The Women Peace and Security (WPS) Focal Points Network convened its 4th Capital – Level Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from 18 – 19 May 2022. South Africa and Switzerland were handed the Co-Chairship of the WPS Focal Points Network for 2022 by their predecessors, Canada and Uruguay.
This WPS meeting took place at a time when the world continues to face multiple challenges that includes rapid climate change, health pandemics, conflict, and violence against women and girls. Amidst these challenges, civil society remains an important stakeholder and partner that has contributed to various aspects of peacebuilding, ranging from direct practical interventions such as mediation and negotiations, to facilitating reconciliation between groups in conflict.
In keeping with the 2022 theme “Partnering for Change – Translating the Women, Peace and Security Agenda into Action,” the meeting sought to embody the idea of cooperation between states, regional and international organisations, and civil society organisations as a source for innovative and transformative strategies to advance the implementation of the WPS agenda. Building on the substantial work done by previous chairs and co-chairs, the fourth capital-level meeting of the WPS Focal Points Network focused on two interrelated pillars of the WPS agenda, namely, participation of women in peace processes, and the protection of women’s rights.
During this meeting, it was recognised that the full, equal and meaningful participation of women will remain stalled as long as political power obtained by women is regarded as a loss for men. The recommendations brought forward during the meeting included the need for an integrative peace leadership approach, which entailed using diverse expertise, experiences, and contributions of women and men for peace; sustaining civil society involvement throughout the life cycle of the WPS National Action Plans (NAPs)and ; support towards youth representation so as to engage youth in the WPS NAP development processes to create dual learning opportunities and connections between WPS and youth, peace and security.
ACCORD was selected as the official civil society organisation to South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). During the visit to Geneva, ACCORD also led a civil society meeting with Swiss Peace to share experiences on ways in which to strengthen efforts between civil society and government. ACCORD brought a civil society perspective to the Capital Level meeting by providing valuable inputs into the working group sessions that aim to guide ministries as they strengthen efforts to promote the role of women in decision making and peace processes.
ACCORD looks forward to contributing to the implementation of the recommendations brought forward and reaffirms its commitment to sharing best practises and lessons learned on these and other women, peace and security issues.