Tracing Intersections of COVID-19: Gender, Water and Armed Conflicts
Alexandra Said, Panchali Saikia and Martina Klimes
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.
Revitalizing INSTC: Analyzing Geopolitical Realignments and the China Factor
In recent years, the rise of Asia as the geoeconomic and geostrategic fulcrum has not only realigned global geopolitics but also reasserted the need for regional connectivity. For example, the […]
North Korea Needs More International Partners to Weather Its Food Crisis
North Korea has long been one of the most isolated countries in the world, but its isolation became even more extreme amid the pandemic. The country has cut off its […]
The Tawang Effect: Forecasting China-India Relations in 2023
Foreseeing a trend in China-India ties is a predictable affair at present: bilateral antagonism is taking a lead over any pretense of engagement and stability. The passing years increasingly suggest […]
As G20 President, Can India Advance Its Multipolar Worldview?
Introduction: Days after the G-20 summit in Bali, which marked the end of the Indonesian presidency and heralded the group’s Indian leadership for the new term beginning in December, Indian […]
China’s Polar Silk Road Revisited
Summary • China’s Arctic ambitions have expanded significantly over the past few years and have been integrated into the country’s foreign policy architecture. • Yet, the rhetorical expansion is not […]
Enlarging Indo-Pacific into the Orbit of Euro-Atlantic: Implications for India
Abstract: Following the release of the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy that called for building bridges between the Indo-Pacific and the Euro-Atlantic, the idea of interlinking the two geopolitical theaters has […]