence. In 2005 a multi-donor trust fund was created, Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) for Reconstruction and Development Program chaired by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Bangsamoro Development Agency. This programme came to an end in 2017. The total commitment was PHP 1.4 billion (US $28.9 million) to the Mindanao Trust Fund for Reconstruction and Development. Yet, none of the seven programmes funded by the multi-donor Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) for Reconstruction and Development Programme (2013–2017, Phase 1) reported on the allocation of funds set aside to fund programmes and activities that benefit women. The authors could not even calculate what overall percentage of the Trust Fund was dedicated to specific gender programmes.
In interviews with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the MTF, there was strong insistence that the 5 per cent was allocated to programmes that supported women's empowerment and political participation in local level elections and small business.Footnote 75 There is a Phase 2 of funding since 2018 that has yet to provide publicly accessible reports. However, it was also acknowledged that investment in schools, health clinics, and infrastructure (including access to technology and public transport), was contingent on incoming donor funds that had been affected by the political transition at the time the Bangsamoro came into law in 2017. In other words, maintaining political momentum at the highest levels (Presidential Office) for the CBA's implementation with necessary donor support to drive the domestic agenda and investment in gender-inclusive peace implementation, has been difficult.
Quarterly reports highlight the number of people who benefited from the project, sometimes disaggregated by gender. The final 2016 quarterly report on the three current Bangsamoro projects notes the total number of beneficiaries per programme and the percentage of women: ‘Across the four MTF programs, more than 50 percent of beneficiaries are women, with many holding leadership and managerial roles. For instance, in Camps Abubakar and Rajamuda, the POs are composed of women, mostly wives and widows of MILF combatants and/or members of the MILF Social Welfare Committee.’Footnote 76 Outcomes with regard to social change in gender relations towards greater equality are not substantively documented or measured in these reports either.
The two UN Peacebuilding Fund projects worth almost US $6 million do provide some financial details as well as the substantive content of projects. Approximately 1.5 million is devoted to three subprojects where gender equality and women's empowerment are major objectives: 400,000 on women's leadership and participation in the transition process and new institutions of Bangsamoro; 530,000 on peace-table capacity-building for women, indigenous peoples, and youth; and 450,500 for supporting the role of women, youth, and faith-based organisations in Bangsamoro. However, all these projects are ‘governance’, social, and political participation related rather than focused on economic security, enterprise, or governance.
With regard to funding for gender provisions that specifically address financing for women's economic security, the Philippines Government's Women's Empowerment, Development and Gender Equality Plan 2013–2016 (Women's EDGE Plan) was further assessed. However, the authors were unable to identify the percentage of commitment the national government makes to its own priority issues of women's economic empowerment, women's social development rights, gender in justice, peace and security, gender in environment and climate change, and gender-responsive governance. The Philippines was added to the list of priority countries to receive funding under the WPHF from 2020. As such, this funding may provide assistance with, but not be able to fully implement, the core gender provisions of the CAB: ‘the adoption of financing schemes that ensure the return to normal life for women’.
When looking further into multilateral peace fund support for the implementation of gender provisions in the Colombian peace agreements, a significant gap was found between gender-inclusive commitments in the agreement and gender-responsive financing for these commitments. Specific gender provisions within the comprehensive rural reform in the Colombia agreement are dedicated to women's access to the Land Fund and the Solidarity Economy Stimulus, which is obligated to promote gender equality and rural women's economic security. Specifically, female heads-of-household have the right to access the Land Fund, a designated subsidy for land purchase and assistance with formal ownership of property. The Solidarity Economy Stimulus, for its part, is obligated to promote gender equality, economic autonomy, and organisational capacity, especially for rural women. Gender-inclusive financing is needed to reach 6,842,859 people and 3,489,858 women who are included in the 170 municipalities considered to be conflict-affected areas with ‘Development Plans with a Territorial Approach’ (PDET).Footnote 77 To date, 24,000 women have participated in the construction of development plans in these municipalities to implement the comprehensive rural reform.Footnote 78
The Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund has invested US $2 million in women's active engagement in economic recovery efforts across 16 subprojects (2017–19), benefiting 976 women and 204 men through local economic empowerment initiatives. These investments are crucial, and they are 100 per cent gender sensitive. However, they are meagre in comparison with the opportunity to mainstream women's economic security and rights in the substantial multi-donor peace fund of US $116 million in commitments. The group of women they have reached so far represents just 4 per cent of the broader conflict-affected female population, so mainstreaming gender inclusion across all postconflict financing is imperative to fully implement the peace agreement in Colombia.
