I recently came across a report prepared by Katherine Magraw of the Peace and Security Funders Group (PSFG) – in which she gave an insight into the trends in philanthropic investments/fundraising in the field of Women, Peace and Security (WPS).

What follows is a summary of some of the issues and trends outlined in the report:

Some of the main areas of focus of the international community of activists, policymakers and funders working in the field of WPS – are as follows:

(i) Preventing violence against women during and after conflict: Violence against woman and girls, particularly forms of sexual violence, is recognized as a common feature of civil conflicts.

(ii) Enhancing women’s contribution to peacebuilding – including women’s involvement in peace negotiations and conflict resolution processes.

(iii) Building a culture of peace – i.e. addressing the social-cultural norms that inform the cultures of violence and patriarchal political systems that reproduce existing gender power inequalities.

It is also pertinent to point out that the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 – highlights the centrality of engaging and protecting women as critical agents of peace. About 35 countries have developed national plans to implement UNSCR 1325. This includes United States, Belgium, France, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

(1) Funding from Foundations:

Thirty eight funders/grantmaking entities studied by the Peace and Security Funders Group (PSFG) made commitments in 2010 to invest $36 million in civil society efforts to further the WPS agenda. Among the thirty eight funders/grantmaking entities studied, the following grantmakers/funders made grants totaling over $500,000 in 2010: Cordaid; Novo Foundation; Open Society Foundations International Women’s Program; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Humanity United; Swanee Hunt Family Foundation; Avon Foundation; Sigrid Rausing Trust; Global Fund for Women; Oak Foundation; HIVOS; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Ford Foundation; and United States Institute of Peace.

(2) Bilateral and Multilateral Funders

Bilateral funding (government grants to NGOs and/or initiatives in countries other than their own) and multilateral funding (support provided to NGOs and initiatives through international entities) greatly surpasses funding from foundations and philanthropists.

Multilateral funding comes primarily from United Nations entities such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Children’s Fund and UN Women. Most of the bilateral funding is provided as international development cooperation and aid to conflict-affected countries.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) calculated that the total bilateral funding from the member States of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) – that was classified as assistance in the “peace and security sector” and focused on “gender equality and participatory development” in 2009 – was $683.9 million. This amount represents nearly six times the amount ($119.1 million) provided just three years earlier in 2006. Multilateral and bilateral funding reflects the official policy of Member States in the area of Women, Peace and Security.

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