In 2015, the United National Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security celebrates the 15 year anniversary since its inception in 2000. South Africa has continuously been on the frontline in supporting this agenda and related UN resolutions and frameworks that seek to provide equal opportunities for both genders in peace and security. To consolidate these efforts being made by different departments and actors, South Africa’s Department of Defence (DoD) organised a preliminary key stakeholder meeting to discuss the development of a multi-sector National Action Plan (NAP) on UNSCR 1325 for the country. ACCORD participated in this preliminary meeting – held on 24 July 2015 in Pretoria, South Africa.
The meeting was attended by government departments and individuals from several organisations and institutions, such as the South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID), the Foundation for Human Rights, University of Johannesburg, the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) and the Institute of Security Studies.
UNSCR 1325 stresses the importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace-building and peacekeeping. It calls on Member States to ensure women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security and urges all actors to increase the participation of women and to incorporate gender perspectives in all areas of peace building peacekeeping and conflict prevention and resolution. The South African Department of Defence draws its mandate from the country’s Medium-Term Strategic Framework 2014–2019 imperatives which are directed towards the realisation of outcomes that seek to ensure that all people in South Africa are and feel safe. It is also further geared towards creating a better South Africa that contributes to a better and safer Africa within the context of a better world.
To strengthen its delivery on the outcomes, the Department of Defence will continue to make efforts to mainstream gender and to enhance the representation and participation of women in the defence forces. The preliminary key stakeholder meeting was a platform for multi-sector discussions on how to further empower women and remove obstacles that impede their participation in maintaining internal and external peace and security by through bolstering the country’s active role in peacekeeping missions and mediation efforts on the African continent and global platforms.
The multi-sector discussions on the development of South Africa’s NAP set the stage for other follow up consultations on women’s role in peace and security process. ACCORD also participated in a follow up meeting held on 12 August 2015 that brought together several Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on gender, women, peace and security in South Africa. The CSOs discussed their role in the NAP development process. There was consensus that the process should be inclusive and work to draw from the experiences and perspectives of all members of the community including men, women, children, persons with special needs and minority groups. The CSO’s representatives also highlighted the need for including the voices of the different social, academic, religious, ethnic, and other groups in the society to further strengthen the process.
The Training for Peace (TfP) in Africa Programme is an initiative funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.