Kenya’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security

by Dhyeya Pandya, current intern at WPSN-C and World Federalist Movement, International Development and Globalization student at University of Ottawa
KenyaFlagImage1
Retrieved from: http://peacewomen.org/action-plan/national-action-plan-kenya

 

Released on March 8th, 2016 the Kenyan National Action Plan (KNAP) is dedicated to the promotion, integration, and collaboration of UNSCR 1325 into mainstream perspectives on peace, conflict resolution, security, policies, and national development. the KNAP consists of the following four pillars:

  1. Participation & Promotion of women in institutions
  2. Prevention of violence against women and girls
  3. Protection of women and girls against violence
  4. Relief and Recovery programmes designed by women, meeting specific needs of women and girls

The KNAP recognizes that in order to achieve its objectives there must be a level of coordination between institutions at all levels of government. Thus, the Plan has outlined several implementation strategies which include engaging stakeholders at various levels, as well as the integration of UNSCR 1325 into policies and institutional bodies. Having learnt from the NAPs of Finland and Liberia, the KNAP recognizes the need for commitment from all levels of the nation for the successful promotion of gender equality to increase the presence of women in leadership.

 

Read more at: http://peacewomen.org/action-plan/national-action-plan-kenya 

 

The Women’s Struggle for Peace: Peace Initiatives in South Sudan, Sudan, and Central African Republic

Internally Displaced Women in Bangui, Central African Republic UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Internally Displaced Women in Bangui, Central African Republic
UN Photo/Evan Schneider

November was an important month for women. The insecurity in South Sudan, Sudan, and Central African Republic has lead women to mobilize and take action towards establishing peace. However, there are missed opportunities and concerns with the current initiatives that can be and should be rectified.

In Sudan, as investigations continue into the allegations of mass rape of 200 women in Tabit, North Darfur, African Union/United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) organized “Global Open Day forum bringing together more than 140 women representing the five states of Darfur to discuss the role of women in peace”. It was meant to reinvigorate efforts at implementing Resolution 1325. However, an important part of the resolution, which stresses the importance of women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, seems to have been largely ignored.

Continue reading “The Women’s Struggle for Peace: Peace Initiatives in South Sudan, Sudan, and Central African Republic”

#16 Days: Progress on Women, Peace and Security Issues

“UN Women for Peace” march marking International Women’s Day in 2013. Photo credit: Mark Garten / United Nations.
“UN Women for Peace” march marking International Women’s Day in 2013. Photo credit: Mark Garten / United Nations.

Report Review: Cross-Cutting Report on Women, Peace and Security (2014) by Security Council Report

Security Council Report, an independent non-for-profit organisation that provides “information about the activities of the UN Security Council and its subordinate bodies” for the stakeholders and the general public, published the 4th Cross-Cutting Report on Women, Peace and Security in April 2014. This and preceding cross-cutting reports on women, peace and security specifically deal with women, peace and security issues and the way the Security Council addresses them. In general, the reports track the new work of the Security Council as it relates to women, peace and security matters, analyze relevant statistical information, and highlight relevant trends.

The fourth report is quite comprehensive in nature even though it focuses mostly on the developments in the last year. It starts by discussing and analyzing key developments at the thematic level in the following areas: Security Council activity on women, peace and security; “Arria-Formula” meeting on women, peace and security; field perspectives from gender practitioners in peacekeeping operations; and the work of the Special Representative on sexual violence in conflicts. Next, it dives into a cross-cutting analysis for 2013 by looking at Security Council resolutions, country-specific presidential statements, Secretary General’s reports on country-specific situations, and UN Mission mandates. Furthermore, it analyzes the application of UN’s Zero-Tolerance policy and the work of the several Security Council Sanctions Committees. Lastly, it briefly discusses Security Council’s dynamics as they relate to women, peace and security agenda. Continue reading “#16 Days: Progress on Women, Peace and Security Issues”

#16Days: Peace Talks, Peacebuilding and Women

Women peacebuilding
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, inducts Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Wangari Maathai, as UN Messenger of Peace. Photo credit: Mark Garten / United Nations.

Although over past two decades great strides have been made to include women in international, political, and security affairs, recent statistics demonstrate a lot of work still needs to be done. In 2012, UN Women published a report “Women’s Participation in Peace Negotiations: Connections between Presence and Influence”, which demonstrates how little women have been engaged in the examined 31 peace processes from 1992 to 20011. It found that in all of these peace processes “only 4 per cent of signatories, 2.4 per cent of chief mediators, 3.7 per cent of witnesses and 9 per cent of negotiators” were women. In only five cases, the percentage of female negotiators was above 10 per cent.

