Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Human Rights

Issue 4 - Evidence - March 24, 2014


OTTAWA, Monday, March 24, 2014

The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights met this day at 5 p.m. to monitor issues relating to human rights and, inter alia, to review the machinery of government dealing with Canada's international and national human rights obligations (topic: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security).

Senator Mobina S. B. Jaffer (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: Honourable senators, welcome to the sixth meeting of the Second Session of the Forty-first Parliament of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights.

[Translation]

The Senate mandated this committee to examine matters related to human rights both in Canada and abroad. My name is Mobina Jaffer, and I am a senator from British Columbia as well as the chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights.

[English]

I would like to welcome all of you here today. We're happy today. We have three good panels on a very important issue. Before I proceed any further, I will have the rest of the committee members introduce themselves, starting with the deputy chair, Senator Ataullahjan.

Senator Ataullahjan: I am Senator Salma Ataullahjan, and I represent Toronto, Ontario.

Senator Ngo: Senator Ngo, representing Ontario.

Senator Unger: Betty Unger from Alberta.

Senator Eggleton: Art Eggleton, a senator from Toronto.

[Translation]

The Chair: At its December 2, 2013 meeting, the committee agreed to receive a briefing note on the United Nations Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security and Canada's actions on the issue since announcing its corresponding action plan in October 2010.

[English]

To begin our hearings today, I would like to welcome our first witnesses, from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. Before I ask you to make your presentations, I would like to say to Ms. Buck and to Ms. Wiseman that I'm very fortunate that I get to meet with women all over the world. I want to tell you that the specific work you do on Resolution 1325 does make a difference. I salute the work you do.

I also want to recognize Ms. Sinclair, who is the Assistant Deputy Minister Policy, National Defence, and Major Sylvester, Deputy Commandant of the Peace Support Training Centre. I'm also very happy to have both of you here today. Ms. Sinclair and I have done a lot of work in Israel — 13 round tables in Israel and Palestine — so I know you're very familiar with the work of Resolution 1325.

To all four of you, I want you to go back to your departments and please tell them that we do appreciate the difference you make in people's lives, especially the Armed Forces. I always say when I used to travel with the Armed Forces in the Sudan, most people, after a tough day, go to the barracks or back to their hotel. Our men and women go back to build orphanages. That's why we're proud of the work you do on behalf of Canada to save lives all over the world.

Please proceed.

Kerry Buck, Political Director and Assistant Deputy Minister, International Security, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada: Good afternoon. I thank you for the opportunity to provide to members of the committee an update on DFATD's recent activities to promote the role of women in international peace and security and the implementation of Canada's national action plan — Canada's Action Plan for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security — which I will refer to as C-NAP.

You'll be aware that we've now amalgamated the foreign affairs, trade and development functions into the new Department of Foreign Affairs. I'm pleased today to speak on behalf of the entire department, with the support of my development colleague, Gloria Wiseman, who is Director of Human Development and Gender Equality. She will be prepared to answer development-related questions in some detail.

You will also be aware that the government has tabled in Parliament the first two action plan annual reports for fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13, and both reports are now posted on the DFATD website. These reports are exciting for us. They represent a very public commitment to openness, transparency and accountability, and they also represent for us an important venue to showcase our work and highlight Canada's leadership.

On a personal note, the panel members have been working together on women's human rights issues since last the millennium, for over two decades, and also with some members of the committee. When I say we're pleased to be able to speak about this, we really are, and personally are as well.

First, on advocacy, DFATD's activities to promote the role of women in international peace and security and prevent sexual violence are undertaken as part of the government's leading international role in advancing the human rights and well-being of women and girls. We are leaders on women, peace and security internationally. We're leaders on sexual violence in conflict, in seeking to prevent sexual violence in conflict and to tackle impunity, and to prevent child, early and enforced marriage and to promote maternal, newborn and child health. Canada's leadership is recognized, Madam Chair, and I thank you for your reference to that in your opening.

I will give you some examples to illustrate not only Canada's leadership but also some important international developments that may guide the committee's work. Last April, in London, Minister Baird and his G8 colleagues launched the Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, which was endorsed by G8 leaders at the Lough Erne Summit. Canada co-sponsored Security Council Resolution 2106 at the United Nations in June. This resolution adds greater operational detail to previous resolutions on preventing sexual violence and reiterates that member states and United Nations entities must do more to combat impunity for these crimes. Also in June, Canada led at the Human Rights Council in Geneva the development of the resolution on eliminating violence against women, which contains strong language on the prevention of sexual violence in conflict. In September at the UN General Assembly, Minister Baird, with others, launched the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which has now been endorsed by 137 UN member states.

[Translation]

I will now turn to countries of recent concern. We have also been addressing the well-being of women and girls in specific situations of concern. For example, last December, in Geneva, Canada co-sponsored a round table on the role of Syrian women in resolving the crisis. This event brought together female and male representatives of Syrian civil society, including Mr. Brahimi, and other interested parties, to highlight the positive role that Syrian women can play in a Syrian peace process. Canada has committed $353.5 million in humanitarian assistance to address the needs of those affected by the Syrian crisis, including women and children.

In response to the troubling situation in the Central African Republic, this past December, Canada's ambassador to the UN convened a high-level meeting in Geneva involving states and key international humanitarian agencies to bring attention to the plight of civilians in the CAR, including women and children, and to plan appropriate responses. In Afghanistan, promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls continues to be a priority for Canada. Examples of our programming to this end include our support of $9.5 million from 2011 to 2014 to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, making Canada its largest donor.

Also in Afghanistan, a very exciting project is under way and the results have been tremendous. We have helped to establish the remarkable first family support call centre.

We have been outspoken on the need for the Afghan government to implement the law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and to ensure that no compromises are made on the hard-won rights Afghan women have gained. Minister Baird and Minister of State Yelich made statements to that effect in February of this year.

Canada's strong advocacy at the UN has helped to strengthen the language regarding the protection of women's rights in resolutions on Afghanistan.

[English]

Briefly, committee members, I will turn to programming. I'd also like to highlight a few country-specific examples to illustrate, as I said, not only our leadership but also the important results that we and other international actors are bringing on the issue of women, peace and security.

The government works to promote the role of women and to prevent sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations through programming in partnership with countries and non-governmental organizations that have the capacity and the experience to make a difference in the field.

An example from Colombia: Canada supported training to 300 public prosecutors in Colombia, specialized professionals and advisers to the Attorney General on the implementation of the country's new criminal prosecution policy. Technical advice is also provided to the ombudsman's office on how to address Afro and indigenous women victims, taking into account their customs and the role of women within those marginalized societies in Colombia.

Through its development efforts, Canada disbursed almost $165 million in fiscal year 2012-13 to tackle issues related to women, peace and security, including activities related to human rights and humanitarian assistance.

One final example before I close: In Burma's border areas, Canadian support is enabling women to take on community leadership roles and promoting greater inclusion of women on women's human rights. As a result, ethnic civil society organizations have increased women's representation in leadership positions from 22 per cent in 2009 to 41 per cent in 2013.

Committee members, these are some concrete examples of where our programming, our diplomacy, advocacy and leadership have made a difference on the ground. There are other examples. I'd like to close with outlining our plans for the conduct of the mid-term review of the action plan, which is currently in progress.

The action plan, which we finalized it in 2010, recognizes that conflict situations change. They're dynamic. You need to respond to changing needs and lessons when you're working in conflict situations. Sustainable change is a long-term endeavour.

The mid-term review we're doing is drawing on the experience and lessons of the past three years, including the two published reports, and will recommend changes to ensure that the actions and indicators remain relevant to our work in conflict-affected and fragile states. The review will include consultations with interested Canadian stakeholders, and the results of this review will be included in the next action plan report for fiscal year 2013-14.

Thank you. My colleagues and I will be pleased to answer your questions. Before that, I will pass to my colleague from the Department of National Defence, Ms. Sinclair.

The Chair: Before we ask Ms. Sinclair to speak, Senator Andreychuk has just joined us. She's a long-time member of the committee, and I'm pleased to see that Ms. Bennett, the critic on the status of women, is with us today. Welcome to our committee. We're happy to have you here as well.

We'll now go on to hear from Ms. Sinclair, from the Department of National Defence.

Jill Sinclair, Assistant Deputy Minister Policy, National Defence: Thank you so much, Madam Chair, for your kind comments to the Canadian Armed Forces and to us.

[Translation]

Madam Chair, thank you for the opportunity to provide the committee with an update on the progress the Department of National Defence has made in carrying out Canada's Action Plan for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security.

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are committed to continuing their efforts to implement these resolutions in an effective and efficient manner.

[English]

We do that by collaborating closely with our partners in Foreign Affairs, as Kerry has said, and other government departments to ensure we are aligned and supporting Canada's priorities and objectives as stated in Canada's national action plan.

I'd like to focus my comments today on three main areas that I think are illustrative of National Defence's and the Canadian Armed Forces' progress in mainstreaming gender as well as in promoting women's roles in international peace and security. These areas are training provided to both Canadian and foreign military personnel; the promotion of the women, peace and security agenda in NATO; and integration of women in Canada's Armed Forces.

In terms of training, the first step towards implementing the UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security and protecting the rights of women and girls in armed conflict is raising awareness about how women become more vulnerable and exposed to violence in conflict situations.

From this point of view, training, of course, is essential. That's why National Defence has incorporated women, peace and security issues, and I might say the subsequent resolutions, too, because, as we know, Resolution 1325 is just part of a package, a family of resolutions that deal with these issues, six in total. We incorporate these issues in our pre- deployment training. For example, as part of our military observer course given by the Peace Support Training Centre, the women and conflict presentation exposes deploying military personnel to the impact of conflict on women. The course is designed to familiarize deploying personnel with the international standards on gender equality and integration, which are derived from the Security Council resolutions, the family of them, including Resolution 1325. I might say Resolution 1325 is explicitly part of the curriculum. I'm delighted to have Major Sylvester, Deputy Commandant of the centre, to answer more detailed questions.

These issues are also integrated in pre-deployment training covering human rights, code of conduct and ethics, cultural awareness and the Law of Armed Conflict.

Making women, peace and security issues part of pre-deployment training equips Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed in operations around the world with the necessary tools and knowledge to help them carry out their responsibilities related to the prevention of violence against women and girls.

In fact, this multi-dimensional training helped enables Canadian Armed Forces personnel to deal effectively with cultural and gender sensitivities, whether they are deployed to Afghanistan, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo or South Sudan or elsewhere in the world.

National Defence also contributes to raising awareness of women, peace and security issues by incorporating these issues into the training we provide under the department's Military Training and Cooperation Program.

For example, we have a Tactical Operations Staff Course, which is a three-week program that includes, amongst other issues, training on the role of women in the military and preventing violence against women and girls.

From 2006 to 2013, all our African member countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, Botswana, Nigeria and Ghana, have sent at least one participant to this course. We also have similar courses with which we have managed to encompass countries of the Caribbean and elsewhere in Africa.

Our efforts to implement the United Nations Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security don't stop at training. Our department also promotes the role of women in international peace and security within international organizations such as NATO.

DND participates actively in NATO's efforts to mainstream gender. We're represented at the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives, which is focused on the effective implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and related resolutions.

We also submit annual reports on our department's gender-related activities into the work that NATO compiles on behalf of all NATO members.

At the NATO summit in Chicago in 2012, the allies recommitted themselves to this by endorsing a strategic progress report on mainstreaming UN resolutions in NATO-led operations, and NATO has done considerable work in this regard.

That report resulted in an implementation plan, which was endorsed by Canada, by defence ministers, just this past October, that aims at fully implementing the family of resolutions that relate to women, peace and security.

Madam Chair and senators, women have played, and continue to play, an essential role in the Canadian Armed Forces and our department.

As we have reported in the first two progress reports of Canada's national action plan, which I will also call C-NAP to keep it short, Canada is a world leader in terms of the number of women in the military and the functions in which they serve. Women in the Canadian Armed Forces are eligible to serve in all military occupations, including combat occupations and serving on submarines.

In fact, we are one of the few NATO allies who have fully integrated women into the armed forces, and we have been so doing for many years. We're a leader.

Today, Canadian Armed Forces personnel serve in a variety of roles in international operations around the world, and we are proud of the progress we have made in integrating women into the Armed Forces and the model they serve when serving abroad on behalf of Canada.

While we recognize that work still needs to be done to fully implement all of the resolutions related to these important themes, we think that National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are doing a very good job, and we are certainly committed to doing our best on our part and continuing efforts to promote this important agenda.

Thank you again for the opportunity to address the committee this afternoon. I look forward to your questions.

The Chair: Thank you very much to both of you for your presentations. I know the committee really appreciates it.

I will put all my questions at once and ask you to answer them.

