Women, peace and security in Africa

22 Dec 2010

Eleven African governments have pledged to ensure an effective regional mechanism to address sexual violence against women and children in a regional event sponsored by UNDP.

The Presidents of Burundi, DRC, the Republic of Congo, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia, as well as Ministers of Great Lakes countries, met recently in the Zambian capital Lusaka, for a Special Summit on the illegal exploitation of natural resources, agreeing to strengthen measures in fighting illegal exploitation of natural resources through legal means, as well as encourage whistle blowing.

On the margins of the special summit, UNDP, in collaboration with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), organized  a three day regional event discussing ways of building the capacities of men and women leaders in conflict prevention, mediation, negotiation and peace-building, including addressing gender-based violence using best practices and sharing experiences. A declaration was submitted to the Heads of State seeking their commitments.

UNDP Resident Representative in Zambia, Kanni Wignaraja, pledged the agency’s continued financial and technical support to programmes aimed at addressing sexual violence and war in the region.

During the Summit, the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Dr Asha-Rose Migiro, said the UN was ready to co-operate with Member States from the Great Lakes region to ensure an end to the current plunder of natural resources, at times carried out by armed groups, and which is undermining peace, security and stability.

The was also a strong voice from women’s groups, youth and from the Ambassador of Tanzania to Zambia, Liberata Mulamula, who made an impassioned appeal to Member Countries to come up with other remedial measures which will help to promote peace and political stability on the continent.