2020 is a momentous year for gender equality. It marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), and the conclusion to the African Women’s Decade. These celebrations offer an important opportunity to take stock of what has been accomplished over the last two decades and assess the challenges that continue to persist.
The outbreak of corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic and the measures put in place to curb its spread have quelled a host of opportunities for reflections, assessments and setting new strategic priorities for the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. Consequently, concerns have emerged over lost momentum that jeopardizes the gains that have been made over the past two decades in securing women’s empowerment in the field of peace and security. Therefore, it is imperative that conversations among policymakers, practitioners and academics who support women’s leadership and strengthening efforts to empower and protect traditionally marginalized and vulnerable groups continue.
At the same time, the youth of Africa have also been fighting to be recognized as agents of peace in their communities. 2020 marks the 5th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 (UNSCR 2250) on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) which formally affirmed the important role youth play in maintaining and promoting peace and security. This has clearly been shown during the COVID-19 pandemic as youth are mobilizing in creative ways to support their communities combat the spread of the coronavirus. Yet, their voices continue to be on the margins
of decision-making processes.
Given this context, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) has launched a virtual dialogue series to forge a stronger relationship between senior women and young women peacebuilders. This intergenerational dialogue will become a series that seeks to create a platform for reflection, listening, and the exchange of knowledge to enhance conflict prevention and mitigation across Africa. Simultaneously, the series will contribute to enhancing the capacities of young women peacebuilders by sharing examples of best practices from experienced women in the field. In the context of COVID-19 these conversations will help to enhance the responses and strategies of young women peacebuilders as they continue to mitigate potential risks posed by conflict and other crises.