Ms. Buck, I have a question for you. The last time the committee met on this report, we were assured that the national action plan would be tabled shortly, and it wasn't. My concern is that two plans were tabled this year, one in January and one in March. Why did you table two reports, one after the other? Why has there been a delay? That gives me concern. What steps have been taken to complete the mid-term review provided for in the C-NAP?

I've read both of the national action plan reports that the minister tabled in Parliament, and yes lots of very good activity has taken place, but at this point on everybody's mind are the peace talks — or not the peace talks for now — on Syria. I would appreciate very much if you could tell the committee what you are doing to make sure that Resolution 1325 — Canada has always played an important role in making sure women are at the table. We know in Syria they have been at the edges of the table. I'd like to know what our government is doing to make sure that women come from the government side, which we have done in the past, come from the opposition and also have their own forum. What kind of financial support is Canada providing towards that?

I'll start with that, and then I have a question for Ms. Sinclair. Ms. Buck?

Ms. Buck: First, why was the tabling of the C-NAP report delayed? Yes, Marie Gervais-Vidricaire appeared before you and said that the next report was to be tabled imminently, and there was a delay. The release of the first report took longer than anticipated, and for that we apologize. We are learning as we go along. That's an important part of preparing the reports.

The second report was released more expeditiously, and we're working to do even better with the 2013-14 report. You have both reports before you now. They're public. In a way, it's an opportunity to ask questions on both of them and to track some of the important progress that has been made.

The mid-term review is at an early stage. We haven't scoped out every step for the mid-term review. It will include consultation with interested Canadian stakeholders. We anticipate that the mid-term review will be concluded this spring, and our intention is to include the results of the mid-term review into the third annual report on the action plan for 2013-14.

On Syria, we're taking special steps to ensure the participation of women in peace talks on Syria. Just to step back from Syria for a second, women's participation in peace processes has been a particular focus of our work on women, peace and security, so Syria is one part of a larger effort we've made to ensure women are included in peace process post-conflict political transitions.

In December, in Geneva, we co-sponsored a round table specifically on the role of Syrian women in resolving the crisis. The event brought together women representatives of Syrian civil society, Mr. Brahimi, as I said, UN Women, as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It highlighted the positive role that Syrian women can play and should play in the ongoing Syrian peace process.

We continue to work closely with those actors, to closely monitor all developments on the peace process and to support efforts to ensure that women's voices are heard in the Geneva II peace process.

Our contributions on Syria go well beyond that, of course. You asked specifically about women's participation in the peace process, so I may confine myself to that now, but add as a codicil that we've also done a significant amount of work with partners on conflict-related sexual violence to ensure that sexual and gender-based crimes are tracked, that evidence is preserved and that they can be investigated and prosecuted; on funding for the documentation of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Syria; and on support for pro-democracy actors, non-violent Syrian opposition, et cetera.

Overall, to date we've committed over $350 million in humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of those affected by the conflict in Syria, and that includes a majority of women and children in regional countries. It also includes a specific arm on efforts to reduce sexual and gender-based violence.

The Chair: To both of you, one of the things that I have a concern with — it actually also applies to DFATD — under Action 10 regarding active and meaningful participation of women, as outlined in the progress reports, Indicator 10-3 addresses the numbers of women deployed in peace operations. For example, 10.8 per cent of RCMP officers participating in peace operations in 2011-12 were women, and in 2012-13, the number increased to 12 per cent.

Were targets established against which these statistics could be compared? If so, how well are the military, the RCMP and civilian departments and agencies doing in achieving these targets? I respect that you may only be able to speak for the military. What targets have you set? Are we achieving them? What are your future targets?

Ms. Sinclair: Thank you very much. To begin, I will tell you that in the last year, 13 per cent of deployed Canadian Armed Forces personnel were women, to answer that specifically.

With regard to targets, I must say that we don't set targets. We don't set targets for the very best of reasons, and that is that the CAF is completely integrated and people are deployed based on their merit, qualification and experience, and frankly, their gender has nothing to do with it.

The Chair: I respect when you say gender has nothing to do with it, but I can tell you that when I was the envoy in Darfur, one request that had been made was to have women who were in the military, so we brought women who were in the military specifically because women have something special to contribute.

I respect what you say, but I also respectfully disagree with you because there is, from time to time, a need for women to be there. That's why Resolution 1325 is in place. I highly urge you to rethink what you just said for the future.

Senator Ataullahjan: Thank you for your presentation this afternoon. My question is regarding Afghanistan, now that Canada has ended operations in Afghanistan. Do we know the impact on Afghan women? Specifically, I know Canada has talked about being gender-sensitive. I know when we had training personnel there, some women were involved in training Afghan women, whether in the police or the army. Last year, we discussed our government's focus on capacity building.

Have the Afghan women been empowered to facilitate their participation in decision making? It's a two-part question.

Ms. Buck: I can start, but I think Jill will have something to say. I also have some answers, if you wish, Madam Chair, on your question about police deployments, targets and percentages.

On Afghanistan, you asked whether a difference has been made in Afghan women's participation in decision making. Absolutely. The Afghan women parliamentarians that I met during multiple trips to Afghanistan, the Afghan women police officers that I met, the head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, these are strong women who have a voice, exercise that voice, are visible and are quite powerful. They've always been that powerful, but they didn't have that space to express that political role prior to the intervention. It would not be appropriate for Canada to claim that as the result only of us or the international community. It's Afghan women leading that. We have certainly helped to make some of the space for that.

One of the examples I gave was on the Afghan call centre, for instance. I might have some statistics that might be of use to you.

I'll give you another Afghanistan example. We had a responsive fund for women in Afghanistan where we supported more than 30,000 Afghan women and girls to access information, training on advocacy, education, professional training to enter the workforce.

We've got multiple examples, for instance, on demining in Afghanistan. Traditional Afghan society wouldn't have seen women participating in that. We had a special project to promote and encourage Afghan women to participate in demining teams, and it gives underprivileged women a steady source of income. Part of the project was to give them daycare and access to other skills training to move on from that kind of work as well.

There are multiple examples of programming we have used in Afghanistan to help bring Afghan women into that political space where they can have that space to be decision makers, absolutely.

Ms. Sinclair: To supplement on that, Canada, as part of the overall international efforts, the ISAF mission and the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan certainly put a lot of effort, with our NATO partners, into training and raising issues of gender awareness, sensitivity, and the role of girls and women in conflict.

As you know, we trained many thousands of Afghan National Security Forces. In terms of the work done while we were there, I think the awareness of gender issues, special attention to the role of girls and women, was absolutely part of the work that we did at that point. We were working in close support, as Kerry was saying, to make sure we draft in behind Afghan-led initiatives, so a national action plan for women in Afghanistan, an extremely important reference point for our trainers too. I think a number of initiatives related to giving a voice to Afghan female leaders were included within the Afghan National Security Forces.

It's very difficult work for women in Afghanistan, obviously, but Canada is part of the NATO Training Mission and did its part to bring those issues to the fore.

Senator Ataullahjan: In 2009, the law on Elimination of Violence against Women was drafted into the Constitution of Afghanistan, yet in 2012, we saw Karzai's government give in to pressure, and he had the code of conduct where they asked women to comply with the hijab, respect polygamy, refrain from travelling alone and no mingling of men and women in public.

We saw again this year where women were asked to keep silent if the violence directed at them came from a member of the family. Quite a bit of the violence that the women do face in that society is from male members.

Because of the outcry raised by the rest of the world, the law was redrafted, but does that mean we have to be constantly vigilant where Afghanistan is concerned and constantly watch?

You talk about the role Canada has played. As a member of the IPU, I have seen it personally. We had a young Afghan girl who had just been elected to the jirga, or the parliament, and she came looking for Canada. She came looking for us three, four times before she had an opportunity to speak to me.

This young girl was interested in running for a position at the IPU, but she didn't know how to do it. She came to Canada. There were 163 countries present, but she chose Canada. She said, "Can you teach me, because of the amazing influence you have and how you speak on human rights?" This girl was elected, and last week in Geneva she became chair of the Third Standing Committee.

It is a great success story for Canada. I just feel that we can't afford to turn our face away for a minute. I mean, there is an election coming on April 5, and from what I hear, Ashraf Ghani will probably be elected, which is what the women talk about.

I see the women of Afghanistan, and I sense the frustration when they come to these international conferences, because they're smarter than a lot of their male colleagues, and a lot of them are well educated. There is that sense of frustration, because the men will take the decision and go vote in a certain way.

I'm just sort of speaking about being vigilant and being aware of the women in Afghanistan, because Canada made a huge commitment, and we just have to make sure that through the commitment we made that the women don't lose the gains they have made.

Ms. Buck: While there's been a drawdown of our troop presence under ISAF, Canada remains firmly committed to Afghanistan. We have committed ongoing funding, ongoing considerable development funding for Afghanistan, security sector funding for Afghanistan, with a very clear focus on the rights of women and girls, a focus on education, maternal health, human rights. So we are there, and I do agree with you that ongoing vigilance is needed.

The Chair: Did you want to give the figures for the RCMP, Ms. Buck?

Ms. Buck: Just to say there has been a very clear rise in the percentage of civilian deployments that are women. To give you a couple of examples from START, the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force in DFATD, our non- police expert deployments are at roughly 33 per cent women.

In RCMP deployments, over the years we have seen an incredible rise, and we can be proud of it. I'll give you some historical context.

In 1989, deployments were at about 5 per cent women in former Yugoslavia. In former Yugoslavia, the second round of deployments, in 1992, was up to over 10 per cent. For the period being reported between the two reports, deployments were hovering between 12 and 13 per cent, and I know that this fiscal year we're higher than that. I don't want to give you a figure because it's still fluctuating — we haven't finished the year — but it's well over 15 per cent.

We are doing fairly well in terms of percentages. We are not at the UN percentage of 20 per cent. There are some good reasons for that, but we can always do better. You can see that through the rise in the numbers and the percentage of deployments.

The Chair: When you do have the figures, Ms. Buck, we would appreciate it if you could send them to the clerk.

Since Afghanistan was mentioned, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the work of two Canadian women who worked very hard on behalf of Afghan women, Dr. Roshan Thomas and Zeenab Kassam, who was a teacher, individual Canadians who gave their lives for women of Afghanistan, and I would like at this point to recognize their work.

Senator Eggleton: Thank you very much for your presentations and for your good work. Let me try to cover three quick subjects, if I can: training, gender analysis and benchmarking.

In the training area, I understand from these two reports that the RCMP are doing a terrific job on training on women, peace and security issues, those personnel who are being deployed overseas, but for DFATD — you must have a better acronym — your department, which now includes CIDA, of course, hence the name change, why are you doing less in terms of focusing on training? Actually, from what I read, I don't see anything about DND, so I'd like to hear about DND as well.

Also, this uneven training situation raises the question of who provides the training. Is it common training? Is it interactive? Is the effectiveness of it measured?

Ms. Buck: Thank you very much. We do two types of training in DFATD. And, no, we don't have a better acronym right now.

Senator Eggleton: Too bad.

Ms. Buck: There are two kinds of training. We do pre-deployment training for postings. To be frank, this isn't fully reflected in the report we tabled, and I think that's a gap we need to fix. If a Canadian political officer is going abroad to deal with WPS issues plus plus, human rights training has been a feature of pre-posting training for over two decades. It includes a very strong component on women's rights and gender-based analysis in all the reporting that people are doing. The vast majority of folks going out on postings have received that training. In the past year alone, for instance, we trained over 200 people on human rights, plus an additional 120 on child, early and forced marriage.

As a subset of that, for temporary deployments into conflict situations, fragile states post-conflict, where we are doing our stabilization and reconstruction programming within START, we've developed specific training modules. There, we don't train 100 per cent of our staff before they go out on deployments. I will say that we put in place a new training module on women, peace and security over the last year. The vast majority of our officers have taken that training. Some of our civilian deployments include folks from other departments, and some of them very technical, specialized deployments and some of them very rapid deployments. In those cases, we don't hit our 100 per cent mark because we might not have time. For instance, after a natural disaster, we will have folks getting on a plane and into the field in under 12 hours after a natural disaster. Sometimes they have already received their training, but not always. We might have engineers going out into the field to do specialized stuff, and those guys won't have that specific training, but anyone who is working on projects with a WPS component will have got that training.

The story is a bit better than the 42 per cent you see in the report. As I said, the vast majority of folks going out who will work on political security reporting, WPS issues, will have received that training.

There's also a significant amount of work that you haven't asked about on training of personnel from abroad on WPS that I think is very interesting as well, but I take time from my colleague.