Financing has also fallen short for the governance mechanism for gender-inclusive peace implementation. The Special Forum for the implementation of the gender perspective is a novel participatory forum internationally enabling the inclusion of women's movements in the implementation of the 2016 agreement.Footnote 79 It is made up of 16 women (8 holders and 8 substitutes) representatives of different national groups of women and civil society organisations who provide inputs and recommendations to the CSIVI and the National Reincorporation Council to mainstream gender into the four-year implementation plans and multi-year investment plans. The workplan of the Forum was intended to be financed by the Colombian Government with support from the MPTF. For the first 19 months of its operation (until February 2020), the Special Forum was funded (US $395,000) by international donors and coordinated by UN Women.Footnote 80 It continues to function but does not follow the gender provisions of the final agreement and there is no sustainability strategy for its operations.Footnote 81
The Philippines and Colombia were never high recipients of development assistance and the attention lavished on the peace agreements for their gender inclusivity has not translated into increased financing necessary for effective implementation. This is a problem for the two peace agreements as, in both cases, the conflicts preceding them were fuelled by a sense of collective social and economic injustice and inequality.Footnote 82
How do we make sense of these findings on the gaps in financing in light of what we know about norm contestation and implementation? First, peace agreements that meet low ambiguity-low conflict and low ambiguity-high conflict implementation conditions (UN PBF; OECD DAC), in that they include specific provisions on women's participation and targeted gender assistance in economic reforms, such as those of Colombia and the Philippines, do not seem to benefit from substantially greater financing from these international finance institutions.
Second, the financial implementation models are not diversified according to context. What we have found is that with respect to financing, implementation is similar despite efforts to decrease the ambiguity of the policy – gender-inclusive peace – with concrete provisions and plans. Efforts by local actors to address the ambiguity of gender implementation by setting forth specific provisions and institutional mechanisms do not appear to trump the attraction of donors to high-conflict environments.Footnote 83 Models of policy implementation do not appear to factor in the context of donor state investment and interests in policy/norm implementation.
Implementation that is dependent on political will and support at the ‘street level’ may become symbolic implementation in the absence of incentives, especially financial incentives, to promote and deliver on women's rights and gender equality in peace processes and implementation. This is a growing concern within the Philippines and Colombia. We are not suggesting that women be economically punished in environments that fail to achieve gender-inclusive economic security and rights. We are suggesting, however, that investment in state-level institutions should be favourably reviewed when these institutions reduce the ambiguity on gender inclusion in their peace agreement process and provide concrete, measurable plans that can be funded.
Advancing gender equality in peace and security programmes is essential to international peace and security. Women have the right to participate in political settlements and recovery processes in the immediate aftermath of conflict. If there is no women's participation in an elite peace process – even with some women's participation in civil society and in political institutions, as WPS scholars have found – the likelihood of women's rights being included in a comprehensive peace agreement let alone implemented is substantially reduced. Seeking representation and championing the implementation of gender provisions can be difficult and dangerous work for civil society, the security sector, bureaucracy, academia, and parliament – and yet it is the only route to inclusive peace.
