Cairo, Egypt - In the lead up to the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, CCCPA, acting in its capacity as the Secretariat of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development (due to take place in Aswan, Egypt in December 2019), hosted a workshop on 4-5 September 2019, titled: "Advancing the Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Africa Overcoming Challenges and Seizing Opportunities."
The workshop highlighted the contribution of women as a powerful force for peace, which has long been acknowledged. The UNSC landmark resolution 1325 (2000) not only highlighted the differentiated impact of conflict on men and women, but also emphasized the significant role of women in the prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Since 2000, eight additional resolutions have been adopted, together constituting the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.
In Africa, Agenda 2063 calls for realizing the full potential of women and youth, boys and girls, with freedom from fear, disease and want. The 2005 Maputo Protocol called on States Parties to take all appropriate measures to ensure women’s participation in “the structures and processes for conflict prevention, management and resolution at local, national, regional, continental and international levels”; and “in all aspects of planning, formulation and implementation of post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation.”
Institutionally, the African Union (AU) has taken major steps in advancing the implementation of the WPS agenda. It appointed a Special Envoy on WPS in 2014, mandated to “ensure that the voices of women and the vulnerable are heard much more clearly in peacebuilding and conflict resolution.” A Gender, Peace and Security Program (GPSP) (2015-2020) was adopted, with the aim of mainstreaming gender in all peace and security programs. The establishment of the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (FemWise-Africa) in July 2017 was another breakthrough. In 2019, the Office of the Special Envoy launched the Continental Results Framework (CRF) as a tool for monitoring efforts to advance the implementation of the WPS agenda. Moreover, a policy on preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse in AU peace support operations was recently released.
On the national level, 25 African countries have developed National Action Plans (NAPs) to advance the implementation of the WPS agenda. At least three more African countries will be developing their first ever NAP before October 2020 (Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa).
Despite these advancements, the WPS agenda remains an underutilized tool for shaping effective responses to today’s conflicts in Africa. The representation of African women and their meaningful participation in peace processes remains limited. African women continue to be exposed to serious threats or actual violence, including sexual and gender-based violence. Despite its unique position within APSA, FemWise’s potential as a platform for strategic advocacy of the WPS agenda on the national and regional levels is yet to be fully realized.
The workshop brought together senior experts on the local, national, regional and continental levels to discuss operational and programmatic linkages between the WPS, Conflict Prevention, Sustaining Peace and the Sustainable Development agendas, as well as the lessons learned and best practices from the development and implementation of African National Action Plans (NAPs). It also explored opportunities for enhancing the AU’s contribution to advancing the comprehensive and meaningful implementation of the WPS agenda across the full spectrum of peace and security interventions (whole of APSA).
The Aswan Forum is an Egyptian initiative, owned by Africa and supported by the international community.
This event was made possible in part by the generous support of the governments of Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).