Ms. Sinclair: I'd like to invite Major Sylvester to join in on this. I focus on two types of training. The first bit is what we do under our Military Training and Cooperation Program. Here, we have about 61 member countries that go through our program. We had 850 personnel trained under this program last year. As I mentioned in my opening comments, women, peace and security, 1325, gender, children, sexual violence, all of this is encompassed in the training that we provide through our Military Training and Cooperation Program. We train countries in all parts of Africa, in the Caribbean, Latin America and throughout Europe. It's quite extensive. I can assure you that 1325 is explicitly in the curriculum there.

In terms of the pre-deployment training for the Canadian Armed Forces, I would invite Major Sylvester to speak to that.

Major Glenn Sylvester, Deputy Commandant of the Peace Support Training Centre, National Defence: At the Peace Support Training Centre, we offer two pre-deployment training streams for people going overseas. We offer what in Canada is called the Peace Support Operator Course, which is essentially the United Nations Military Observers course. We also offer generic pre-deployment training for people going on regional missions, most of them being peacekeeping missions. In the past fiscal year, we trained about 238 members. Not every single one is deployed overseas. Some have been on standby. Both of these streams of training have two 40-minute periods that deal with human rights, and specifically one of these periods is UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

With regard to training our UN military observers, that is an accredited course that we have to be accredited by the United Nations to teach. They come over every five years and look at our course, watch it be delivered and go through our training material. I actually sat down and went through the material that we received from the United Nations for this portion of the course, and actually UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is mentioned only three times: once as a reference, once as a note to instructors and once as speaking points to students. Our training material, which I would be happy to give you a copy of, literally has an entire 40-minute lesson on 1325. This is something we have had for quite a while.

Senator Eggleton: I guess what I'm concerned with here is that it appears to be an uneven participation. Ms. Buck, you have said the 42 per cent doesn't adequately reflect the situation. The RCMP claim 100 per cent. Nevertheless, what I have also asked you about is, do you share information? Do you share best practices? Is there some commonality? Is there some measurement of the effectiveness of the training?

Ms. Buck: My apologies, senator. I had forgotten that part of it.

We don't do one common training session, but what we have done over the past year is compare training modules to use some of our partner department training modules to ensure better consistency. As well, on pre-peace operation deployments, we do joint civil-military pre-deployment training that is very intense, and, to be frank, I think it is one of the best civ-mil integrated pre-deployment training approaches of all of our partners. It's really good, and there are women, peace and security issues embedded in that training, but it's joint training. We did this in Afghanistan. A lot of important lessons were learned with that joint civ-mil training. Do we have one training course for the entire government pre-deployment? No, we have it tailored across different departments.

Senator Eggleton: You don't need to. If you're sharing best practices and that kind of thing, I think that is helpful.

If I could move on to gender analysis, if we have time here, you mentioned the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force, START. There are also uneven statistics, questionable statistics, with respect to gender analysis; according to this report, 2012-13, 46 such projects included no gender analysis, 53 included limited analysis, 21 integrated some and 9 included specific gender analysis. Why is gender analysis not a part of all of these projects?

Ms. Buck: Thank you, senator. It is now. Some of the projects that had disbursements in 2012-13 were projects that had begun in previous years, before establishment of the action plan, and gender analysis was not necessarily applied to the project activities and design. Earlier performance measurement frameworks didn't require sex-disaggregated performance indicators, so it was a gap in our programming, absolutely, but since the introduction of the action plan, we've introduced special training on the application of gender-based analysis into all project activity.

Senator Eggleton: That's good. Let me ask a final question on benchmarks and timelines. This apparently came out a couple of years ago in a report from the Secretary-General on these issues on Resolution 1325. His report contains not just indicators but benchmarks backed up by timelines to be used to measure whether or not the goals with respect to women, peace and security issues are being implemented. He apparently urged that national action plans include concrete benchmarks for measuring the success of the peace and security initiatives they undertake. Is that going to be incorporated into our Canadian national action plan?

Ms. Buck: In my introductory remarks, I focused on how pleased we are with the progress we've made. This is year three now of our action plan. We have reported with specific indicators on progress, but no, we hadn't set out benchmarks in the C-NAP at the beginning. It's something the UN has developed further since we first implemented or first put in place our C-NAP and, as part of our mid-term review, that's one of the questions we are asking.

To be frank, we've got benchmarks and progress indicators embedded in all of our individual projects, but, across the board on WPS, some elements lend themselves to benchmarks while other elements, like advocacy, don't lend themselves as easily to benchmarks. It's something we have to think through very carefully, but we are thinking it through carefully in the mid-term review.

Senator Eggleton: So it is on the table.

Ms. Buck: Yes.

Senator Seidman: I was going to ask you about training, but you've answered that quite thoroughly. If I might, I'd like to ask a more general question, and that is your assessment of the effectiveness of this resolution from the point of view of the United Nations and its system. Have you found that there has been a sufficient commitment at the highest levels? Have adequate resources and mechanisms been put in place in the UN system to ensure that it's being implemented effectively?

Ms. Buck: I started working on the issue of violence against women, for Canada but at the UN, in 1991. Some of this is my personal perspective on this. At the time, it was a brave thing to start talking about; and it was confined to some very small human rights circles inside the UN apparatus. To have the UN Security Council pronounce on it in Resolution 1325 was absolutely ground-breaking. It galvanized the harder security parts of the UN to understand the importance of this and the importance that the council placed on it, and that the system had to work better.

Violence against women was brought out of the — I have to watch my language — softer parts of the UN and brought into the mainstream; and the visibility shot up. With the number of times the Security Council has dealt with that issue, it's an important message back to the rest of the system. You have a UN special representative on sexual violence and you have very strong and powerful figures inside the UN working on the issue. Has it been effective? From my close-up perspective watching this thing since 1991, I would say yes, very much.

The UN system is big. The UN system is all of its member states; so there is still more work to be done, but that's normal. I see it embedded now in the work. Most major reports in the UN are going to have some WPS element to them, even if they are not about that at their core. So the answer is yes.

Senator Seidman: It's mainstreamed, which is key here.

Ms. Buck: Yes.

The Chair: I would like to follow up on the question that I had asked Ms. Sinclair and also Ms. Buck, indirectly. I was asking about more involvement of women because the C-NAP report of 2011-12 talks about why the Government of Canada has returned the report, and we talk about the substantive equality of men and women. The 2012-13 C-NAP report, under Action 22 at page 74, talks about engaging UN member states and agencies in improving the comprehensiveness of their approach to substantive equality of men and women.

Your reports note concern substantive equality of men and women at all stages of conflict, prevention and peacemaking, and you have put a focus on that in the reports over formal equality. Given that, I have difficulty understanding your explanation regarding the lack of development targets and treating men and women the same. How is Canada to implement the women, peace and security agenda if we don't look at including women even from our country? We have to include them as well. Therefore, I have a concern in the answer you gave, Ms. Sinclair.

Ms. Sinclair: I welcome the opportunity to go back again, because I think that I was a little too blunt, perhaps.

If in the course of a peace operation a country were to specifically say, in the example that you pointed out, that it actually needed qualified women to come and help in a peace support operation, there is no question that we would consider that. We have many, many qualified women who could be put to that task.

In responding about the targets in sort of the abstract, it wasn't to suggest we wouldn't deploy women as required. It's just that women are neither privileged nor disadvantaged because they are women in the Canadian Armed Forces as they have the same skill set and opportunities. But in certain cases, certain operations require certain skill sets, and if those are ones that women have, then of course we would step to the fore on that. I am sure we have seen that in the training we do through the Peace Support Training Centre.

The Chair: That's a given. We have moved on from that stage. There is no issue that we would not send our men and women. Our men and women are the best in the world in armed forces, and we would not send them if they were required for one skill and they didn't have it. That would be another day's discussion if that were the reality. I'm concerned because when we started on the women, peace and security agenda in 2000, it was to look at how we could include more women to make the changes. Therefore, I'm very concerned with your answer. We've heard it forever that we choose the best to send abroad. That's not what this women, peace and security agenda is about. The women, peace and security agenda is to make sure there is full participation of women, both from Canada and abroad. I leave that with you.

I was taken aback by your answer because that was what we said in 2000, and that's why this resolution was put in place.

Ms. Sinclair: If I might, Madam Chair, we understood very much the purpose, intent, spirit and letter of the resolutions and subsequent ones: Women are present in our peace support operations and women are present in the training programs. The issues of women, peace and security are incorporated throughout the training. In our engagement with foreign militaries, we certainly led the charge within NATO. The deputy gender adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation is a Canadian Forces woman. We actually make a deliberate effort to do that. I hope that clarifies it a bit. I hope that it suggests that we have moved forward, and we continue to drive this agenda.

The Chair: I look forward to hearing from you next year to learn that we have made even more improvements to meet the 20 per cent as required by the UN.

Senator Andreychuk: I have a short intervention. I'm pleased to see there is progress. We have come a fair distance in three years to identify this issue. I'm aware of the work being done in NATO, which was not there before. Every time I look somewhere within the military, I see that there is attention to this from a Canadian perspective, probably from a Western European perspective, and increasingly from Eastern Europe as those countries have come into NATO. There's been less progress in the countries that probably need it most, where conflicts have occurred and then have stabilized. You've given us some examples of some movement that you are incorporating. It seems that if this program is going to be a success, it's not the Canadian portion of it. It's going to be those countries that have found themselves in conflict.

One area that no one seems to talk about, if we're going to give 1325 any meaning, is working with the parliaments. The cultural differences often are highlighted there, and the resistance is often pointed out there. When there is a conflict and the entire international community is there, there's a tension to 1325 and women's issues. Shortly thereafter, it's business as usual. Are you paying attention to a broader interpretation of 1325, which was contemplated?

Ms. Buck: Yes, I was looking for an example, and I may have to turn to my friends. We don't need 1325 to do that, but it helps. We have been focused very much, as I said, in our programming on ensuring women's participation in peace processes as well as in political transitions post-conflict. There's an example from Libya, and this is where I'll fall a bit short because I don't have the details, so I may provide them to you later. It's one example of where we are working with women parliamentarians or women political actors to help them participate in political transitions. We've done some of that in Afghanistan, too. We're very conscious of that post-conflict phase and the importance of women.

To get back to your earlier comment that yes, we are better in NATO but the places where the conflicts are we are not so good, we have been focusing much of our WPS programming in those areas. I'll give you one broad example that might be of interest to you: the Peace Operations Training Institute, Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces. We developed with them a number of peacekeeping e-learning courses on gender perspectives and peace operations, preventing violence against women, and two courses specifically on implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325.

Our funding helps support 155,335 tuition-free enrolments for students from 77 nations in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, which amounted to 71 per cent of the enrolment for individuals on current peace missions. This means that we get it. We need to make sure that we're targeting those folks who are participating in peace support operations or who should be participating in peace support operations to make sure they do participate and that, when they do, they do so in a way that addresses not only WPS and women's sexual violence in conflict but also broader women's participation in peace and security.

The Chair: I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for the work you do and for your presentation today. As you know, the committee, on a regular basis, has the desire to meet with you and work with you. We look forward to the tabling of your next report, and we look forward to working with you.

For our second panel today, we have Liz Bernstein, from Nobel Women's Initiative; from Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Marilou McPhedran, Member of the Board of Directors; and from Women, Peace and Security Network Ð Canada, Jessica Tomlin, Executive Director of MATCH International. All three of you are not new to our committee. We always appreciate your support, and if it's okay with all of you, we will start with Marilou McPhedran.

Marilou McPhedran, Member of the Board of Directors, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace: Thank you so much, Madam Chair.

Honourable senators, civil society colleagues, members of Parliament, if I may, I'd like to say hello to students in my human rights class who are watching the live stream of this hearing from the University of Winnipeg instead of hearing me lecture in person in class today. Thank you also for the opportunity to speak at this point to bring brief remarks on behalf of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace to express concerns and suggestions regarding Canada's national action plan of 2010 and the two annual progress reports on its implementation released recently by the government.

Since its founding in 1960, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace members have advocated domestically and internationally for the abolition of war, demilitarization, and the inclusion of women in decision making at all levels related to peace and security.

My remarks today fix on the nexus of women's human rights and women's human security as essential components to law, policy and actions in our constitutional democracy in a global context.

The adoption of 1325 by the Security Council in 2000 confirmed further the decades-long Voice of Women rationale for women's inclusion for the prevention of violent conflict, protection from its harms and participation in the machinery of decision making. Voice of Women members are pleased to be a founding member organization of the Women, Peace and Security Network - Canada, as well as active with many other peace-linked affiliations, including accreditation by the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Last week I returned from the fifty-eighth session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, where Voice of Women, for the twenty-fourth time, participated. This year we hosted a packed intergenerational, international dialogue on peace education, featuring young Canadian women leaders from Newfoundland, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, outlining peace camps that they are building for girls, with Voice of Women support, which have generated strong international interest in adaptation of this model. When I presented to this committee last May, I shared with you one of these peace education projects, resulting in a new women and peace and security badge being developed with Girl Guides in Manitoba.

