Development and Peace’s campaign, May Peace Be With Her, shined a spotlight on the courageous women who struggle against violence to build a more peaceful world, and asked the Canadian government to do more to support them. Through persistent campaigning, both nationally and locally, and lobbying efforts by our members and staff, this campaign is making a difference!
Across the country, Development and Peace members met with 63 Members of Parliament to discuss how women are our best hope for peace in the world today. As well, 70,000 signed action cards and emails were sent to Prime Minister Trudeau, carrying the urgent message that the Government should increase its support to women peacebuilders in fragile and conflict-affected states.
On Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Development and Peace staff and youth members, as well as women peacebuilders from our partner organizations, shared their message with elected officials through discussions, panels, as well as through the delivery of thousands of action cards. We also collaborated with KAIROS Canada and the Women, Peace, and Security Network-Canada on parliamentary and public activities to ensure that women peacebuilders were not forgotten by our government this year.
How the campaign is making a difference
On September 22, 2018, at the first ever Women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Montréal, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that the government will create Canada’s first ambassador for women, peace and security (WPS). The ambassador will be a champion for women, peace, and security both here in Canada and internationally. This WPS Ambassador was initially proposed as a parliamentary motion by Etobicoke Centre MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj. Development and Peace had issued a letter supporting the motion, and we participated in the civil society roundtable consultations on this Ambassador which were held across the country.
We are pleased to see that the creation of a Women, Peace, and Security Ambassador builds upon Canada’s legacy as a peacemaker, and will complement Canada’s vibrant movement of Canadian civil society organizations with expertise on women, peace and security. In order to ensure that this role has the biggest possible impact, the Ambassador should adopt an approach that addresses the root causes of violence and conflict.
Minister Freeland also announced more than $25 million in funding to strengthen the participation of women in peace processes, to investigate violent crimes against women, for peacebuilding, and for gender equality projects in developing countries.
Earlier this year, on March 4, 2018, the Finance Minister announced an increase to the international assistance budget of $2 billion over five years. This is the most significant increase to the international aid budget in the last 16 years. Development and Peace-Caritas Canada welcomed the budget increase which was a demand of our campaign, but continued to call on the Government of Canada to bring the level of aid closer to 0.7 per cent of GDP, the internationally recognized target. Despite the increase, it is still not enough to raise the level of international assistance beyond 0.26 per cent of GNI.
Development and Peace also contributed to the development of Canada’s ambitious National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security which was launched in November 2017. The NAP is Canada’s implementation, monitoring and evaluation plan of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security for 2017-2022, which recognize both the vulnerability of women facing armed conflict, but also the importance of including them in all peace and peacebuilding processes.
Congratulations to all of our members, donors, staff, and elected officials who we have worked with in support of the courageous women who are building peace in their communities and countries around the world.