ACCORD participated in the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation’s (FemWise-Africa’s) first induction training on preventive diplomacy and mediation, hosted by the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Promoting women’s effective participation in conflict mediation and addressing their specific needs in peacemaking efforts is key to sustainable peace. Women play crucial roles before, during and following conflicts, yet their participation and the acknowledgment of that role has been with mixed result and slow progress. Therefore the above training aligns with the AU’s commitment to strengthening the role of women in mediation efforts in the continent. However, eighteen years after the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) (UNSCR 1325) called for greater efforts to increase women’s effective participation in conflict resolution, studies continue to show that women remain under-represented in these processes. In 2017 the AU, under the umbrella of the Panel of the Wise and the Pan-African Network of the Wise (PanWise), established the FemWise-Africa Network. Several processes were put in place to operationalise the Network, which included a call for applications to join the Network; and screening of the applications received by the FemWise-Africa Secretariat. As a follow up the above induction training was held for those selected. In supporting these efforts, ACCORD facilitated sessions and contributed to discussions during the training.
The training discussed preventive diplomacy and mediation by the AU and the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs): and a legal, normative and institutional introduction. Other issues discussed included the State of Peace and Security in Africa: Emerging Conflict Challenges and Forms of Conflict; the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA): Reflections on Lessons Learned; and women in preventive diplomacy and mediation: issues, opportunities and challenges.
In seeking to strengthen the role of FemWise-Africa in conflict prevention, the induction further discussed Africa’s peace and security landscape with a focus on opportunities for FemWise-Africa. The participants were also taken through linkages between FemWise-Africa and AU Institutions and Structures, as well as opportunities for coherence and coordination with regional efforts. The facilitators also unpacked the mediation and preventive diplomacy spectrum, with the aim of identifying roles and opportunities for FemWise-Africa. Further, the facilitators analysed the role of FemWise-Africa from a multitrack diplomacy perspective.
Further, the induction discussed the rationale, objectives and work plan of the FemWise-Africa Network, with a focus on the opportunities and priorities for FemWise-Africa in terms of Accreditation; Outreach and Networking; Training and Capacity Building; and Deployments. The induction also gave the participants an opportunity to discuss, reflect and make recommendations on their envisaged roles as FemWise-Africa members.
The training provided a platform for ACCORD to interact with and to learn from African women working within peace and security, as well as a platform to share its mediation support experiences in Africa.
ACCORD remains committed to supporting gender mainstreaming and enhancing women’s participation in peace processes in Africa undertaken by the AU and the RECs/RMs.