In my closing remarks, I will make four recommendations on behalf of Voice of Women, but let me highlight now our deep conviction that military training and practice in non-violent responses to conflict need to be essential and immediate priorities, utilizing women's leadership at every level.

Let me put my remarks in the context of the agreed conclusions reached just a few days ago at the fifty-eighth session of the CSW:

The Commission notes the universal context of gender equality and recognizes that almost fifteen years after the Millennium Development Goals were launched, no country has achieved equality for women and girls, and significant levels of inequality between women and men persist . . . The Commission reaffirms the vital role of women as agents of development, and recognizes that gender equality and the empowerment of women must be achieved to realize the unfinished business . . .

Lest anyone listening make the mistake of isolating women, peace and security in a silo, separate from women's human rights, including the right to development, let me assure you that women the world over can thrive at the nexus of human rights and human security when supported by the normative framework constructed with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW, the suite of women, peace and security council resolutions, beginning with 1325, and other rights defined by international law, to which Canada is legally obligated.

To illustrate the alignment of this most recent consensus statement from the UN on women's rights, let us remember the key commitments made by the C-NAP in 2010. As civil society leaders have brought to this committee's attention previously, the C-NAP was rather disappointing and weak, given the absence of any specific commitments on resources to implement the aspirations. We appreciate the release of the long-awaited reports this year, but we ask for more sharing of information in a timely and open manner by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and the Department of Defence and other agencies such as the RCMP and departments working in this area.

Canadian officials have consistently been hospitable, open and generous to students that I bring to Ottawa and to the UN and New York, for which we are sincerely appreciative. However, as the coordinating author of the Canada chapter and the recently released 2013 Civil Society Monitoring Report on Security Council Resolution 1325 by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, I want you to know it was a tough day to be with my students at the launch of this report hosted by the Canadian mission to the UN in New York and to see that Canada's rating on the international scorecard could have been so much better if only information had been shared by government departments when it was requested for the Canada chapter, because the websites are so out of date. No one benefits when Canada appears to be underperforming on international indicators on women, peace and security.

Let me end with four recommendations for specific actions to augment effective implementation of the lofty words in C-NAP. Recommendation 1: That the recently merged and renamed Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development adopt a new, clear, strong gender equality policy with an entrenched, adequately resourced mechanism for reporting and measuring intra-departmental progress toward implementation targets across all areas of the department's work, within the normative framework, consistent with Canada's human rights and human security obligations under CEDAW, the new CEDAW general recommendation 30, the full suite of women, peace and security resolutions.

Recommendation 2: That the Harper government appoint a high-level champion on women, peace and security issues — and on this we strongly agree with our sister organization, the Women, Peace and Security Network — with a dedicated budget for liaison and inclusion of women's civil society organizations with demonstrated expertise in this field.

Recommendation 3: We urge this committee to examine the unjust impact of Canada's restricting funding for women's access to the full range of reproductive health services in humanitarian crises and conflict situations. This restriction is contrary to the spirit of the most recent Security Council Resolution 2122, which specifically states:

Recognizing the importance of Member States and United Nations entities seeking to ensure humanitarian aid and funding includes provision for the full range of medical, legal, psychosocial and livelihood services to women affected by armed conflict and post-conflict situations, and noting the need for access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including regarding pregnancies resulting from rape, without discrimination . . .

Lastly, Voice of Women uses evidence-based advocacy, but solid, up-to-date evidence from our government needs to be more openly shared in Canada and in countries where Canada is helping to support peace building. We recommend that Canada collect regularly and disseminate statistics on the minimum set of gender indicators and the core set of violence against women indicators adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission in 2013.

Thank you for this opportunity to bring feasible recommendations for immediate steps to implement C-NAP on behalf of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.

The Chair: Thank you. Can we now hear from Ms. Bernstein?

Liz Bernstein, Executive Director, Nobel Women's Initiative: Thank you. Madam Chair, senators, colleagues, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.

The Nobel Women's Initiative was founded in 2006 by six courageous women Nobel Peace Prize laureates to magnify the power and visibility of women working in countries around the world for peace with justice and equality. Over the last eight years, we have supported grassroots women's organizations and movements by spotlighting and promoting their work — important work on the ground building peace in their communities — providing access to officials, amplifying their messages to the international community and the media, and bringing them together to build new networks. The women we support come from a range of conflict-affected areas, including but certainly not limited to Sudan, Burma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Iran.

Three weeks ago, we took a delegation of Canadian and American women to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There we met with local women activists, sexual violence survivors, government officials and representatives from the UN and other international organizations. As you've probably heard before, sexual violence in the DRC is a crisis of epic proportions. A recent study estimated that 48 women are raped there every hour. It's hard to know if that statistic is true or not, but I can tell you from this trip that it was hard to meet a woman in the Congo who has not been touched in some way by sexual violence.

I want to tell you about some of the extraordinary women we met. From October 2012 to May 2013, 16-year-old Mireille was held by militia men and repeatedly raped, sometimes by 10 men at once. She became pregnant and now has an eight-month-old son. She told us that she wonders what she will tell her son. Every time she looks at her child, she sees the faces of her attackers. She told us her story in hopes that we would speak out and share it with others in the international community, as we're doing here today, as she wants us to rally to stop the atrocities. She echoed the calls of so many women we met who told us, "On a soif de la paix" — "We thirst for peace."

The war in DRC is meant to be over. The peace agreement was signed in 2009, yet peace has not come for the women of DRC. What we have learned in the DRC, and indeed in so many countries around the world, is that sexual violence does not abate with the signing of peace agreements. In many cases, women are not in a physical or psychological state to take care of the children born of rape, rejecting or even abusing them. Fragile legal systems do not often prioritize prosecutions of rape, and some even allow or encourage rapists to marry their victims in order to escape punishment. And the cycle of violence continues.

Lucky for Mireille, she received support from other women who directed her to SOFEPADI, Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral. SOFEPADI was founded in 2003 by 24 women in the Congo committed to fighting against impunity for sexual violence in the Ituri and North Kivu provinces of DRC. As they so proudly showed us around their clinic in Bunia that morning, they told us how it is the only one in an area the size of Spain that supports rape victims holistically by providing medical services, legal accompaniment and psychological services. It does not get government funding or international support, but it is an example of everything that our governments and international organizations aspire to. SOFEPADI delivers highly effective services and support to women, tailored to their specific needs and at a very low cost. It is sustainable because the idea came from the grassroots, their solutions are homegrown, and the women who once entered the doors as victims carry on to become the next care providers and change agents.

That afternoon, we had the privilege of meeting 30 women from organizations supported by the Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises. SOFEPADI launched the Congolese women's fund to provide small grants of $1,000 to $5,000 to small women's organizations in villages far from cities and far from the eyes of international donors. It was one of the most inspiring afternoons of the trip, as woman after woman shared what she and her organization, their villages, were doing to support women, end violence and build peaceful communities on such a shoestring. It's exactly these kinds of efforts that the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is meant to support and foster.

As you well know, 1325 came into being and was a historic moment and significant milestone for women working for peace with justice and equality. It is meant to spearhead mechanisms and policies that would bring women to the peace tables to negotiate their future in post-conflict settings, to highlight the impact of war on women and to eliminate violence against women in conflict, including sexual violence.

Sadly, governments around the world have failed to live up to their promise to bring women to the centre of peace processes. Women have represented fewer than 8 per cent of participants and fewer than 3 per cent of signatories, and no woman has ever been appointed chief or lead mediator in UN-sponsored peace talks.

For 14 years now, women have worked hard to ensure governments around the world are implementing UN Security Resolution 1325, but they face tremendous obstacles, discrimination, and indeed threats as they organize for peace in their communities.

Let me give you two examples. As we heard earlier, the women of Syria were excluded from the peace talks that took place in January 2014 in Geneva, known as Geneva II. Although they've had events such as the one we heard, Syrian women campaigned for months to be included. On the day of the negotiations, they were standing outside ready to participate, but the doors remained closed to the women of Syria.

Another example is in Burma, or Myanmar. Women have been under attack as part of military offensives by the Burmese military against ethnic groups. Women's grassroots organizations have spared no efforts to document thousands of cases of rape committed by the military and have advocated for years for an international inquiry into rape as a weapon of war in Burma. Moreover, they have organized trainings at the community level about 1325. Yet as another chance of a nationwide ceasefire is approaching, they seem to be systematically excluded once again. And we know from a 2012 study of 83 peace agreements that they are 60 per cent less likely to fail when they're inclusive.

Throughout the numerous delegations we have had the privilege to undertake, we have witnessed the inspiring work of women's organizations like those I shared today in the DRC, Syria and Burma, and there are peacemakers stitching their communities back together after violence and insecurity.

The challenges are vast, but there is much that Canada and the international community can do to support these women in bringing peace to their communities. Most pressingly, we must work together to stop rape and sexual violence in conflict. Rape is used as a war strategy to destroy communities, as I've shared, and indeed the social fabric of society.

Two years ago, the laureates of the Nobel Women's Initiative, together with dozens of experts and grassroots organizations, came together to form the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. The campaign calls for powerful and urgent leadership on the local, national, regional and international levels to prevent and stop rape and gender violence in war and conflict situations; a dramatic increase in resources for prevention and protection for psychosocial and physical healing for survivors, their families and communities, including concerted efforts to end the stigma of survivors; and justice for victims, including prosecution of perpetrators at national, regional and international levels, and comprehensive reparations for survivors.

Governments have indeed taken note of our concerted efforts. We are pleased to see that this issue is gaining momentum on the international agenda, and the first ever Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict will be hosted by the U.K. this June. It is time for all our governments to show leadership in living up to their commitments and ensuring UNSCR 1325, along with all the related resolutions, is fully implemented.

Canada has a key role to play in this effort. Today I join with my colleagues — we're also proud members of the Women, Peace and Security Network in Canada — to ask for bold leadership by the Canadian government to support efforts around the world to end sexual violence in conflict.

Some of the specific requests that the campaign is calling on the Government of Canada to do are to participate meaningfully at the ministerial level in the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London in June and to work with civil society — we're ready to work with you — to develop concrete, long-term commitments. Leadership requires resources, as you well know, so the campaign is calling on Canada to create a global fund to support women's organizations and women's human rights defenders working on women's rights, specifically on sexual violence.

We're also calling for the Government of Canada to fund the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, as my colleague Marilou mentioned earlier, as indeed she pointed out, recognized in Security Council Resolution 2122.

The campaign is also calling on the Government of Canada to sign the arms trade treaty as soon as possible, and the campaign is asking that the commitments made by the Government of Canada through Canada's Action Plan for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security be fully implemented and that women's organizations in Canada be included as allies in the full process.

To help accomplish this, the campaign is asking for the appointment of a high-level champion for ending sexual violence in conflict that can liaise between government departments and with civil society and help us monitor the implementation of the C-NAP.

In conclusion, thank you for the opportunity to appear today. We look forward to continuing this discussion in the future.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms. Bernstein. We will now go to Ms. Jessica Tomlin of the Women, Peace and Security Network.

Jessica Tomlin, Executive Director, MATCH International, Women, Peace and Security Network Ð Canada: Thank you very much, Madam Chair, and good evening to all. I would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Jess Tomlin and I am the executive director of the MATCH International Women's Fund, which is a proud member also of the Women, Peace and Security Network of Canada.

The network itself is entirely volunteer-based and is made up of Canadian organizations and individuals from around the country who do two things, primarily. The first is promoting and monitoring the efforts of the Government of Canada to implement and support the United Nations Security Council on women, peace and security issues, and the second is providing a forum for exchange and action amongst Canadian civil society specifically on issues in relation to women, peace and security.

Many of us within the group represent organizations or work individually in regions of conflict such as the Congo, Colombia and the Middle East, and we work directly with partners who are struggling to build peace first-hand and promote the rights of women in these processes. The groups that I'm representing here today continue to look to Canada for leadership on these issues.

I can take a moment to tell you about the MATCH International Women's Fund. MATCH International is an organization that has been a feminist development organization for the last 40 years but has recently become a grant- making agency that works to support women's rights organizations in the global south. We make an intentional grant- making effort to support women particularly in situations of conflict, and like Nobel Women's Initiative we have a great deal of interest and presence in places where women are most disproportionately affected by rape and violent conflict. Specifically, we work on forced disappearance of women brought on by the conflict in Colombia. We work to support women's rights organizations in the Congo, specifically mobilizing young women within the national women's rights movement to harness technology and social media to talk about rape and violent conflict.

We are working in Uganda incorporating women's meaningful participation in the peace negotiations within the Great Lakes conflict conversation.

