Peace agreements are critical opportunities to re-shape social and political landscapes which might have contributed to the conflict breaking out in the first place; it is therefore crucial that peace agreements address the needs and rights of women and girls.

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Operative paragraph eight of SCR 1325 (2000) calls on all actors involved in negotiating or implementing peace agreements to adopt a gender perspective. In peace agreements, gender aspects of substantive issues should be clearly articulated, as peace agreements that are gender “neutral” or “blind” have proven detrimental to the security and peacebuilding needs of women.

It is equally important that women are identified as contributors and agents, not only as victims or persons with specific needs. Agreements should also incorporate clear gender sensitive modalities for implementation and monitoring, and make provisions for women’s active involvement within them.

Addressing conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) [see also separate section] at the outset of a mediation process can increase the durability of peace by mitigating security fears and improving transparency, accountability and confidence among parties. Sexual violence can be used to continue acts of war outside the purview of agreements and monitoring teams, triggering cycles of vengeance and vigilantism. If left unaddressed, sexual violence can undermine confidence in agreements and even the mediation process itself. It is therefore vital to include specific provisions on CRSV in ceasefire and peace agreements.