The government of The Gambia through the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Women Affairs on Friday launched The Gambia National Action Plan on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR) on Women, Peace and Security at the fringes of the just concluded first ever high-level women conference in Banjul as part of celebrations marking the 2014 International Women's Day. The launch of the 36-page document was presided over by the director of the ECOWAS Gender Development Center, Gambian-born Aminata Dibba.
The 1325 Resolution on Women, Peace and Security was unanimously passed by the UN Security Council in October 2000. It refers to the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women and girls, while at the same time acknowledging that women are not mere victims of conflict but active agents with an important role to play in conflict prevention, peacekeeping initiatives and peace-building efforts.
The Gambia domesticated Action Plan of the Resolution advocates for the development of national programmes that will promote peace and women's rights, promote support and research on gender, peace and security and strengthen women organisations and Civil Society Organisations working on conflict prevention through capacity building on gender issues and working rights, amongst others.
In her launching statement, Aminata Dibba reminded that some ECOWAS member countries have experienced some bitter conflicts during the last decades in which women and children suffered the most. In conformity with the ECOWAS programmes, she said the regional bloc's Gender Development Center has provided funding to seven West African countries including The Gambia in the promotion of gender equality and to empower women.
She however appealed for time to be given to the document in order to implement the issues that it advocates, saying the empowerment of women and the recognition of their efforts in national and regional development requires everyone's participation. Speaking to the press shortly after the launching of the document, the vice president and minister of Women's Affairs, Her Excellency Aja Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy, said the launched Action Plan will add weight to the efforts of President Jammeh in his empowerment of Gambian women. She described the high-level conference as a right convergence of Gambian women where they gathered to discuss pertinent issues. "Women have been standing up for Africa during the pre-independence era and they remain to be until now. The whole Africa wants to see a different continent with a difference for us on gender," she said. On the conference, she said participants have learnt a lot from it, which even inspired them to recommend for it to be an annual or biennial event. "We will create a Monitoring and Evaluation team to ensure that the problems and constraints of women that are highlighted in the resolution are addressed in consultation with the government," she assured.
She thanked the president of the Republic, his government and the entire Gambian people for all their support to women empowerment.