Broad discussion and debate on the nuanced challenges to the achievement of gender parity and women's empowerment in Africa characterised an Internal Staff Seminar (ISS) recently hosted at the Durban offices of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD). The presentation provided the foundation for discussions about ways to monitor and address the gap between policy gains from the adoption of international and continental normative frameworks in support of the women, peace and security agenda (WPS) and their practical implementation within the context-specific realities on the ground in different African countries. Participants further delved into the necessity of putting in place measures to translate increased numbers of women in strategic positions into meaningful contributions and impact in African countries.
As part of its efforts to mainstream gender into its activities, the African Union Commission Peace and Security Department (PSD) formulated and commissioned a Gender, Peace and Security Programme (GPSP) under the Peace and Security Department. The GPSP is a flagship programme for the integration of gender into the continental peace and security agenda as well as support to the implementation of global and continental framework for women's increased participation in peace and security.
The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) was recently represented at a Consultative Meeting on UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office's Draft Strategic Plan (2014-17) which aimed to obtain stakeholder feedback and contributions to allow for finalisation of the plan. ACCORD's participation helped to ensure that women, peace, security and conflict resolution objectives and planned activities were strengthened. Deliberations during the meeting aimed to obtain the input of South African partners, although discussions at times took a regional focus.
ACCCORD's Manager for the Interventions Department, Dr. Martha Mutisi, has represented the institution at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Stakeholders' Roundtable on Gender and Development. As one of the few civil society organisations represented, ACCORD is well placed to continue to influence the development of the SADC Gender Unit and contribute to regional initiatives towards gender equity and parity in peace and development processes.
The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) congratulates the three women who today jointly received the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, namely President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Leymah Gbowee, gender activist in Liberia, and Tawakkul Karman, gender activist in Yemen. The award was given in recognition of their non-violent struggle for the safety and protection of women, and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work.
The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Executive Secretary, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula and the Founder and Executive Director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (Accord), Mr Vasu Gounden, signed this 11 August in Bujumbura a Memorendum of understanding between their two organizations, whereby the two parties are to work together to support common objectives.
Codes of conduct, sanctions and stemming the flow of weapons are as important to ending sexual violence in conflict as moral outrage—which is good though not enough. Governments must do more than develop plans and coalitions. International organizations need to force armed groups to choose between sexual violence or their very survival.
Promoting women's capacity to participate in peace processes is crucial for the advancement of women in peace, development and security. This is reflected by the international and regional efforts in the operationalisation of the UNSCR 1325 and other African Union and regional frameworks. Despite the number of declarations, most mediation processes have not offered enough scope that encourages the voices and representation of women.
ACCORD is involved in ongoing efforts to highlight the role gender plays in peace and security. In its three pillars of intervention, namely peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, ACCORD is cognisant of the role of gender in peace and conflict such that gender is a cross-cutting theme in the organisation's training manuals and operational documents. Against this backdrop, ACCORD's Knowledge Production Department (KPD) hosted a two-day authors' roundtable on the topic: "Women, Peace and Security: Approaches to Gender Empowerment."
In ongoing commitment to the fulfilment of UN Resolution 1325, in late August ACCORD held a mediation training for South African women in partnership with the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa (PWMSA). The development of skilled female mediators, who are active in their communities, is a vital component of addressing conflict within our societies and ACCORD was delighted to play a role in preparing a group of specially selected women from across the country with the skills to mediate in conflict situations.
Nikiwe Bikitsha, who was at the ACCORD 1325 seminar in Durban, reports in the Mail & Guardian on the state of women and Resolution 1325 on the continent of Africa...
- ACCORD presents African vision on UNSCR 1325 to the UN
- ACCORD trains Darfuri women in conflict management, negotiation and facilitation
- Renewed vision for women in peace and security in Africa
- International Women Day celebration
- Gounden Invited to Indian Women in Conflict Management Symposium
- ACCORD Hosts Women in Dialogue for Peace in Africa
- ACCORD participates in Vital Voices trans-regional exchange programme
- Gounden acts as resource to 8WAMM
- DPKO Women's Constituencies Strategy Workshop
- ACCORD participates in African Feminist Forum, Ghana