A three-day training workshop on the monitoring and evaluation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 in West Africa, is underway in Accra.
The workshop, organized jointly by the Women, Peace and Security Institute (WPSI), and the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP), is being attended by 25 participants from Gender and Social Protection Ministries in 13 countries in the West Africa Sub-Region.
The Security Council adopted UNSCR 1325 on women and peace and security on 31 October 2000. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction.
Air Commodore Julius Sefadzi Kofi Dzamefe, Deputy Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), in his opening address on Wednesday, said the absence of women from critical decision-making forums that decided ceasefire terms, patterns of wealth and power sharing, priorities for reconstruction and development agenda, issues of justice and reparations, could and do have implications for women and their interests.
He observed that the absence of women meant that their perspectives were largely ignored or not adequately represented.
He said nearly a decade and a half after the adoption of UNSCR 1325, enjoining countries to facilitate opportunities for women's representation and participation in peace processes, their direct participation in these processes at the national, regional and international levels, remained low.
The 2010 and 2012 estimates of the United Nations Women put the proportion of women participating in about 31 major peace processes conducted since 1992 at about nine per cent of negotiating parties.
Air Commodore Dzamefe said, to address these challenges, it was important that we continue to explore avenues for facilitating greater access, representation and participation for women in these processes.
He said: “It is imperative that we find ways to support, not just the development of National Action Plans, but also very importantly, have in place the mechanisms for implementing these plans as well as capacity for the monitoring and evaluation of the processes of developing the action plans.”
“We need to have a clear understanding and appreciation of the national as well as regional specific issue in order to better contextualize the indicators to monitor and evaluate.”
He said the WPSI is an institutional initiative of the KAIPTC to support the full implementation of UNSCR 1325 within the African context.
The Deputy Commandant said, KAIPTC and WANEP had over the years, co-operated closely and consulted each other on matters of conflict prevention, management, resolution, peace-building and peacekeeping, particularly with regard to course development and delivery.
He said KAIPTC was also keen to see that efforts at enhancing women's participation in peace initiatives in the sub-region are promoted and given the maximum support.
Mr Vincent Azumah, WANEP Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, said the on-going training was one of the efforts by the organization to ensure that UNSCR 1325 becomes a reality in the sub-region.
He said if women were actively involved in the decision-making, more of the conflict situations in the sub-region would be resolved.
The Regional Co-ordinator lauded the role of women in peace-building in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Some of the participants in an interaction with GNA lauded the organizers of the programme for their efforts in promoting peace in the sub-region.
Mr Kossi Yayra Wonamey of the Togolese Ministry of Social Affairs, Promotion of Women and Protection of Children, said there was the need for governments in the sub-region to vote money for the implementation of their Affirmative Action Plan based on UNSCR 1325.
Mrs Florence Ngozi Chukwude of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development said, steps must be taken to help monitor the achievements of UNSCR 1325 targets in the sub-region.