A regional consultation for Africa was held on 23 January 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and was built into the four-day African Union Stakeholders’ Consultation on the 2015 AU Theme: “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2053”. The gender ministers of more than 20 member states and regional and international organizations participated in the consultation.
The half-day women, peace and security consultation was chaired by H.E. Ms. Nakadama Rukia Sanga, Uganda’s Minister of Gender. Opening remarks were delivered by Ms. Bineta Diop, AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, Mr. Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, and Ms. Letty Chiwara, UN Women Representative to Ethiopia, Africa Union and Economic Commission for Africa. Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, lead author of the Global Study, presented the study outline.
The consultation provided an opportunity for government officials to share their views on the progress, challenges and key recommendations for moving the women, peace and security agenda forward. Countries represented at the consultation included: Algeria, Burundi, Djibouti, Egypt, Gambia, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda. In addition, civil society representatives from Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan and Uganda contributed to the consultation. Regional and international organizations including the African Development Bank, ECOWAS, FAO, ICGLR, UN AIDS, UNECA and UN Women also contributed to the meeting.
Key recommendations of the regional consultation include:
- The importance of acknowledging the critical role played by women in conflict prevention, management and resolution initiatives.
- The need to include women in preventive diplomacy efforts, by strengthening their capacity and by establishing networks of women mediators.
- The need for bolder and more innovative approaches to reexamine current economic models and to ensure women’s economic empowerment and recovery.
- The implementation of national and regional action plans and the need to overcome challenges related to commitment and political will, funding, monitoring and evaluation systems to track progress, coordination and sharing of good practices, and effective inclusivity and acknowledging the role played by civil society.
- The need to strengthen the connection between local level implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, and the higher/political level; and the importance of an implementation mechanism.
- The need for training and a change of mindset to increase women’s participation in peacekeeping, and the importance of gender mainstreaming in the security sector institutions.
- The importance of mapping the extent of gender-based violence and the need to include psychosocial recovery as part of post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts.