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Issues & Insights Vol. 21, WP 4 – What the Biden-Harris Administration means for WPS in the Indo-Pacific Region

Executive Summary

The election of Kamala Harris as the first woman of color to serve as vice president of the United States is a beacon of hope for women everywhere. We explore how her ground-breaking election, alongside the new administration’s visible support for gender equality, could advance women’s rights globally. More specifically, we consider the implications of a Biden-Harris White House for the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda in the Indo-Pacific. A cornerstone of the WPS agenda is United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325). Passed in 2000, UNSCR 1325 recognizes the gendered impacts of conflict and the importance of women’s inclusion in peace processes for long-term peace and stability. The WPS agenda consists of four overlapping pillars: Participation, Prevention, Protection, and Relief and Recovery. Addressing all four of these pillars is integral to ensuring full respect for human rights and cultivating sustainable peace. In this paper, we assess each pillar of the WPS Agenda from three angles—first, actions taken by Biden and Harris that indicate how they will engage with the WPS Agenda; second, progress and challenges to the implementation of the four WPS pillars in the Indo-Pacific; and, third, how the new administration could work with countries in the Indo-Pacific and other key stakeholders to overcome current challenges to the realization of core WPS objectives in the region.

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