When we speak about the issue of women, peace and security, we are referring, as the Women, Peace and Security Network, to the broad suite of issues addressed by the UN Security Council on this theme. Since 2000, seven resolutions have been adopted that call for women's equal and full participation as active agents in the prevention and resolution of conflict, peacekeeping, peace building and post-reconstruction.

If I can take a few moments of your time to reflect on the C-NAP, while the days are early and the C-NAP has just recently been circulated, we do have some preliminary comments.

As you know, the Government of Canada released its national action plan on women, peace and security in October 2010. After the long delay we were pleased to see that the government released its second annual report earlier this month, as was mentioned earlier.

While our analysis of these reports is still ongoing, the reports are long and full of detail, and it can be difficult for us to pull out overall themes or identify gaps. I will, though, try to make some preliminary observations on behalf of the network.

First, we would like to applaud the government and Minister Baird for the statements in support of ending violence against women in conflict. We appreciate seeing the listing of departmental initiatives, funded projects and activities, and we note that Canada has funded some important work on women, peace and security around the world, including support for the crucial work of the Women's League of Burma and a national conference on 1325 in South Sudan.

Second, we are pleased to see that the second report notes — and I emphasize — "the empowerment of women in decision-making processes, including for conflict resolution, is central to Canada's foreign policy." This is a strong statement, and we hope to see this centrally reflected in future initiatives.

Third, despite all the information in the report, it is unfortunately difficult to actually get a sense of the overall priority these issues have in Canadian policy-making and programming. Information is presented anecdotally, often without an overall context on how these specific initiatives inform broader diplomatic, defence or development initiatives. Given that the C-NAP did not have targets, it is also difficult to know if progress was made more or less than anticipated or planned. Finally, most of the report focuses on activities carried out, rather than on analysis of changes or results to be achieved.

Fourth, given how the information is presented in the reports, it is difficult to track the financial investments in women, peace and security initiatives and how these investments compare to the total of overall investments. We do note, however, and I think this is an important point, that according to the reporting under Indicator 3-1, the projects reported on by the stabilization and reconstruction program, only 7 per cent or 9 projects specifically targeted gender equality issues. Furthermore, and disappointingly, close to four out of five projects in this same group had no or only limited gender analysis.

Finally, to this point, and in looking at the two reports, it would have been interesting to see a discussion, rather an honest reflection of what did not go as planned and where the government thinks it could be doing better. Furthermore, it is not clear how having a national action plan is contributing increased resources going to these important issues or if Canada is achieving improved results in this area. It is a telling story indeed that builds on our effectiveness in promoting both the role and the rights of women in situations of conflict. Are we telling the right story? Are we reflecting effectively the progress that we have made, or are we simply just reporting back on simple information and anecdotally? Ultimately, I think we all want this information to be useful.

It is useful to be here today to engage in this discussion, and if you will allow me, I will now take a moment to present some of the recommendations as a part of my testimony based on the C-NAP.

My first overarching recommendation is in relation to leadership. In general, across the board we urge the Government of Canada to meaningfully embrace the role of leadership, which means a long-term commitment and resources to women, peace and security issues. This specifically includes supporting survivors and ending sexual violence in conflict.

Being a leader involves significant resource investments. Minister Leitch recently noted at the Commission on the Status of Women that Canada had contributed $2.85 billion to the Muskoka Initiative on maternal and child health. A commitment of comparable size to ending violence against women at home and abroad would truly enable Canada to claim the title of leader in the women, peace and security sector and the violence against women sector more broadly. Being a leader involves ensuring that there is a robust policy framework guiding our international relations that truly does have the rights of women and girls as one of its guiding principles. Will the newly merged Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development adopt a strong gender equality policy that mandates consistent gender analysis of all initiatives and gives priority to explicit gender equality results across all areas — trade, development and defence — in all areas of the department's work, including peace and security?

In conclusion, if I can just take a quick moment to build on a couple of additional recommendations, I cannot underscore enough in a moment the importance of grassroots women's rights organizations and human rights defenders and the role that they play in situations of conflict. These organizations are the kinds of organizations that my organization supports. We know that the average annual budget of these organizations is under $20,000 a year. We know that one in five do not know where their rent is coming from next month. We know they are volunteer driven, they have no reserves, and yet they are the ones who continue to persevere in the most troubling and complex circumstances.

We would like to see a real and legitimate commitment to supporting the grassroots movements of women's rights organizations who are holding ground and breaking ground in Syria, in the Congo and all over the world. We have recommendations for you, if you need them.

The second thing I would like to highlight is that the future NAP reporting will facilitate an understanding of how the government has actually contributed to changes and how women, peace and security objectives inform and influence broader policy and programming directions, and that the government should consult with and involve Canadian civil society — I think that's something you've heard from all three of us here today — which includes women's organizations, development NGOs and peace organizations in future stages of the NAP. We want to work with you.

Finally, we strongly believe that Canadian progress on women, peace and security issues will be possible only in the context of a Canadian foreign policy that includes broad support for gender equality and women's empowerment. The newly merged Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development offers an excellent opportunity to ensure that women's rights are supported across the entire department. However, in order to take advantage of this opportunity, the department will have to invest resources, strengthen policy commitments and put the rights of women and girls at the centre rather than at the margins of policy and action.

In conclusion, we would like to thank the senators for the opportunity to appear here today and welcome the opportunity to engage and further discuss these issues with you both today and in the future.

The Chair: Thank you very much for all three presentations. We appreciate your continuing work on the issue of women, peace and security. You are a very integral part of this agenda, so thank you very much for all of your three presentations.

When we heard from you earlier on last year, one of the concerns was consultation between your groups and the government before preparing the national action plan. I understand that from 2006 to 2010 the government said they were consulting, so it took them that long to table the first plan. I would appreciate it if you could tell the committee what consultations look like these days between you and the government.

Ms. Tomlin: I can answer generally. Since the NAP was adopted, there has been one meeting with the interdepartmental committee, as per our records at the Women, Peace and Security Network.

The Chair: Is there anything else to add?

Ms. McPhedran: Since the C-NAP was adopted, I'm not aware of any invitation for any consultation to Canadian Voice of Women for Peace to participate in the kind of meetings that we saw much more of prior to 2006.

The Chair: You said you were in New York, so I'm sure you networked with many of the other women's groups. What is the experience of other women's groups in other countries about consultation between them and their governments?

Ms. McPhedran: I think there is a range of experiences. However, for countries that would be considered perhaps in an equivalent category of advantage to Canada, we have very clear evidence of a higher level of participation, a higher level of funding, and I'll give some specific examples: Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. There is a definite disadvantage that we have to honestly acknowledge in many of these situations. We're not going in with the information. We haven't had the discussions.

Actually, I'll just speak anecdotally for a moment. I've been doing this now for 20 years and I think I can probably claim seniority on this panel. It's a very different experience now to be a Canadian in the international context because we don't have the information a lot of the time where we can make significant contributions to the drafting and the forward-looking strategies that are so badly needed.

Ms. Bernstein: I would agree that for us as well the experience is the same as what Ms. McPhedran has outlined.

Senator Ataullahjan: Thank you for your presentations. We know that the advancement of the rights of women and girls must also involve men and boys. The government has made a conscious effort to analyze the differential impact of conflict on women, girls, men and boys in order to provide effective protection to vulnerable groups.

To what extent are we focusing our efforts on men and boys with regard to women, peace and security? How important is it to focus our attention on the male population with regard to 1325?

Ms. McPhedran: We would agree that it's very important. We would agree also that the gathering of evidence, the disaggregation of data and the analysis of that for gender differences is crucial. In many cases, as has been acknowledged in the progress reports that were released within the last two months, this is an area which needs a great deal more attention and resources.

From the perspective of civil society, I can tell you that for the first time in 24 years the Voice of Women for Peace included two men as delegates as part of our delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women. This year we also had one male involved in working with us. They have come to it not simply because they are male, but because they are actively working in their communities on issues of human rights and women, peace and security. They see, both individually and from their respective organizations, the very strong importance of there being an alignment. The shared focus though is on women's equality — the human rights of women and girls.

In one of the annual reports that have been released recently there's been a very strong and positive indication of a shift under the title of "A Key Lesson Learned." The government's report clearly states the benefit of casting the implementation of the women, peace and security resolutions as an important means of contributing to the full realization of human rights, peace and security and to the effectiveness of responses by the international community to conflict situations or cases of acute fragility, thereby building peace that advances equality between women and men.

Along a similar line, further down in the report, there is, again, under "Lessons Learned," a commitment to more analysis, more gathering of data that does in fact help us understand the differential impact and what works and doesn't work through a gender lens.

Ms. Bernstein: I'll add something briefly. As part of the international campaign to stop rape and gender violence, we are certainly aware of the necessity to work together. Two members of the advisory committee, the Sonke Gender Justice Network based in South Africa and Promundo based in Brazil, are part of an international network alliance working with organizations internationally on the importance, as Marilou said, of engaging men in the work for gender equality and for women's equality, and it's fantastic. We were able to meet partners of theirs, for example, in Congo, the Congo Men's Network. We were able to meet with them and they are doing work with men, particularly around positive notions of fatherhood and things like this, because a lot of the analysis coming out is really the levels of violence perpetrated by the army, but so many of those men were themselves abused in the army. Finding new ways to work with them as well is very important and interesting to learn from. It seems they are just starting some of this work.

Again, there is a caution that we not too quickly shift funding into men's networks rather than women's rights organizations. On the ground, I believe we still need to keep the support going to the women's rights organizations.

Ms. Tomlin: To emphasize Liz's point, what we see when we support women's rights organizations working at the grassroots level is that they are working in all sorts of innovative and creative ways to work amongst men in their villages, communities and provinces. Really, it's that leadership that we get behind and what's safe, what works, what doesn't work, what's culturally appropriate and what's not. That leadership is something we strive to just support and they direct.

Senator Eggleton: I have a question, but first a comment. Thank you for your good efforts and presentations today. I come away with several suggestions that I'm very receptive to, for example, the idea of Canada taking stronger leadership, a higher level champion in these efforts; full reproduction services; and the concern I also share with you about the suffering of Canada's international reputation on this and many other issues at the moment. I won't get into that too much further or I'll be accused of getting too political on the issue.

Also, with regard to the arms proliferation, we need to sign the Arms Trade Treaty.

Ms. Tomlin, you mentioned grassroots organizations, and I assume you are talking about grassroots organizations of women in conflict countries. You mentioned that they operate on a shoestring; they have very little money to survive and do their work. Is the Canadian government currently giving any of these organizations any money?

Ms. Tomlin: No, not really, not in a significant way. The big challenge is the way the development agenda has moved over the last number of years in efforts to be publicly accountable, demonstrate impact and results. It really doesn't align with how these organizations function, which sometimes is under a tree. They may not have the monitoring and evaluation assessment tools that are required. We know that 90 per cent of women's rights organizations working in the global south cannot access funds from multilateral or bilateral sources, and that's largely because they don't have the right accountancy procedures. Yet, these organizations have been around for 30 years and they'll be around for 30 more, and they are the catalytic component of true and transformative change.

Senator Eggleton: Are there other countries under their programs similar to C-NAP, their national action programs? Are they providing some assistance, direct funding or other forms of assistance to those same organizations?

Ms. Tomlin: Yes, and Marilou may want to weigh in, but there are a number of movements afoot.

First of all, the role of women's funds is really significant. There are a number of big global women's funds, and MATCH is Canada's face to that, but certainly there are others and they are working in significant figures. They are grant-making, raising money in countries of wealth and getting that money into the hands of women's rights organizations. We are not talking big numbers here; we are talking sometimes $10,000 or $20,000 in terms of annual contributions and sometimes more for larger or regional institutions.

The U.K. has had some leadership there in relation to ensuring that they have mechanisms that allow them to be funding women's rights organizations at the grassroots level. The Netherlands as well has been a leader in that regard. I don't know, Liz, or Marilou, if you would like to add.

Ms. Bernstein: I will add to the example of the Netherlands. Six years ago, they started to fund the MDG3 Fund to achieve the third millennium development goal of equality of 50 million euros over three years for women's rights organizations specifically. When that finished, they launched another fund of 70 million euros, which is called the Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women fund. And it's fantastic investing in women's organizations and women's rights organizations, but when faced with this challenge, they couldn't necessarily fund these small groups we're talking about. They did things like support women's funds to then have them re-grant to the smaller groups who could manage that. Jessica's counterpart in the United States, for example, the Global Fund for Women, was a recipient of some of that funding from the Dutch government.

