A two day consultative meeting was recently held from 3-4 February at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting was organised by the Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) under the theme “Towards Gender-Responsive Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement”. This theme is in sync with the African Union’s Summit theme: “Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa: Towards Durable Solution to Forced Displacement”. The aim of the meeting was to identify and articulate key gender-specific issues, challenges, and priorities and identify actionable commitments and recommendations related to forced displacement for consideration by Member States and the African Union Commission.
The two day event held panel discussions arranged thematically covering different topics ranging from Governance, Peace and Security; Education; Sexual and Reproduction Health and Rights; Employment, Entrepreneurship; Livelihoods and Climate Change; and Media and Arts. The sessions included first-hand experience, best practices, testimonials and recommendations from experts and practitioners from different countries. ACCORD presented on the “Role of Women in Mediation: Towards Gender-Responsive Outcomes for Displaced Women and Girls. The presentation highlighted that there are women mediators who have the capacity to be part of the negotiations processes but there is a need to create space and opportunity for them to be deployed. The event was concluded after the summary of recommendations were presented to the floor and would later be handed over to the AUC.
The meeting was attended by members of the AUC, Irish Aid, Permanent Mission of Norway to the African Union, United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner and other civil society entities. ACCORD’s SIDA Mediation Programme funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden contributed to the participation of this event. The Programme aims to strengthen the operationalisation of the Mediation Support Units of the AU and RECs/RMs.