Our blind spot – inner growth
By Ignacio Packer, Executive Director Caux Initiatives of Change11/09/2023
Building sustainable peace is one of four thematic priorities for Switzerland’s 2023-2024 term as a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Switzerland strives to ensure respect for human rights and equal participation of women in peace processes.
The UNSC Resolution 1325 affirms that peace and security efforts are more sustainable when women are equal partners in the prevention of violent conflict, the delivery of relief and recovery efforts, and in the forging of lasting peace. There have been many successes but setbacks as well in the implementation of the Resolution.
Achieving transformative progress on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda involves recognizing and considering the historical dominance of men in decision-making and addressing intergenerational power dynamics. The New Agenda for Peace, a key input from the UN to prepare The Summit of the Future in 2024, addresses this concern. Investing in gender equality and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls will also be announced at the UN SDG Summit on the 18th and 19th of September as the cross-cutting initiative to accelerate the SDGs. These cannot be merely recycled initiatives.
Regrettably, the continuity of the progressive momentum of the WPS Agenda remains uncertain. Increasing women’s participation in peace operations may prove to be politically popular, but the intentional pushback and lack of knowledge are eroding support for other measures around the WPS Agenda.
The July 2023 Caux Forum “Trust and Integrity in Democracy” organized by Initiatives of Change addressed the backlash against democratic institutions in many parts of the world. Discussions revolved around the implications of this backlash for gender equality and peace in the future, along with strategies to effectively counter the increasing resistance against women’s rights.
Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war on Ukraine are cited as the reasons for the lack of progress on the SDGs, while what we are also lacking is the inner capacity to deal with our increasingly complex environment and challenges. The development of the inner abilities we all need for the implementation is the starting point for the Inner Development Goals Initiative. Trustworthiness, tolerance, and transparency are key to transforming structures and supporting the revival of good governance and integrity in public life. These are easy to advocate but much harder to embody in practice.
We face a blind spot when it comes to establishing global peace and security, that of cognitive and emotional skills. Personal and global change go hand in hand. Each one of us has the power and the responsibility to self-reflect and align our actions with our values. As a member of the UN Security Council, Switzerland will hopefully take a leading role in supporting the development of relevant abilities, skills, and qualities for inner growth. This is the greatest possible accelerator to reach the SDGs and global peace and security.
Looking ahead to the 25th anniversary of Resolution 1325 in 2025, Switzerland should consider this accelerator to address the complacency based on the ostensible popularity of the WPS Agenda and stimulate stepping-up efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of the WPS Agenda’s implementation.