As part of a national consultation which lies within a project entitled “National consultations to feed into Peace – building & WPS strategy in Libya”, that was designed to explore Libyan women’s perspectives about peace and security agenda (WPS) and peace-building in Libya, and supported by UN women and WILPF, the Together We Build It organization (TWBI) held three regional consultations with women from the Western, Eastern and Southern parts of the country. Moreover, the consultations were inclusive as they not only included women from different regions but also women participants were from different categories (i.e. elites, educated, women activists, and grassroots women).
Libyan women who participated in the consultation have noticed the absence of women in the peace building efforts, and they have made concrete recommendations urging international community to ensure participation of Libyan women in the formal peace process, designed and facilitated by UNSMIL and/or member states. On the ground, community and grass root women in Libya have been working since 2011 on initiatives to promote and support peace and security, however, there was no formal recognition or political support demonstrated by national and international actors.
In response to the calls and recommendations of Libyan women, TWBI organization needed to act urgently; as such TWBI organisation has launched a campaign in September 2018 in Geneva called “You are missing the full picture” to support women politicians participation in the formal peace process in Libya. With this unique initiative, and for the first time, civil society women organisations represented by TWBI, emphasized the necessity of having Libyan women politicians to participate, explicitly, in the formal peace and political processes. The campaign was keen on supporting women’s participation in Palermo high level meeting that was held in Palermo – Italy on the 12-13 November 2018, to serve as the first step in changing the narrative.
TWBI organization succeeded in promoting the campaign “You are missing the full picture” among other Libyan women activists and politicians; as such women politicians expressed their interest to join the campaign and to support TWBI’s advocacy efforts which called on inclusion of women in the Palermo meeting. Therefore, TWBI responded promptly to and took the initiative by gathering women in a coalition named The Libyan Women Coalition (The statement released by Libyan women on the Launch of the Libyan Women Coalition); the idea of establishing the “Libyan women Coalition” sparked to gather the efforts of women from civil society represented by TWBI, and women politicians represented by women from: the house of representatives; the high state council; and women from political parties network.
Since the establishment of the Libyan Women Coalition, many advocacy missions have been set to promote Libyan women’s political participation in all upcoming efforts of the formal peace and political processes. The TWBI team and a representative of the Libyan women coalition held several meetings with international community to discuss the possible ways to support and enhance the political participation of Libyan women; the advocacy missions involved meetings with: deputy SRSG Stephanie T. Williams; the French ambassador, Beatrice Le Fraper. Furthermore, the TWBI team held advocacy meetings with: the Canadian ambassador, Hilary Childs; the Dutch ambassador, Lards Tummers; the ambassadors of the European Union to Libya who are based in Tunis.