Leveraging Change

Women's Organizations and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the Balkans

Authored by: Jill Irvine

Categories: The Field of Women, Peace and Security
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Economic Participation, International Agreements, International Law, National Security Forces and Armed Groups, UN Resolutions
Country: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2013
Citation: Irvine, Jill. "Leveraging Change: Women’s Organizations and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the Balkans." International Feminist Journal of Politics 15, no. 1 (2013), 20–38.

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Executive Summary

This article examines how regional and local women’s organizations in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo have used UNSCR 1325 as a tool for organizing and advocacy in three broad areas: women’s inclusion in decision-making processes; regional and human security; and transitional justice. In response to the perceived unwillingness by international as well as national actors to implement UNSCR 1325, women’s organization’s developed strategies to use this international norm to achieve their goals. They have done this, I argue, through a double ‘boomerang effect’. In their seminal 1998 work, Activists Beyond Borders, Keck and Sikkink demonstrated how NGOs operate to produce a boomerang effect; they appeal to transnational actors to assert international pressure against national governments in order to enforce compliance with human rights norms. In attempting to implement UNSCR 1325, women’s organizations have also often added a reverse dimension, mobilizing local support through grassroots campaigns and regional networks in order to force the United Nations and other international actors to comply with their own resolution concerning women, peace, and security. In doing so, they have achieved some success in promoting inclusion. They have been less successful in using UNSCR 1325 as a tool for addressing structural sources of inequality including militarism and neo-liberal models of economic development.