Women, Peace and Security scholars and practitioners have continually called attention to the lack of financing for the achievement of WPS outcomes in national action plans and Security Council resolutions. Our analysis of the financing for gender inclusive peace processes and postconflict transitions in this article empirically supports and nuances these claims by showing that donor investment has not matched the significant achievement of gender-sensitive peace agreements in both Colombia and the Philippines. Despite all the statements of support for gender inclusion in the peace processes in these countries, the patterns of international assistance have neither followed nor supported the life cycle of inclusive peace processes. To explain why normative commitments do not follow through into actual behaviour in this area, we extended WPS theoretical frameworks drawing on policy implementation theories. The ambiguity-conflict approach to policy, in particular, suggests that implementing WPS priorities lies not only with the formal endorsement of donor recipients and donor states but also in high-level sustained financial and political investment.
We identified competing bilateral and multilateral approaches to financing among the leading donor institutions. All four – the UN Peacebuilding Fund, OECD DAC donor states, UN Women's Women, Peace and Humanitarian Fund, and postconflict states themselves are funding contributors to the Colombian peace process; and all but the UN PBF have invested in the Philippines peace process. OECD DAC members’ support for the WPS norm of increasing women's presence in peace processes by funding women's mediation networks creates an implementation environment that is high conflict (or high stakes) – in that it aims to challenge power relations in elite peace negotiations – and high ambiguity, because it is unclear how the networks will affect this political change. However, there is little evidence (yet) to show the impact of these networks on actual peace deals despite the investment. In the case of the WPHF, its aim to close the gap in financing for women's participation in postconflict recovery has so far failed to muster the donor financing necessary to achieve its objective. It reflects a low conflict but highly ambiguous environment in which experimental implementation will be essential to its future success. By contrast, the UN PBF has well exceeded the UN's minimum 15 per cent target for funding peacebuilding activities focused on gender equality or women's empowerment and is set to meet a 30 per cent self-imposed target for supporting women's peacebuilding. This is because the UN PBF has worked within a low conflict-low ambiguity environment for implementation that primarily focuses on development cooperation rather than political dialogue with highly specified, localised programme management. The PBF has generated broad ownership by donors and conflict-affected countries as a result, but the PBF is chronically under-funded affecting its overall efficacy in addressing WPS goals of inclusive peace transitions.Footnote 84
At the state-level, WPS implementation is least likely to occur or be adequately realised when there is high conflict over the policy, for instance, gender provisions in a peace settlement, and high ambiguity about the substantive content of the policy or settlement, for instance, how gender provisions can be translated into actions or programmes on the ground. In this context the article examined whether donor institutions come forward to financially support and encourage postconflict states to embed peace agreement achievements on gender inclusion. It found that reducing conflict and ambiguity at the state level by incorporating inclusion quotas and policy within peace agreements does not dramatically shift funding to these favourable environments.
In the two best scenario cases we presented in the article, there was both low conflict over gender inclusion targets in their peace processes as well as low ambiguity on the prioritisation of investment in gender inclusion. Following the money across the four main bilateral and multilateral sources revealed a major disconnect with stated commitments to inclusive peace implementation and provisions. Despite much fanfare about gender equality investment from the international community even when a country achieves a gender-sensitive peace agreement, donors are not scaling up the investment in recognition of this hard-won gain and in order to achieve meaningful gender inclusion in the postconflict society. Even when governments ‘get it right’ and agree to implement peace agreements, the international actors encouraging them are not being held accountable for what they say’with what they finance.
We strongly recommend that all gender provisions of peace agreements be monitored in-country and, together with this, that gender-responsive investments be tracked and evaluated. More research that qualitatively and quantitatively assesses the financing of WPS implementation and gender-inclusive peace is also needed. Qualitative analysis of the dynamics and evolution of gender-responsive funding, for instance, can support, nuance, and test the broad patterns of gender inclusion and exclusion revealed by quantitative analysis of ODA flows and multilateral investments in postconflict countries.
We wish to thank Jeni Klugman, Yolanda Riveros-Morales, Alexandra Phelan, and Maria Tanyag for their critical contributions to the development of this article under the joint project ‘Towards Inclusive Peace: Mapping the Gender in Peace Processes and Implementation’, co-funded by the Australian Research Council and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Grant No. LP160100085).