ACCORD attended the Regional Civil Society Consultation on the impact of COVID-19 on implementing the Women, Peace and Security and National Action Plans (NAPs) in Africa, which was convened virtually by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP). The regional consultation was held on15 – 16 February 2021 and attended by civil society groups from East, Central, Western and Southern Africa.
The first day of the consultations focused on the impact that COVID-19 has had on the development and implementation of the NAPs; it further solicited for concrete steps needed to ensure that COVID-19 responses and recovery addresses women’s needs and integrate peacebuilding measures; and how can the UNSCR 1325 be localised and used as a strategy to ensure a gender-responsive and conflict-sensitive COVID-19 recovery. The second day focused on regional recommendations on how to strengthen the implementation of NAPs and the key priority areas on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS).
Karishma Rajoo, General Manager for Programmes and Programme Officer, Nontobeko Gcabashe, represented ACCORD in the consultation. Ms Rajoo further moderated the Southern Africa group discussions over the two days.
The regional consultation aimed to document challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to women-led peacebuilding organisations and women’s meaningful participation in peace processes implementation of peace agreements. Furthermore, it sought to formulate concrete recommendations for implementing National Action Plans (NAPs), Local Action Plans, and gender-responsive and conflict-sensitive COVID-19 responses and recovery in the region. The discussion highlighted the need to conduct research and gather data about women’s COVID-19 compliance challenges with respect to preventative measures. The participants further called for awareness-raising campaigns on the NAP and the localisation of NAPs, strengthening partnerships to guarantee cross-sectoral approaches to COVID-19.
The GNWP Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Ms Mavic Cabrera Balleza, indicated that the recommendations from this consultation will be tabled to the UN Secretary-General’s Report on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
ACCORDs participation in this regional consultation is in line with its long-standing commitment to the WPS Agenda and its role in supporting the South African NAP.