The First Lady of Somaliland Amina Sheikh Mohamed Waris inaugurated an international conference on the theme of “Women’s Leadership for Peace and Security in the Greater Horn of Africa” on Friday in Hargeisa.
The high-level mission held in the premises of Ambassador Hotel brought together 40 women known as G40 from 8 countries that make up the Greater Horn of Africa. The objective of the conference was to help women to adopt an action plan to enhance the status and role of women in the region. Supported by the Club of Madrid, an independent non-profit organization of more than 80 democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 56 countries, the G40 deliberated on the issues of crisis prevention, democracy, security, development and leadership.
Amina Waris welcomed the community of women of teachers, humanitarian workers, lawyers, grassroots peace activists, researchers, political scientists, business professionals, historians, social workers, human rights defenders and journalists to Somaliland. She said Hargeisa was honored to host such event and called for concrete action against all forms of discrimination against women.
First Lady Amina noted that Somaliland was stable and democratic nation that provided opportunities for women during her keynote address to the delegates. She pointed out that while the number of women participating in government were still low, nonetheless Somaliland had three women in Parliament, two in key ministerial positions in the government and one as a deputy minister.
The G40 on their side thanked the First Lady and the government of Somaliland for their warm welcome and declared that it was evident to them that Somaliland is a peaceful, law-abiding democratic country.
The plan drawn here on Friday is based on the recommendations of series of meetings held in the Ethiopian capital, Kampala, Djibouti and Nairobi under the leadership of Club de Madrid Members Valdis Birkavs (Latvia), Kjell Magne Bondevik (Norway), Kim Campbell (Canada) and Mary Robinson (Ireland). The Club’s Horn of Africa initiatives are funded and supported by the governments of Australia, Belgium, Germany, Norway and Iceland.
According to the Club de Madrid, the participation of Sudan’s 2010 presidential and parliamentary elections, assessing the Somali Constitution Committee during the Drafting Process and the preparation of Somaliland’s elections were some key achievements by G40. The organization stated the project was for three years (2009-2012) and discussing women’s issues and increasing women’s participation in society “from the grassroots up” was its main agenda.
The conference, which saw delegates from Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the two Sudans, Somalia and Somaliland is expected to conclude after five days.