Women’s inclusion is central to sustaining peace and security for all: IGAD, UNDP and Canada hold training for mediators in the Horn of Africa region

Posted April 21, 2022

Photo: UNDP Africa

21 April 2022, Mombasa, Kenya -- The Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) Gender Affairs Department, in close collaboration with UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, and with the support of the Canadian Government, held a training workshop for 40 technical experts of the IGAD Roster of Mediators. The training was held from 12-14 April 2022 in Mombasa, Kenya.

The Roster of Mediators is a pool of regional experts selected from the eight IGAD Member States (Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti) to support peace mediation processes whenever called upon in any IGAD Member State.

The regional training aimed to enhance the knowledge and understanding of roster members on global frameworks, including the UNSCR 1325 and the subsequent resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda in the region. The training will also strengthen the capacity of the roster as ambassadors to champion the rollout and implementation of the African Union Continental Result Framework on WPS.

The event was attended by Hon. Siraj Fegessa, Director of the Peace and Security Division at IGAD who officially opened the event; Alessandra Casazza, Manager of the UNDP Resilience Hub for Africa; Tsitsi Fungurani, Senior Development Officer, Government of Canada; Odette Kabaya, Regional Advisor and Team Leader of the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Portfolio, UNDP; Amina Farah, Head of the Gender Department of IGAD; and members of the IGAD Roster of Mediators.

On 31 October 2000, in response to a call by civil society organizations, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). The adoption of UNSCR 1325 recognizes women's key role in building peace and security and reiterates the importance of protecting women and girls from sexual and other violent situations of armed conflict.

In response to UNSCR 1325, in 2018, the African Union through the Office of the Special Envoy on WPS, developed and adopted the Continental Result Framework (CRF) on WPS. The overall purpose of the CRF is to provide a framework for tracking and monitoring the progress made on the implementation of WPS commitments.

Following this groundbreaking resolution, many African countries have developed progressive policies on WPS. About 30 African countries have developed National Action Plans (NAPs) for the implementation of the WPS, and by December 2021 almost all Regional Economic Communities including IGAD, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) have developed their Regional Action Plans on WPS.

While giving her welcoming remarks at the opening of the training, Amina Farah, Head of IGAD’s Gender Department highlighted, “To achieve, maintain and promote sustainable peace, the full involvement of women is key. But no one can solve inequality alone. We must begin where we are, and pledge to start there, to make the difference we can. This training serves us in doing just that. It is an inclusive exercise towards peace”.

Alessandra Casazza, Manager of the UNDP Resilience Hub for Africa, emphasized, “Women’s contributions are valuable not only for themselves but for the collective wellbeing of society. Simply put: women’s inclusion helps create and sustain peace and security for all. This was the wisdom behind UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which acknowledges that women are not just victims of war, but also agents of peace”.

Tsitsi Fungurani, Senior Development Officer for the Government of Canada, said “The Women, Peace and Security Agenda is the central piece of Canada’s feminist foreign policy, which includes the feminist international assistance policy and the defense policy of the Canadian Government. We are convinced that sustainable peace is possible when women are involved in the resolution of conflict, and in peace and security efforts. I hope this training will build your capacities as mediators in IGAD to steer the region towards placing women at the forefront and at the centre of building sustainable peace in your community and in the region as a whole”.

Hon. Siraj Fegessa, Director of the Peace and Security Division of IGAD, emphasized, The African Union Continental Results Framework on Women, Peace and Security, a groundbreaking initiative adopted in 2018 through the AU Special Envoy on WPS, is a blueprint for bolder and concrete results on WPS. The Results Framework guides the monitoring and tracking of progress made by contributions to and implementation of Women, Peace and Security interventions. It also contributes to timely data collection, for evidence-based advocacy and policymaking.”