ACCORD, in collaboration with the African Union (AU) Youth for Peace (Africa) Program (Y4P), hosted an Inter-Generational Dialogue (IGD) on Gender Mainstreaming in the Youth, Peace and Security agenda on 5 August 2022, via Zoom. The IGD was the second in a series of IGDs that will unpack the five cross-cutting issues that impact the effective involvement of youth in all levels of peace and security.
The IGD provided the platform to reflect on the alignments and complementarity of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and YPS agendas, and to explore how gender mainstreaming can improve the efficacy of the YPS agenda. The panel of experts included AU representatives, including Ms. Khouloud Ben Mansour, the African Youth Ambassador for Peace in the North Africa region, and Ms. Agyedho Nyaba, Information and Communications Officer in the AU Southern Africa Regional Office. Gender experts Ms. Helen Kezie-Nwoha, Executive Director of the Women’s International Peace Center in Uganda, Ms. Mfrekeobong Ukpanah, Coordinator of the Secretariat for Special Envoys, High Representatives and Panel of the Wise, Ms. Qhawekazi Mene, the Head of Governance, Peace and Security Cluster at the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Youth Forum, and Mr. Eric Nsengimana, President of the Association for Progressive African Youth also presented on the panel.
ACCORD’s Programme Officer, Ms. Savannah Wilmot moderated the Panel discussion that helped highlight how stereotypical understandings can perpetuate structural inequalities. Furthermore, the discussion acknowledged the strides that have already been made in terms of youth and young women representation in peace and security. Panellists also noted the need to address the structural barriers to women representation, before gender can be mainstreamed. The panellists agreed that gender mainstreaming is not just about adding young women, but rather ensuring that priorities can change as a result of having a diverse young people at the table. The panellists also agreed that gender mainstreaming across all levels of programming and interventions on YPS will prevent reproducing and reinforcing structural inequalities that would inhibit young women’s ability to effectively participate in and contribute to the YPS agenda.
The IGD platform enables young people to understand how policies are made and implemented, while engaging with policymakers themselves. This enables policymakers to hear directly from the youth on their feelings, aspirations, challenges, and opportunities, which will help evolve and strengthen the YPS agenda. ACCORD continues to enhance the role of youth to prevent, mitigate and resolve conflicts, as a key constituency in addressing complex conflicts.