Ms. McPhedran: I would add one additional point on that model. It includes essentially a public-private partnership model where you end up with governmental funds linking with private foundation funds, and sometimes also you will see, for example, Cordaid in the Netherlands, the largest federation of funding agencies that are faith-based, and you get sources of funding coming together to then get flowed not only to send technical assistance, which is often very important, but also to help to sustain on the ground, on the front lines, the work that these grassroots organizations are doing. The cost-benefit analysis of this work comes out with sterling benefit-for-cost results time and time again. In some ways, we're asking for the wrong thing in wanting the accountancy to meet the models that in our country we feel are essential. This is not something we should be exporting.

Senator Andreychuk: I just want clarification. You say that some women's groups are not being funded. But I know that Canada does fund women's groups, so which groups and how do you catalogue them as projects? I don't think we have time, but if you would let me know what groups you were talking about and give that to the clerk, it would be helpful. I'm in contact with many groups that are being funded and work on women's issues and on violence, so I'm a little confused as to what we're talking about here, really. It may be that DFID funds some and the Netherlands funds some and does it on a specific MDG basis or on a women's basis, but there are other projects that are under maternal health that attack violence issues in conflict areas, so I'm baffled as to which organization, because, obviously, Canada can't fund them all but neither does DFID. Can we figure out what groups you are talking about, and then I think we should ask the government to respond on what they're doing. I'm confused, basically, and I would certainly like a clarification. If there are best practices, that may be a way to flush them out.

The Chair: Could you do that, Ms. Tomlin? Could you help us with that?

Ms. Tomlin: I certainly can.

The Chair: Thank you. The women, peace and security agenda is about getting women to participate in peacemaking, peace building, peacekeeping and reconstruction. The one big issue at the moment is Syria. I am disappointed with the role our government has played in bringing women to the peace tables in Geneva for the Syria peacekeeping process or peacemaking process. Could I get your comments on that?

Ms. McPhedran: In this regard, I think there is one primary focus in the situation that we are seeing coming out of Syria and the Geneva I and II, and that is the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Security Council of the United Nations and members of the General Assembly of the United Nations and members of the United Nations Human Rights Council all have to pay attention to the fact that there is a United Nations-appointed mediator, special envoy, Brahimi, who is breaking the rules. We have Security Council resolutions — seven of them now — from 2000 to 2013, that clearly and consistently set out, right from Resolution 1325 on, the inclusion of women in peace agreements, in peace negotiations in post-conflict rehabilitation — you can slice the salami very thinly here, many parts to this whole — and this is inconsistent with the international law that comes out of those Security Council resolutions and the internal UN policy. Why are countries not demanding the Secretary-General deal with this situation and change it?

The Chair: I understand that when he met with the women, he spoke and didn't even wait for them to make a presentation. He left, so that was his involvement.

Ms. Tomlin, Ms. Bernstein, do you have anything else to add to that?

Ms. Bernstein: No, I would completely agree with what Marilou has shared and would encourage whatever we can encourage the Government of Canada to do and take our concerns to the Secretary-General and to our counterparts at the UN and other governments to ensure we put pressure on the UN to implement these resolutions in this important case of Syria.

The Chair: Thank you very much for all three presentations. We certainly appreciate your continuing support of this committee's work. The committee is very much aware that without the support you give, we would not be able to push this issue as well, and so we appreciate your support in our work. We look forward to seeing you again in the future.

We will start our next panel. I'm very pleased to welcome three people who are real experts on the issue of women, peace and security: Nahla Valji, Policy Adviser and Officer In Charge, Peace and Security Cluster, UN Women, who is situated in New York; Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Co-founder of the International Civil Society Action Network; and Jacqueline O'Neill, Director of the Institute for Inclusive Security.

If there were three experts on this issue, the three of you would be the experts. We are really looking forward to hearing from you.

Nahla Valji, Policy Adviser and Officer in Charge, Peace and Security Cluster, UN Women: Senator Jaffer, thank you very much for inviting me to be here today. It's a real privilege, as a Canadian, to be speaking to all of you, but it's also a privilege to be presenting on an issue that Canada has really played a historical leadership role globally on.

For those of us based at the UN in New York, Canada plays the role of convening the Friends of 1325 group here, and it has been an incredibly important forum for member states, civil society and the United Nations to come together on consistent messaging and how we strengthen this agenda together and share information across the relevant actors.

I will make my brief remarks today on three points. I'd like to start with where we are at the moment on the women, peace and security agenda, and then share with you a little bit about UN Women's work in this area, briefly, and conclude with a few remarks on the role that I feel Canada could play to continue its leadership role in this area, in particular as we come up to an important year of 2015 for this agenda.

As a member of your last panel mentioned, today we are sitting with seven resolutions on women, peace and security, many of them successively passed in the last five years. In the last year, we have made remarkable gains normatively. We have the Arms Trade Treaty with a binding provision on recognizing the linkages to gender-based violence. We have a new CEDAW general recommendation which spells out women's rights in conflict prevention and conflict-affected settings.

Then we had two successive Security Council Resolutions: 2106, and most importantly for this agenda, 2122. I think 2122 was particularly timely and necessary, and it shifted the focus of the council and of this agenda back to the issues of women's leadership and participation, strongly. Whilst 1325 was a critically important resolution, the first time that the council recognized women's participation and leadership in relation to peace and security, 2122 for the first time takes the intentions of 1325 and, to some extent, gives them teeth. It provides accountability and commitments for a range of actors, including the Security Council, for example, to be implementing women, peace and security across all of its areas of work, to be requesting that all briefings and reports that come to the council include information on the situation of women in those contexts and what is being done to facilitate their participation.

Resolution 2122 also calls for the ramping up of targets and ambitious indicators and goals ahead of 2015, and this includes within national action plans and regional action plans. Then, of course, it establishes the foundations for next year, which will be the 15-year, high-level review of the council of 1325.

In this regard, requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations, this task has now been handed to UN Women to lead on to provide a global study and a review on the implementation of 1325, which I think gives us a real opportunity to assess, audit, and look at the challenges and gaps of the last 15 years and how it is that we can galvanize implementation in the forthcoming years.

We have a normative framework that has grown enormously in the past few years, and we have consistent messaging, I believe, and rhetoric at the international level across the number of actors.

We are still failing in a number of areas on implementation. Whilst we have the consistent messaging and we have the policy frameworks in place, if we take just one example, and that is women's formal participation in peace processes and peace talks, we continue to see real gaps in this area.

The number for women's participation lingers at less than 10 per cent. Some ad hoc and inconsistent gains have been made in the last year. For example, in Colombia, where absolutely no women are involved, the government then appointed two of the five mediators on their side, taking us up to a 40 per cent representation rate, and most recently in the Philippines, the government mediation with the MNLF rebels there had a 75 per cent representation rate on their delegation.

We are making some gains, but they are still inconsistent and ad hoc. If we look, for example, at Syria, we see that these gains have remained inconsistent. We have no process to date where we have managed to secure significant numbers of women's representation within the formal parties to the talks, as well as an inclusive process which includes civil society's representation, of which a significant proportion should be women's civil society, then the gender expertise that we need within these mediation processes to ensure that we are getting the outcomes in peace agreements that we need to further gender equality and women's empowerment.

I know that my fellow panellists will be speaking a little bit more to the issues of inclusive peace processes, but I want to just note that one of the opportunities of the next year and of this forthcoming global study is to really strengthen our own argumentation around these issues and to note that this is not just an issue of women's representation, as critically important as that is. That is critically important. We know that where women are not represented at the peace talks, the knock-on effect, in all areas of post-conflict reconstruction — transitional justice mechanisms, post-conflict elections — is women's exclusion throughout those processes. So we cannot be building democratic, inclusive societies if we're excluding women from the foundational discussions around these processes. More importantly, I think we need to start looking at inclusive processes and the research and data that we have on inclusive processes and the contribution that they make to the sustainability and durability of peace processes in the long run.

As I mentioned, that's where we are at the moment in terms of the normative and the implementation. I want to turn a little bit to sharing with you some of the work that UN Women does in this area.

As you know, UN Women is the newest entity within the UN system. We were created by a General Assembly resolution in 2010 and came into being in 2011, so we are still a very new entity. However, women, peace and security is one of the five pillars of work that we organize around. We have the lead in the UN system on ensuring that the UN's own commitments in this area are carried through, and we then work closely to provide research, technical expertise and support to countries to implement their commitments within the women, peace and security agenda. Of course, we also provide support to civil society organizations in conflict settings. Just to echo the voices of my fellow panellists from the previous panel, the focus on women's civil society in conflict settings is crucially important. We're often looking at countries that have had their own state institutions and capacity to deliver to their citizens destroyed in the course of conflict, and women's civil society organizations are often the ones who are providing services, who are embedded in the communities and who, in relation to the participation agenda, are able to mobilize and support women's participation in peace and security processes.

With regard to the work that we've been doing, I think there are a number of areas for which we can talk about good practice, but I wanted to highlight one focus area to note that it's critically important. That is to focus our attention on women's participation because we've really noted the transformative impact that participation has with regard to peace and security and post-conflict recovery. UN Women research shows, for example, that where we invest our post-conflict economic dividends in women, the knock-on effects on families and communities for recovery are direct and exponential. We know that there's a linkage between economic empowerment and recovery and the stability of communities in particular. We have research that shows that where we employ temporary special measures or quotas for post-conflict elections, women are actually returned to office at even higher numbers in the second election post-conflict. We believe that the reason for this is that, just by virtue of modelling women's participation in contexts where this has not been the norm, this shifts perceptions of women's role in society and can have a tremendously important impact, both within public office and in how women are viewed and their role in society is viewed. Quotas and temporary special measures are very important tools that should be used. Then, of course, as mentioned, there are inclusive peace processes. Where we have inclusive processes that include civil society and women's representation, we are coming across nascent research that shows that the chance of sustainability of these processes goes up exponentially.

Given that we know where the areas are that we need to be focused on, what role can Canada play to continue to take this agenda forward and play the leadership role that has been played historically? I think one of the areas in relation to preparing for 2015 and the high-level review is the support to the global study of the implementation of 1325. That is, to use the role that Canada has as the head of Friends of 1325 to bring member states together around this agenda, to own the agenda, to give guidance to conduct regional consultations and consultations with women so that we can really look at what the impact of this agenda has been over the last 15 years, move away from a focus that has been largely on processes and ticking boxes and looking for numbers and, rather, look at what the impact has been on the ground. What evidence do we have, and how do we bring this evidence to strengthen our agenda and our own argumentation going forward?

Other key areas in which Canada could use their foreign policy, in particular, to influence processes is to ensure that where we are involved in donor conferences and in peace processes, there is consistent messaging, that there's incentivization for women's participation. For donor conferences, for example, ensuring that women's civil society is at the table and assisting to set the agenda for where post-conflict spending is directed in terms of recovery. For peace processes, ensuring that women's civil society and women's participation has dedicated and stand-alone funding so that women can influence these processes and be where they need to be and have the funding to be flexible and the resources that they need in order to ensure their messaging and the outcomes. Lastly, to ensure that funding is being directed at civil society organizations and women's civil society organizations in countries emerging from conflict so that, as that transition period occurs, we are ensuring that we are providing the resources and the support that's required to ensure women's full participation in all processes directed at conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict economic recovery.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation.

We will have questions, but we'll finish all the presentations first.

Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Co-founder, International Civil Society Action Network: Thank you very much for inviting me, Senator Jaffer. It's an honour to be here with you tonight. I feel like an honorary Canadian, if you would allow me to be one.

I wanted to start by talking to you a little bit about Canada's leadership in this agenda. For those of us who have been involved in this work before it had a name and number, Canada holds a very special place in our hearts. It was on the Security Council in 1999 and one of the first countries not only to support the vision and the ideals but also to take a strategic stance on it. I remember meeting with the Canadian mission in New York and asking if they would convene the first meeting at the Security Council on women, peace and security, and the ambassador at the time said that it wouldn't be tactically correct to do so because Canada had championed the children-in-armed-conflict agenda. There would be a danger that women and children would once again be lumped together and that it would be seen as a sideline social issue as opposed to a very central security issue. Therefore, it was important to separate the issues out. Of course, at the time, Canada understood that human security was at the heart and the core of the national security and international security challenges that we're faced with today, and that's something we've seen over and over in many of the conflicts we're dealing with.

Canada was also the power behind the scenes. As Nahla mentioned, the mission in New York led the way in forming the Friends of 1325 group, and it boasts growing membership and continues to meet today. Again, for those of us who have been active on this agenda, we feel so strongly that Canada's role in the international community and leadership on this agenda is of particular importance. It's a country that doesn't carry the same military history that the neighbours to the south, where we sit, have, and it doesn't carry the colonial history that many of the European countries have. It's viewed in a different way, and it had a different role at the start of this agenda. Frankly speaking, I think we've been very saddened to see Canada recede from the helm and allow others to take on that leadership role. I think the effect is evident in a number of ways. I just wanted to point those out to you briefly before moving on to talk about the work of civil society and organizations like my own and then also what we would like to see Canada doing moving forward.

