To push for accountability, bridge the gap between the array of policies and the implementation of commitments that strengthen the role and leadership of women in peace processes, the African Union (AU) is convening the Africa Forum on Women, Peace and Security to integrate the actions of key actors in the Women, Peace and Security (WPS). Organized by the AU Office of the Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, the forum will seek to accelerate the delivery of commitments of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and scale up actions for silencing the guns for a sustainable peace in Africa.
The three-day forum slated for the 10th to 12th of November 2020, will involve a series of consultations with various stakeholders to enhance synergy among key stakeholders of the WPS Agenda in Africa, including African Union Member States, Regional Economic Communities, Regional Mechanism, Civil Society organizations, women organizations, youth, and development partners. The forum will also identify actions to strengthen the role and leadership of women in the peace and security arena; create a continental platform to enhance coordination of actions, sharing of best practices and lessons learned; and leverage on the surge of use of digital technologies in light of the eruption of COVID-19 to strengthen data collection for reporting.
Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security Bineta Diop, whose mandate is anchored on women’s right to peace, through the prevention of violence against women and girls in conflict and other situations of instability, protection of women from violence, including from sexual and gender-based violence, and the participation of women at all levels of decision-making in peace processes, says the convening of the Africa Forum on Women, Peace and Security is particularly timely with the numerous WPS Agenda commemorations that converge in 2020. She notes that the forum will rally stakeholders and give momentum to the African Union theme of the Year on Silencing the Guns in Africa; the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325; the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action; and the related assurances to the women and girls of Africa such as the 2020 as the year for the universal ratification of the Maputo Protocol on women’s rights.
Aligned to the goals of women, peace and security agenda, several milestones have been realized in recent years such as the development of the Continental Results Framework (CRF) adopted in 2018, for the implementation of the WPS Agenda in Africa. The Framework aims to accelerate the delivery of WPS commitments through systematic and sustained monitoring and reporting by Member States. Enhancing the monitoring and reporting framework has resulted in a significant increase in Member States and Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms adopting Actions Plans. In 2020, Africa has 30 countries that have adopted National Action Plans (NAP), rising from 17 countries in 2015. This is an increase of 56.6% in the last five years, making Africa the continent with the largest number of NAPs. At the Regional Level, 6 Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms have Regional Action Plans. These are ECOWAS, IGAD, Mano River Region, IGAD, SADC and ECCAS.
To strengthen the role and leadership of women in peace processes, the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (FemWise) has been since established, building the capacity and a pool of women mediators. Similarly, the Network of African Women Leaders (AWLN), an Africa wide women movement that aims to scale up women’s voice and enhance women leadership in the transformation of the continent. Under its Peace and Security Pillar, AWLN conducted several solidarity missions to support women leadership in countries affected by conflict or in transition. These include missions to Nigeria, DR Congo, South Sudan, Lake Chad Basin, The Sahel Region and the Horn of Africa. AWLN has now established National chapters in 25 countries across the continent. The chapters will galvanize women leadership and synergize actions of women peace activists in mediation, peace operations, security sector governance, women’s protection and other areas for the security of women and girls.
The Africa Forum on Women, Peace and Security is part of the activities of the “SheLeadsPeace” Campaign on Women, Peace and Security in Africa. The campaign aims to accelerate Actions for Peace in Africa by protecting and promoting the role of women and girls in the conflict prevention, peace building and post- conflict reconstruction. Data shows that despite progress made over the last two decades, targets continue to be missed and prospects of achieving the aspirations of a People Centered Africa as articulated in the Africa Agenda 2063 may be jeopardized. The eruption of COVID-19 pandemic also constitutes a security threat that can erode the gains made over the last two decades in the WPS Agenda.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union (AU).