Tracing Intersections of COVID-19: Gender, Water and Armed Conflicts
The current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is having ramifications throughout the world, increasing human insecurity in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS). A combination of prolonged instability and weak institutions hampers the ability of FCAS to deliver basic healthcare and water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH), and this is exacerbated during a crisis. Many FCAS also face existing and emerging environmental challenges, such as water scarcity, that place further strain on their efforts to deliver basic services to the population. This in turn increases the burden on women as the main water and care providers for households and communities. The inability, or in some cases unwillingness, of state actors to ensure the delivery of basic services creates opportunities for non-state actors to fill the void. This undermines the legitimacy of formal governments and provides armed nonstate actors (ANSA) with space to demonstrate their non-military roles in the communities that live under their de facto control. ANSAs with territorial or governance grievances can use nontraditional security threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen their legitimacy in intrastate armed conflicts.
We argue that advancing women’s empowerment and financing women-led organizations present an opportunity to prevent ANSAs from using natural disasters or disease outbreaks such as the COVID-19 pandemic to increase their legitimacy by providing public healthcare and WASH services, while also ensuring that the gendered consequences of disease outbreaks are taken into account. In areas where state actors have little or no reach, women play a central role in emergency response, both at the household level as water providers and at the community level through women-led organizations. This limits the space for ANSAs to demonstrate their governance legitimacy through community service provision. Furthermore, studies by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) show that women are vital to preventing radicalization in their communities, and that women’s empowerment and gender equality are key to preventing an increase in violent extremism across the world.
The Next Generation Problem: The Ups and Downs of Sweden’s Huawei Ban
Abstract After months of pending legal challenges, Sweden proceeded with the long-delayed 5G-frequency auctions in January this year, finally allowing Swedish telecom providers to continue the 5G-rollout; however, still without […]
New Roadmap for Denuclearization and Peacebuilding
Link to original article Nuclear talks have stalled since the failed Stockholm meeting last October, and the deadlock is likely to continue this year. It seems that neither side is […]
Taiwan-Marshall Islands Relations: Against the Tide
Introduction The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is among a handful of countries to still recognize the Republic of China (ROC)*, one of four in the South Pacific. Two […]
Taking Back Control: South Korea and the Politics of OPCON Transfer
Summary 1. The Moon government aims to achieve OPCON transfer (wartime control of its armed forces) by 2022, in accordance with a transition plan agreed upon with the United States. […]
Climate Change, Environmental Threats and Cybersecurity in the European High North
This paper – “Climate Change, Environmental Threats and Cybersecurity in the European High North”, appears as a chapter in a wider study entitled “Enablement Besides Constraints: Human Security and a […]
Economic Dreams and Geopolitical Realities: How will the India-China-Russian Dynamic Unfold in Greater Central Asia?
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Greater Central Asia (GCA) has undertaken various efforts to reshape the political and economic landscape of Asia. This has driven a process by […]