African Governments urged to support active participation of women in peace and conflict prevention at the 60th Commission on the Status of Women
By Eunice Musiime- Executive Director, Akina Mama wa Afrika
The United Nations 60th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) was held from the 14th-25th March in New York. This year's theme was "Women's empowerment and the link to sustainable development. Representatives of UN Member States, UN entities and Non – Governmental Organisations (NGOs) accredited by the UN Economic and Social Council attended the CSW60.
At the opening, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the UN Women Executive Director and a UN Under-Secretary-General, said "This session marks the beginning of the countdown to 2030 to the future we want, in which no one is left behind." She also emphasized the fact that Governments cannot solely deliver on this very ambitious development framework; calling on Member States to collaborate with various stakeholders including civil society and women's rights organizations. She added that greater support and protection of civil society is needed to ensure greater political space and capacity for them.
In his opening remarks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged the strides made. He noted that he had appointed more than 150 women as Assistant Secretary-Generals or Under-Secretary-Generals. "When I took office, there were no women special representatives – often known as SRSGs – in the field," Ban observed. "Today, nearly a quarter of UN missions are headed by women. That is not nearly enough, but it is a major step in realizing the Security Council's historic resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.”
Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) was one of the organizations that organized a parallel session on women, peace and security and its link to achieving sustainable development. The panel composed of the African Union Special Envoy on Peace and Security, Ms Bineta Diop, the Chairperson of AMwA: Ms. Thokozile Ruzvidzo; A renown Feminist from Zambia Ms. Sara Longwe; A peace and security activist from Democratic Republic of Congo, Ms Josephine Malimukono, The Executive Director of FIDA-Uganda, Ms. Irene Ovonji; Ms. Muadi Mukenge from the Global Fund for Women and Ms. Eunice Musiime, the Executive Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika.
Ms. Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director African Centre for Gender and Social Development speaking at AMwA Parallel Event on the 18th of March 2016, Salvation Army
With the current conflicts in the region, the panel and participants shared experiences of how they are working to advance the women, peace and security agenda but noted that there is still a lot more to be done. A broad critique of the failure of several policies and frameworks such as United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 to increase the participation of women in peace processes was discussed, citing that mechanisms developed have not focused on creating inclusive processes as a result of patriarchal norms.
The AU Special Envoy on Peace and Security noted that “When women groups have the opportunity and capacity to exercise effective influence on the peace process the likelihood of peace agreements being reached and implemented is much higher.” She pledged to work with women rights organizations in advancing women’s participation.
Reflecting on the different panels and sessions, one of the key take –always is how to replicate best practices on the local, national and global level rather than re-inventing the wheel.
Overall the question of women, peace and security remains central to the realization of the Agenda2030, and should be one of the issues African governments especially from the Great Lakes Region focus on as they seek to prioritise which goals of the agenda to implement.
AKina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) is one of the four partner institutes of the African Centers of Excellence (ACE) for Women's Leadership program run by the Institute of International Education (IIE) , Sub Saharan Africa- Ethiopia Office.
For more on IIE , ACE or AMwA please follow the links below.