Linking Feminist Peace, Sustainable Development, and Postwar Infrastructure Reconstruction

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 14:30 to 16:00
Vartan Hall, The Armenian Convention Center, 630 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Read the event summary here: Linking Feminist Peace, Sustainable Development, and Postwar Infrastructure Reconstruction.

Linking Feminist Peace, Sustainable Development, and Postwar Infrastructure Reconstruction is a parallel event cosponsored by the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights (CGSHR) and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) at the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) which will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 11 to 22 March 2019.

CSW63 Themes:

  • Priority theme: Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;
  • Review theme: Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development (agreed conclusions of the sixtieth session).


Infrastructure reconstruction in post-war and post-disaster contexts has the potential to support the transformation of gendered inequalities and the empowerment of marginalized groups, and to lay a physical foundation for peace and development that are truly sustainable. Unfortunately, however, that is not how it usually works. Instead, infrastructure reconstruction too often exacerbates a country’s pre-existing gendered inequalities and facilitates an extractive form of development which is unsustainable for both people and the planet.
This interactive panel discussion will bring together women civil society leaders and scholars to show why WPS advocates, if they are to achieve their goals, must focus on and incorporate feminist analysis of physical infrastructure, examining a myriad of questions such as:
  • What are the political and economic processes that determine how, and what kinds of, infrastructure will be built, by whom?
  • Where does the decision making take place, and what are the values and assumptions shaping those decisions?
  • Who benefits from the projects and who is harmed by them? What effects do they have on the pre-existing inequalities that undergird the outbreak of violent conflict?
  • What are their environmental impacts, and are they built in ways that are environmentally and socially sustainable?
  • Who has access to, responsibility for and control over infrastructure projects once they are constructed?
And the panel will show how policymaking on issues such as roads, public transportation, water and energy infrastructure and urban planning can work to empower women, enhance gender equality and foster sustainable peace and development.

Our emphasis will be on decentralized and environmentally appropriate infrastructure solutions that are informed by women’s knowledge and needs; solutions that can foster sustainable livelihoods and can be locally maintained and controlled.  At the same time, we will focus on how to create the enabling international policy environment to support those solutions, by bringing civil society perspectives to bear on developing a framework of engagement with the international financial institutions, international development organizations and governmental and intergovernmental institutions that shape postwar and post-disaster infrastructure development. The workshop also aims to support and further develop the network of activists who see sustainable, gender-equitable infrastructure reconstruction as essential to their work integrating peacebuilding, gender equality and sustainable development.
The panel will feature:
  • Carol Cohn, Director, Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights
  • Joy Onyesoh, President, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
  • Madeleine Rees, Secretary-General, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
  • Nina Potarska, Ukraine Programme Coordinator, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
This workshop is part of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights’ Feminist Roadmap for Sustainable Peace (FRSP) project. An international collaborative knowledge-building project, the FRSP focuses on the transnational economic actors and dynamics which overwhelmingly shape the contours of postwar societies. Using feminist political economic analysis, we examine the impacts of those transnational forces on the pre-existing marginalizations, inequalities and exclusions that underlie armed conflict, and we design feminist policy alternatives to transform, rather than deepen, those inequalities, with the goal of building gender-equitable, sustainable peace.  Topics addressed in the FRSP include, inter alia: the economic recovery policy prescriptions of international financial institutions; extractives; land rights, large scale land acquisition and land grabbing; infrastructure reconstruction; environmental disasters and climate disruption. WILPF applies political economy analysis to reframe the dynamics of post-conflict power structures, focusing on transformative justice and the realization of ESCRs. It examines the role of IFIs and development policies from a gender perspective, focusing on the need for local participation and design.
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