First, as Nahla mentioned, there is a challenge with implementation. As the agenda has expanded across many sectors in the past 15 years, many of us worry that while it's gained breadth, it has lost a lot of its depths, if you want. In Washington, for example, there is a discussion in the Department of Defense around the U.S. priding itself on opening combat positions for women. As an advocate of this particular agenda, I would not put the role of women as fighters and improving war making as one of the goals of the women, peace and security agenda.

Also, we see the demand for women in decision making, with very little thought given to what it is these women may represent. To many of us, this was not just another path for advancement, bureaucracies, militaries and parliaments on the basis of our biological features. It's really about a gendered lens, and I really mean looking at the hardest of the issues we tackle from the standpoint of how men and women are affected by it and also how men and women tackle these problems; what are their perspectives on the issues? Of course, we are very much related to conflict and crisis.

At the core of it, if we look at it in terms of what Resolution 1325 advocates strongly, which is the participation lens — the protection and peacekeeping issues I can come to as well — but what really has a transformative impact is the message of participation of women, and particularly of civil society, as actors and voices for peace at the tables in the rooms where the futures of countries are being decided.

Why do we talk about these women? In my experience, and I think my colleagues have seen this as well, we are talking about women who, in the midst of the most dangerous situations, have the courage to stand up, speak out and act for peace and normalcy in their societies. Very often, there is somehow a perception that this agenda has an idealistic bend to it. Frankly, as far as I'm concerned, the women are not idealists; they are very strong pragmatists in what they are doing. They know that if you don't fight for rights and justice, if you don't engage in reconciliation or mediation — or ceasefire negotiations as we are seeing in Syria today at a local level — unless these issues are addressed comprehensively, peace itself will never be achieved or be sustainable. It comes from a pragmatic lens.

It's really about a shift in power, and that's where we see the real obstacles, if you want. At the moment, we have an ongoing practice of business as usual in diplomacy. I would like to frame this agenda in the context of international diplomacy or traditional, historic diplomacy. What does that mean? It means that we focus a lot of our attention on power diplomacy — on engaging with powerful states — as opposed to looking within states to see who the actors are.

It means that we give privilege, if you want, to those who come in with arms. Twenty years ago we would not talk to rebel groups; we would say, "These are non-state actors; they should not be talked to." Today, we fly them in, give them allowances and provide training for them to put them on an equal footing with the governments they have been fighting. But we privileged armed non-state actors over unarmed non-state actors. We still question who the unarmed non-state actors are, which is civil society and often dominated by women.

Our own organizations' cultures, if I look to the UN and other multilateral institutions, there is still a skepticism about what civil society is and who they are. I will talk to you about what we have been looking at in terms of this work.

There are also other factors. One of the issues we deal with as a persistent problem is that there is a perception that what we're trying to achieve when we're dealing with peace processes is that "negative peace" — just that minimal ending of the violence, as if that in and of itself should be a goal. Ending violence is an important element, but if it results in a state of negative peace, where we basically bring together armed actors of the political elite and have a carving-up of the pie — a power-sharing deal, which is the terminology we use — the hump toward getting toward a more positive side and dealing with the root causes is never really addressed very well. I think that is one of the reasons why we see that 50 per cent of the few peace processes that we've dealt with over the last 30 years really fail, and that needs to be addressed.

There is another aspect of this, and it's a challenge to governments, to the UN system and to international organizations. We have all become very good advocates, but who is doing the acting? This agenda came from women who took the stand, who went out, whether in Northern Ireland, Israel or Palestine, South Africa or elsewhere, and over the years we have seen it in many other countries, like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In other words, they were women who decided to be the change they wanted to see, to quote Gandhi.

Unfortunately, we have reached the point now where we have the norms, but we are expecting somebody else to make it normal for us and take the action. There is a lot of advocacy, but who acts and who is taking responsibility to take the step forward and act within whatever capacities they have? That's still missing, and that's really a challenge we deal with.

Another issue I grapple with is that knowledge alone does not mean action. Just because we know women are being raped in the DRC or that we are seeing a flow of refugees across the Middle East right now doesn't mean it spurs us to action. In fact, there is a danger of inaction because it becomes overwhelming. This is something we have to grapple with. We need the information, but there are moments in time when we need to act, and acting may mean taking a risk and doing things differently.

I will come to what we from civil society are trying to do and what we want from Canada. From a conceptual perspective, one of the ways to think about this is that we want to shift people's perspectives on peacemaking from the notion that these are places where we do power sharing to actually talk about responsibility sharing and how people who sit at the table are responsible for the constituents and the communities they are dealing with.

This is where civil society comes in very importantly. The research shows that when civil society has been involved in peace processes, the chances of failure are reduced by 64 per cent. This is an important piece of quantitative data that needs to be qualified, and we need to look into it a bit more, but we know this anecdotally; we have seen it from the places we have worked and the research we have done, specifically in terms of women's work.

What does that mean in practice? We need to challenge some of the blockages we have. In work that we have done, I and my team in 2010 consistently came across this notion of "who is civil society?" Who are they and who do they represent? This is a question that comes up in the case of Syria. It came up in the case of Libya, and it will no doubt come up in the cases of the next countries we deal with.

There is a perception that these actors are not legitimate. Whom do they represent? Frankly speaking, if we look at peace tables around the world, it's very hard to say that any of the actors currently sitting at them are representative or legitimate in that way, or representative of particular constituencies or large swaths of the population. Yet we talk to them.

We need to shift the perception from "who are they?" to "what is it they do?" If we are looking at civil society, and we know there are groups on the ground who are active, let's look at how they are contributing to peace. What are their value bases? What kinds of constituents do they have? What are their activities? Do they have expertise in relief and recovery work, and ceasefires and mediation? Are they working across the lines of conflict?

In the case of Syria, we did this work together with intrusive security, and we found that both international experts who have worked on these issues as well as Syrian civil society actors are identifying the same broad set of criteria that could be applied to the notion of selecting civil society participation. It's not perfect; we don't want to be hand-picking civil society, but from an international community perspective, we can certainly create and facilitate the space for them to address these issues and for them to learn from the past, go forward in a strategic way around how they get involvement and linking what would traditionally be called track 2 to those track 1 processes. We can share with you the analysis and the papers we have on this issue.

Another aspect of this, and I think Nahla touched on this, is the importance of having an independent civil society peace fund. We have to recognize and acknowledge women's peace work — and, right now, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, women's rights work is political also — and that we may have civil society that is at loggerheads with their own governments. So if we have funding mechanisms that come through multilateral organizations only, and those organizations are bound to inform their governments or the missions that funding is going to civil society, the groups that are really independent, active and transformative are often the last to be supported.

Moreover, the time it takes to apply for funds and the complications in applying for these types of funds really put many organizations behind and unable to compete. Instead, international organizations are going forward, and the funds don't get to the people who really need it. We would suggest that maybe for 2015 there should be the launch of an independent, civil society women's peace fund — a 1325 peace fund — that sits independently and allows for small amounts of money to be transferred in a timely way with very clear parameters of what type of work it would be going for to mobilize both strategic and tactical actions around peace and security and not just a generic women's fund.

The third element, and this again is something that we at ICAN have been doing, is the issue of making sure that we are linking regional capacities and experiences together. For example, in our work we have been allowing for the exchange of civil society actors from one country in the Middle East and Asia to another so that they can learn amongst themselves. It is incredibly cost-effective. We don't have offices in these countries, but we have counterparts that are local activists. We grant them small grants, maybe $6,000, maybe $10,000, to allow for this exchange. When they go, they find incredible opportunities for engaging at that local level. Even though a country like Sri Lanka, for example, may have issues dealing with the international community around certain factors to do with security and women's rights, our Sri Lankan counterparts can find opportunities to engage and share their lessons of what they've done with their counterparts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and beyond.

This is an important way of taking things forward to show that it is not to route but to reroute the notion of women's activism and rights, peace and security across the world. These are universal values, not Western agendas couched in colonial values or history, which is sometimes the way some governments view them.

The Chair: May I stop you there? Many people have questions.

Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini: Yes.

The Chair: Ms. O'Neill, please.

Jacqueline O'Neill, Director, Institute for Inclusive Security: I will pick up on a few things that Sanam might have mentioned as well as comment on Nahla's remarks. I want to delve more deeply into Canada's national action plan and talk about some ways to strengthen its implementation. Of course, I'll echo what Nahla was saying that as a Canadian, it is a particular honour to address this committee to dive into my own country's national action plan and to use the word "we" when talking about many of these initiatives.

As the final speaker, I want to bring us back to the reason that we're having these conversations at all: why 1325 matters and why national action plans are important. It is a link that is often lost. Recognizing women everywhere as powerful agents of change and incorporating them fully into our work is not something we do because it benefits women and girls themselves; we do this because it's a strategic necessity. Canada's national action plan is a foreign policy tool that when implemented well fundamentally strengthens all of our work to forge peace and security around the world. Ultimately, it is about returns on our investment of money and Canadian lives in Afghanistan, for example; it is about seeing peace talks in Syria actually lead to an agreement that endures; it is about reaching a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians that will actually be accepted by people in both communities; and, as Sanam was talking about, it is about defining and practising Canadian leadership.

My organization is called the Institute for Inclusive Security. When we were founded about 15 years ago, we were called Women Waging Peace, which was a much more resonant and somewhat easier-to-remember name. However, we changed it because we wanted to reinforce the message that these conversations were fundamentally about security and not fundamentally about women and girls. I want to emphasize this because the link to this broader question is often forgotten. We are a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our goal is to increase the inclusion of women in peace and security processes around the world. One of the most effective ways to ensure this inclusion is through national action plans. NAPs have the potential to compel governments, multilateral institutions and civil society to develop coordinated and actionable changes and to deliver sustained results.

Nearly two years ago in collaboration with UN Women and ICAN and various others, we created an initiative called Resolution to Act, which has the goal of creating more high-impact national action plans around the world. We did that because we believe every country has something to learn and something to teach when it comes to national action plans. When Canada first created its NAP in 2010, about 18 countries in the world had plans. Now, there are about 43. That means various other countries can learn from Canada's experiences, and there are a lot of lessons from Canada to take away.

I want to do two things today: One is to bring those lessons into the room to flag a few key trends or learnings in national action plan implementation globally; and the second is to offer some specific recommendations for strengthening the implementation of Canada's NAP.

In terms of NAP good practices, colleagues on some of the other panels have highlighted several, so I'm not going to repeat them, but I will mention three. First, there is a growing focus on impact, not just on activity. As Nahla was talking about, we need to focus and strengthen our argumentation on this case. Over these 12 or so years, a lot of time and money have been invested in creating national action plans. The question rightly is being asked: What difference does it make? In particular to my earlier point, it makes a difference not only in the lives of the women and girls who participate in activities but also to the overall security.

NAPs need to be set up to measure the difference that women's participation makes, not just whether they were present, as Sanam was talking about. A lot of NAPs are making good progress, but their indicators track what is easier to measure, which is process and inputs. If we can't collectively make the case that effective NAPs lead to greater security, we will lose the global momentum that we have, and the quality of foreign policy everywhere will suffer. The good news is that this can be done. We are becoming increasingly sophisticated in our ability to evaluate impact, in part through the sharing of good practices, and we can accelerate the shift significantly.

Second, we are seeing a real streamlining and simplification of indicators. The majority of countries who review their NAP and issue revised versions, issue versions that track fewer things and set clearer targets and resources for those things. There was a conversation earlier about targets, and some of the most effective NAPs have targets and then they track those things more thoroughly than they did in previous versions. For example, Bosnia with our support just issued a revised national action plan that reduced the number of indicators from 120 to about 50.

Third, there needs to be sustained attention to explicitly linking national action plans to other national security policies. One of the fastest ways to ensure that a NAP is irrelevant is to isolate it from the rest of the government's policies, priorities and strategies. Strong NAPs are integrated into national security strategies, military doctrine, et cetera; and they're also developed and implemented as Canada's is through a whole-of-government approach.

In terms of Canada's NAP, there are a lot of strong elements. The 2012-13 progress report referenced a lot of great work that puts Canada at the forefront on a number of issues. For example, Canada now includes a gender-based analysis directly in many terms of reference for deployments, whereas before it did not. Prior to the merger of DFAIT and CIDA, DFAIT actually adopted CIDA's standard gender assessment tool and is working to ensure that we get this assessment phase right from the beginning. The RCMP is also doing similar work by developing a concept of operations that addresses gender. Multilaterally, Canada is still leading the Friends of 1325 at the UN and is active in Geneva as well. We have been pushing the G8 and NATO, including by funding women affected by conflict to address those bodies directly.

