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.
Taiwan in the European Discourse: Toward Political Consensus?
Abstract: The EU’s Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific recognizes that the display of force in the Taiwan Strait may have a direct impact on European security and prosperity. In […]
The Russia-India-China Trilateral After Ukraine: Will Beijing Take the Lead?
Introduction: At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting in late July, which included China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, People’s Republic of China (PRC) State […]
Ukraine-Russia War: A prelude to a post-Western international order?
Abstract: This Issue Brief analyzes how the collective action of developed countries in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated just how dominant the so-called “Western” international order is. […]
What North Korea Thinks About the Russia-Ukraine War
Introduction: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised many new security concerns not only for Europe, but also for the rest of the world. In Northeast Asia, Russia’s proximity and strategic […]
North Korea Conducts Its Sixth Round of Missile Tests This Month
Introduction: North Korea fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) off its east coast on Thursday. according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC). Today’s test – North […]
Challenging Moon’s Symbolic End-Of-War Declaration
Introduction: In South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s address to the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, he called on the United States, North Korea, and China, alongside South […]