ACCORD contributed substantively at the first Africa Forum on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), that was virtually convened from 10 – 12 November 2020 by the Office of the Special Envoy (OSE) of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). The aim of the Forum is to accelerate the delivery of commitments of the WPS Agenda and subsequently scale up actions for Silencing the Guns for a Sustainable Peace in Africa.
The objectives of the forum were to: enhance synergy among key stakeholders of the WPS Agenda in Africa, including Member States, RECs/REMs, Civil Society organizations, Youth, United Nations Agencies and other Partners for the acceleration of the delivery of the WPS Agenda; identify actions to strengthen the role and leadership of women in Silencing the Guns in Africa; create a continental platform to enhance coordination of actions, sharing of best practices and lessons learned, and mobilize efforts for the advancement of the WPS Agenda in Africa; and leverage on the surge of use of digital technologies in light of the eruption of COVID-19 to strengthen data collection for reporting.
The Forum locates itself in the broader agenda for peace and security in Africa and is relevant to the Silencing the Guns by 2020 Initiative – the guiding theme that represents the overarching aspirations of the AU’s Agenda 2063.
During the three-day forum, ACCORD was represented by Adv. Vasu Gounden: Founder and Executive Director; and Ms Pravina Makan-Lakha: Advisor on Women, Peace and Security. During the first day, Adv. Vasu Gounden moderated the session on the role of women and girls in Silencing the Guns in Africa. On 12 November 2020, Ms Pravina Makan-Lakha presented to plenary the outcomes of the working group on Preventative Diplomacy and Mediation.
“Participants brought their insights from those roles they play in preventive diplomacy and mediation,” said Ms Pravina Makan-Lakha during her report back. “The main point is that the gaps and implementation of the normative gains of the WPS agenda cannot remain, and this refers to women’s inclusion in peace processes with emphasis on women’s meaningful leadership and mediation.”
At the conclusion of the Forum on Women, Peace and Security, a Call to Action was drafted and called on the African Union (AU) and African Governments to act upon 17 recommendations to ensure that peace and security becomes a lived experience for women in Africa. Some of these recommendations included: implementing in full the AU instruments for promoting the WPs Agenda; Provide resources for implementation of the WPS Agenda; enforce gender-balance in mediation and election observation missions; establish measures to cushion women from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; and ensure that post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD) processes involve women and girls.
The Forum is one of many initiatives the OSE on WPS has spearheaded during 2020 – a year which marks many milestones including the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325; the Year for Silencing the Guns in Africa; and the end of the first African Women’s Decade on Grassroots Approach to Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (2010-2020).
ACCORD remains a committed partner of the OSE of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security in its efforts of advancing the goals set by Agenda 2063 more generally and the goals set by the WPS agenda more specifically in order to realize the Silencing of the Guns in Africa.