Where do we go from here? I have three suggestions. First, we must be sure to not let our recent focus on sexual violence come at the expense of the focus on participation. There is a trend in global north or so-called industrialized countries to speak exclusively about sexual violence in conflict. This violence is shocking, outrageous and offensive and is also a lot easier to understand than is the need to have women directly at peace negotiations. The focus on sexual violence addresses a symptom or consequence of a lack of women in decision making, not its root causes. When women are at peace talks, the more likely it is to raise the issue of rape as a weapon of war, to insist against perpetrators getting a blanket amnesty, to ensure that reformed police and military forces include greater numbers of women, and to call for treatment and justice for victims.

With the U.K.'s mobilization of the global community on this topic at the upcoming major conference in June, sexual violence is going to gain much broader attention, as it should, but Canada can play an essential role of consistently making clear that if we care about sexual violence, we have to act on participation.

There is a danger, I think, of equating 1325 and this entire agenda exclusively with sexual violence, but it is actually much broader than that.

Second, we have to send stronger signals externally and internally that this is a Canadian government policy priority and also a commitment, a personal commitment, by some of our most senior political leaders.

Externally, there have been a number of positive steps. For example, Minister Baird emphasized the importance of women's leadership in his remarks to the G8 at Camp David, at NATO summits and elsewhere, but as Sanam highlighted, we need to continue to seize and sometimes create even more of these opportunities.

At the upcoming NATO summit, for example, Canadian ministers could address women's inclusion in their remarks, they could fund women's civil society leaders to attend, and they could support the establishment of a permanent NATO special envoy on women, peace and security.

As Sanam mentioned, at peace and security negotiations, including the ongoing Syria talks, Canada can ensure that women's inclusion is not just an afterthought but bring it immediately into the conversation.

Internally, Canadian personnel need to hear this message too. So at Foreign Affairs, for example, the minister could send out a broadcast message to all staff. To my knowledge, there hasn't been one specifically about the NAP sent from a ministerial level. It had a solid rollout when released, and it was accompanied by guidance from the head of START, but that was some time ago, and as we all know, there is no substitute for Canadian personnel to hear directly from the minister, or better yet, the Prime Minister, that NAP is an essential and strategic tool.

This is something Sanam and I jointly advocated for in the U.S, and in the months after the release of the U.S. national action plan, which I'll note came two years after Canada's, Secretary Clinton issued an operational plan for the State Department, and there were similar ones at USAID and DoD.

One of the cables that Secretary Clinton sent was particularly effective —

The Chair: Ms. O'Neill, may I stop you? We have so many questions. I apologize for that.

Senator Ataullahjan: In 2012-13, the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, which is a coalition of non-governmental organizations based at the UN headquarters in New York, found that women, peace and security was more of an add-on that is addressed when it does not challenge priorities. Would you agree with this?

My other question is this: What role does maternal and child health play under Resolution 1325, if any?

Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini: In terms of the add-on, I think that's absolutely correct. I think that, as Jacqueline mentioned, there needs to be a linkage between the women, peace and security agenda and the broader foreign policy agendas. I would actually take this even further.

In some of the work that we have been doing recently looking at the rise of extremism across the Middle East, in West Africa, East Africa and parts of Asia, what we're looking at is trying to understand extremism through a gender lens. What is going on? Who are these young men who are being recruited into Salafi movements, Talibs, other types of groups, violent and non-violent? What are the social dimensions affecting them?

The breadth and richness of information that you get really can shape and help us determine foreign policy, development policies and so forth, as opposed to just thinking we set an agenda here and this is just another piece of it that we try and fit in. It really should be melded together in a more significant way, because the problems that we're dealing with are very complex and rooted in many of the socio-cultural issues we are dealing with.

On maternal health and child issues, 1325 does not directly deal with this issue. However, what it does do is situate and give voice and shape to the existence of women in conflict and crisis settings and, therefore, their needs, whether housing, the types of health care they need and so forth. It's the first time that we begin to see the people who are affected by war and how they're affected by war.

I think that's really the strength of this. It's not so much that this is a women's agenda. It's that it is a peace and security or crisis and conflict context agenda in which we begin to look at the ordinary people who are affected by it, whether they are men and women, old or young, children and so forth.

One of the things we have seen over the years is that as we have broadened and talked about women, for example, a whole sort of movement has emerged said, "What about widows?" All of a sudden, we are looking at the subcategory of young women in Asia and Nepal and Sri Lanka and the challenges of widowhood and being single mothers, for example.

It has also opened up the door for us to talk about men and sexual violence around men and their health care needs. It is it is a lens through which we begin to look at war and peace and from a human perspective.

Senator Eggleton: Thank you very much for the presentations. They were all quite excellent, very informative.

Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini, you mentioned an independent fund that could be used to support women's grassroots movements and civil society organizations as a means of strengthening their voice and dealing with peace and security issues in conflict areas.

Can you tell me a little bit more about how that would work? Who would administer it, and who would contribute the funding to it, and how we could be sure it would get to the organizations when past efforts, multilateral efforts, have not produced that kind of flow-through?

Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini: I think one of the things that have emerged over the last 15 years is that we have a community of international organizations that are very widely connected with networks across conflict areas worldwide.

In my own organization, we house the Global Network of Peacebuilders for example. They have over 70 member organizations. What's extraordinary is that I think between the three of us today, if somebody said, "We need to identify what is happening to women in Ukraine," we would probably, after two emails, be able to find the activists and groups that are beginning to emerge.

We have at the international level sort of a community that has emerged, and I think this community can, together, manage and administer such a fund. Of course, the funding would be a mixture of sources. It would be a mixture of governments that are supportive and don't want to retail. They actually want to give large funds and allow the $10,000, $20,000 grants to be given. It could be from the corporate sector, provided it's ethical. It could be from private individuals. It can be a mixture of different types of organizations that could provide it.

I would be happy to give you more details. We've developed a concept note around this idea, and it's an evolving notion.

Senator Eggleton: Please send it to the clerk of the committee, and we would be happy to look at.

The Chair: I have a comment to make, and then I would appreciate input from the three of you.

I have to share with you, and I think some of you heard me ask a number of witnesses beforehand, how disappointed I am with the Syrian peace process and how women have really stayed outside. I have absolutely come to the conclusion, if there was another resolution around Resolution 1325, there would be one that nobody would be allowed to be the meditator until they understand the resolutions, made a commitment that they would implement those resolutions and really understand the resolutions.

As you heard Ms. Marilou McPhedran speak earlier, the mediator for the Syrian peace process has not followed the seven UN resolutions. I am very much aware of the work that UN Women has done around the margins to get women to the peace process, but truthfully, I don't believe that's good enough. The women should be sitting at the table. As we know in the peace processes, if women are not being trained with the men on how to negotiate and all the different issues, then they are already at a disadvantage.

Enough said by me, I would very much appreciate hearing from all three of you what you think we could do differently the next time around. I know the Dutch government has played an instrumental role in enabling the women to come to Geneva. I know that Canada has not played as big a role, but hopefully we can learn from this. What can Canada do in the future to ensure that women are embedded in the peace process, not around the peace process?

Ms. Valji: Senator Jaffer, thank you for the question and for raising the role that UN Women has been trying to play in this regard. As you noted, we have been trying to bring together women and an inclusive group to Geneva, and prior to that organizing in Jordan and working with inclusive security on that as well. But you're absolutely right; these women continue to be marginalized. They continue to be outside of the process. I think we're starting to hear a shift in messaging. We're starting to hear that as Geneva talks fall apart, this is the only inclusive group of Syrians there is that continues to keep the issue of peace alive.

I think there are two issues here. The first issue is that we need to be pushing for women's representation in the formal talks. We need to be pushing for inclusivity in the role of civil society, for the gender expertise at the talks. Special envoy Brahimi has committed to having a senior gender adviser on this team. We need to ensure we're doing the follow-up to make sure he has this expertise.

In the international community, we also need to shift the focus. Who is at Geneva discussing the peace talks? Why are we not questioning the fact, the challenge it has brought to women's civil society, who do you represent, how do we know you're legitimate? Are we asking these questions about the two parties we've invited to the talks, first? We say Assad's regime is not legitimate, yet we're willing to negotiate with them. Have we placed the same demands on the opposition that we place on women?

In the international community, there was a question about Iran's participation in the talks. It is one of the most difficult discussions the international community could have, and yet there's still no discussion at that level about women's participation and a dedicated role for women at the talks. It's critical that we question and shift, and that's a role that Canada can play. We also need to shift the focus to where the women are, what they're achieving at the moment and how we build on that. Many of these women have been responsible in communities for brokering local ceasefires to ensure humanitarian assistance can reach their families and communities. We're not achieving that at a national level. Perhaps we need to shift our focus and highlight attention to what women are achieving at the community level. How do we build on that, build resilience in communities that haven't been affected by the conflict so it doesn't spread to those communities?

Those are some of the roles that Canada can draw attention to and really be a voice on with regard to Syria.

Ms. O'Neill: What we're seeing play out in Syria is a reflection of broader structural problems related to special envoys and lead mediators in the sense that they're essentially only positive incentives. You will get praised for doing a positive job or bringing women into negotiations, but there is no accountability and effectively no consequences for special envoys and lead mediators who choose to disregard Security Council Resolution 1325, who choose to come to meetings but not actually listen to women's presentations and listen to them effectively, trying to get to the table. There's a lot of positive incentive for those to be recognized when they do it well and very little accountability or consequence.

I know the department of political affairs in collaboration with UN Women is trying to address that by implementing high-level awareness raising about the implications of not having women involved in negotiations, et cetera. But it's still very much a consequence-free environment. I think it all goes back to what Nahla was saying at the beginning: We're not articulating our case in a way that links to the outcomes of those negotiations. If Canada can step in from the beginning and start talking about how this is not just a women's rights issue or a fairness issue, but ultimately an issue of effectiveness and sustainability of all we're trying to accomplish, I think that will resonate when a male, in particular a foreign minister or minister of defence, raises this with his male counterparts as a core issue, not a side or peripheral nice to have.

Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini: Imagine if we had Syrian civil society in Geneva involved in the process. It could be that the talks would have carried on. That's what we're talking about, because it could have been that their determination to keep the process going, their willingness to try to find ways around the issues and alternative approaches to tackling the hard issues or sequencing of events, these are all conversations that the women's groups were having and they understood. Yet, basically they were in Geneva, too. They just happened to be in Geneva at the same time, as many of us were.

We have to shift the discourse from thinking that it would be nice to have the women at the table, as if they're an icing on the cake and just a bonus, to thinking they could play an integral role in enabling this process to happen. To me, this means that we need to make sure engagement with women in civil society is integral to the mediation strategy of the envoys and the appointees from the very beginning. The minute you have an envoy appointed, they are making contact with different actors. The contact that is made can help undermine or empower those actors, especially in the case of Syria and Libya. We in the international community anointed the opposition. They emerged and we enabled them to be those people. We have been integral to the whole process of determining who gets the voice and who doesn't get a voice. Yet, engagement with civil society in a systematic and structured way has not been evident in any of these cases, except in the case of Yemen.

In the case of Yemen, we had an envoy that went out, engaged, used the UN, the norms, to push for 30 per cent women in the national dialogue process. Was it perfect? No. Will there be problems? Yes. He did it in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world, and they have women at the table. Yet, in the case of Syria, which is one of the most sophisticated, educated populations in the world with some of the most incredible social capital, we're still seeing them pushed back. It's not part of the mediation strategy. As Jacqueline said, there's no recourse if you don't abide by these seven resolutions. In fact, so long as the words are spoken, it's okay. So long as we're told he is supportive, it's okay. It's been two years since the need for the appointment of a gender adviser. It hasn't happened. There needs to be more accountability at the senior level.

I'm coming to the question of the role of Canada. As I said before, we can advocate or we can act. Those of us who worked with the Dutch, it was an act. It was an action to bring the voice, Syrian civil society, to New York at a strategic moment to engage with the envoy to ask for systematic engagement with him. They changed the dynamics, and that's why we got as far as we did in terms of the UN Women role and the interactions between Syrian activists and very high-level diplomats and government personnel across the world.

But we need to now redo that and go back to the drawing board, in a sense. I think Canada can take a leading role and engage with the Dutch and other countries that are so supportive of this and change the framework a little bit.

The Chair: I want to thank all three of you. Ms. O'Neill and Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini are not new to this committee, and we look forward to hearing from Ms. Valji in the future. We do this on a regular basis. I want to thank all three of you. On a personal note, I want to say that we sitting here are proud to see that two Canadians are representing us in New York and Washington, D.C. It gives us great pride.

Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini, you've been a great friend of Canada for many years, working with us since 2000. As you said, you're an honorary Canadian. We take pride in the work you do and how you represent the issues of women, which are close to our committee as well. Thank you very much for your presentations.

(The committee adjourned.)