Peacemaking and peacebuilding

Endorsement for Athena from Keith Krause, Director, Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding; Programme Director, Small Arms Survey; and Professor of International Relations, Graduate Institute of Geneva:

Athena fills a gap in the worlds of peacemaking and peacebuilding with skillful advice and support to peace processes based on a fine-grained understanding of gender, security and inclusion perspectives to support programmes and policy-making initiatives.”

Conflict resolution, peace processes and peacebuilding are complex, multifaceted processes. Working toward sustainable peace requires in-depth substance, attention to detail and process knowledge. Athena offers such capacity by providing support to relevant actors through specialists with significant experience working in ongoing and post-war environments from Afghanistan to Libya, Myanmar, Central America, Yemen, South Sudan, the Philippines and beyond.

Type of work we do:
• Direct support to mediators and peace process actors on technical issues;
• Country and issue briefs for specific audiences;
• Training;
• Evaluating programmes and policies;
• Inclusion advice and process design;
• Advising and working with national counterparts on the drafting of Regional and National Action Plans related to the eight women, peace and security UN Security Council resolutions;
• Programme and policy development, design and implementation;
• Mentoring as well as side-by-side support to parties in conflict, advisers and mediation teams to strengthen good practice, skills and confidence;
• Policy-relevant research;
• Substance editing, drafting and remedial work on types of text (agreements, policies, reports);
• Peer and document reviews.

Examples of current and past work:
• Gender inclusion and political analysis advice, coaching and training for the Dialogue Advisory Group, Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution and others in the area of mediation support.
• Strategic assessments for the Governments of Norway, and UK, on their respective approaches to gender and inclusion policy and programming in Myanmar.
• In 2018-mid 2019 Cate Buchanan was a Senior Mediation Adviser in the Standby Team of Experts of the UN Mediation Support Unit in the Department of Political Affairs (speciality areas - Process Design; Gender & Inclusion). This included a mix of inputs to country situations/processes, and training & policy work including facilitator and lead resource person for the 2018 Experts Group process on women’s meaningful participation in peace processes and gender-inclusive peace agreements; resource person for annual events such as the UN Ceasefire Course and the UN High Level Seminar on Gender and Mediation for peace envoys convened by the UN Department for Political Affairs in cooperation with PRIO and Crisis Management Initiative.
Athena seconds staff to peace support initiatives such as Cate Buchanan (2015-2017) to the Nyein (Shalom) Foundation in the role of Senior Peacebuilding Adviser deployed via DAI with USAID Office of Transition Initiatives support to provide strategic advice on programme development and to support their work with the armed groups including providing technical (e.g. negotiation preparedness, inclusion, funding modalities) and process design advice (e.g. lead adviser on the first and second rounds of ethnic national dialogues in 2016 and 2017).
• Technical and process design advice to the Myanmar Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process to establish itself and develop policy analysis (2014-2015).
• Gender inclusion advice and structured learning for Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue staff in Myanmar including coaching, project and activity design to boost gender inclusion and perspectives in their work (2016-2017).
• Providing strategic advice, contributing to international policy and hands-on support to mediation and dialogue work as Senior Manager for Mediation Support, Gender and Inclusion to the Crisis Management Initiative. This included direct support to the Yemeni Women’s Forum, and design and key technical support to a project contributing to inclusive conflict resolution models through women’s agency in South Sudan as well as work in the South Caucasus, Central African Republic, and Guinea Bissau as well as the UN High Level Seminar on Gender and Mediation for peace envoys in cooperation with PRIO and UN Department for Political Affairs (2013-2016).
• Developing and designing Myanmar-specific training on gender and inclusion in ceasefires (2014).
• Providing expert commentary on and collaborating in the launch of OSCE guidance on gender and mediation (2013).
• Providing expert input on women and peace building to cross Whitehall Women Peace and Security Training (UK Department of Defence, Department for International Development and Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (November 2013).
• Designing and delivering training to women from Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia as part of a UN Women and Institute for War and Peace Reporting project to facilitate women’s participation in peacebuilding.
• Devising and managing the Women at the Peace Table, Asia Pacific project for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), its flagship gender and mediation programme (2009-2013).
• Developing a custom-designed gender audit for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue Asia programme to assess strengths and weaknesses in understanding and implementing gender-inclusive approaches in operational and policy work (2010).
• Providing technical support to the EU, UN Women, and the Office of the UN Special Representative on the Sahel through Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue for the May 2013 High Level Conference on Women’s Leadership in the Sahel.
• Providing expert advice, contributing to policy and shaping advocacy to the EU on gender, peace and security to the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (September 2011-September 2013).
• Providing design support and technical inputs to HD-organised workshops of tribal elders and women from south and east Libya to discuss strategies and tactics for their working together towards national reconciliation and transitional justice (2013).
• Designing, writing, editing Peacemaking in Asia Pacific: Women’s participation, perspectives, and priorities (2011), which includes an annex titled "Practical pointers for mediators" on how to incorporate gender into their work.
• Leading a team, for the HD Centre, to develop a ground-breaking study on how to include gender perspectives in peace agreements. Entitled From clause to effect: Including women’s rights and gender in peace agreements, it examines six peace agreements from Asia and the Pacific, identifying how references to women’s rights and gender perspectives could have been better included. It is used as reference material in the UN High Level Seminar on Gender and Mediation for peace envoys convened by UN Department for Political Affairs in cooperation with PRIO and Crisis Management Initiative.
• Contributing analysis on inclusive mediation in Chapter 3 of the African Union Handbook on Mediation for the work of regional organisations and others undertaking mediation.

See our publications for Athena Consortium in this area.

Egyptian women line up to vote in the first free and fair parliamentary elections in November 2011, Cairo, Egypt  © Heba Aly/courtesy of IRIN
Egyptian women line up to vote in the first free and fair parliamentary elections in November 2011, Cairo, Egypt © Heba Aly/courtesy of IRIN