Even years after the adoption of Resolutions 1325 in 2000, women are still excluded from peace processes. Indeed, several recent peace processes from 2008 to 2011 (Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Iraq, and Yemen) did not include any women at all. Considering the prevalence of violence against women in these countries, the exclusion of women is a major failure. Their input would have been instrumental in helping to address the effects of the conflicts on women and in devising the most effective ways of including women in the subsequent peacebuilding efforts. Indeed, the lack of women representation in peace processes is a major issue since they map out the way peacebuilding will unfold in post-conflict era. Without an input from women, it is unlikely that women’s concerns will be addressed or their strengths will be properly drawn upon. This is unfortunate because women have much to contribute to the peace processes and subsequent peacebuilding efforts.

In her journal article “A Country of their Own: Women and Peacebuilding”, Theodora-Ismene Gizelis states that “the social roles of women for nurturing interpersonal relationships make them effective peacebuilders”. An examination of women’s contributions to peacebuilding and peace processes shows that Gizelis is correct to make such a claim. Indeed, the Accord Insight documented many roles that women performed in peacebuilding in several countries such Cambodia, Sierra Leone, northern Uganda, Papua New Guinea–Bougainville, Northern Ireland, Angola, Sudan, Indonesia–Aceh, and Somalia. In these countries, women have greatly contributed to peacebuilding by: “promoting consensus and inclusion as a key strategy, advancing broader issues of social justice, and building peace beyond the negotiating table”. At the negotiating table, they broadened the agenda by including issues such as, equality, access to land, and reconciliation. These issues are not of importance to the armed parties that are typically present at the negotiation table, but the solution to them is vital for achieving long-lasting peace. For instance, women in northern Uganda helped to prepare communities for the reconciliation and integration of ex-combatants by using prayer meetings and peace education. Moreover, the Northern Ireland’s Women’s Coalition (NIWIC) ensured that issues of victims’ rights and reconciliation were included in the Belfast agreement. Furthermore, in Somaliland in 1993 and in 1996, women lobbied elders to intervene to end the conflicts and mobilized funds for the peace meetings. Therefore, women have an important part to play in peacebuilding, but the discussion about their potential contribution should being at peace negotiations with proper input from the women themselves.


 

Margaryta Yakovenko is a recent graduate from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. She specializes in peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and security sector reform. She is currently interning with Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada.

#16Days: Women leaders in the DRC weigh in on Peace, Security and Cooperation

DRC blog post
A delegation of the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) negotiate with Ituri militia groups on the disarmament of combatants and their integration in the government armed forces (FARDC). Photo credit: Martine Perret / United Nations.

Report Review: Women’s Leadership and Participation in the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes Region: Achievements, Challenges, and Opportunities by Niamh Reilly and Roslyn Warren. This was a report on a joint study done by the Centre for Global Women’s Studies, NUI Galway, and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Washington, DC. July 2014.

The growth of militarism is quite evident in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where armed groups and the government are locked in a perpetual state of war. Women and children are suffering the most as demonstrated by the countless cases of sexual violence and child soldiers. In hopes of ending systemic violence in the DRC, eleven African countries and four international organizations signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes Region (PSC Framework) on February 24, 2013.

The PSC Framework itself does not specifically focus on women; it outlines national, regional, and international commitments to help end violence in the DRC. However, the report reviews the first year of the ongoing implementation of the PSC Framework, while focusing on women and gender issues. It thoroughly analyzes the gains, obstacles, and future opportunities in each of the three fields. Part III of the report is worthy of a special note. It explores the views of key female leaders in the Congolese civil society regarding the national implementation of the three key PSC Framework commitment areas: Security Sector Reform, Consolidation of State Authority, and Economic and Social Development.

Thus far, the focus of the initiatives stemming from the Framework has mainly been on security sector reform (SSR) and consolidation of state authority. The respondents agreed that the focus on these priorities is well-placed. In regards to SSR, they believe that the most urgent aspect is striving to achieve well-functioning and responsible defence and police forces. This is emphasis is understandable since much of sexual violence against women is committed by state’s forces. Therefore, they believe that an appropriate amount of funds should be allocated for SSR in order to achieve effective security and defence sectors that will be able to regain the population’s trust. Furthermore, they emphasized the importance of the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation, resettlement and reintegration for establishing a more secure environment for women (and everyone else) and the importance of consistently applying existing national laws against sexual and gender-based violence. Lastly, the lack of women in the officer ranks and higher leadership positions was cited as a major obstacle to ensuring that SSR benefits women.

In regards to the consolidation of state authority, the participants viewed it as a multidimensional and comprehensive process. Consolidation must be done both within the country, by ensuring an effective public administration and a monopoly on the use of force, and outside it – by maintaining good relations with the neighbouring countries. The women expressed concern that current consolidation efforts of state’s authority do not properly take into account the needs of women and exclude them from the decision-making process. Furthermore, they are concerned that cases of sexual violence are not properly dealt with, and perpetrators go unpunished.

Lastly, in regards to building sustainable development and peace, the women agreed that economic development is essential for peace and vice versa. Unfortunately, they are left skeptical of the government’s commitment to these issues. Indeed, one participant stated that many Congolese people believe that “state authorities want the country’s conditions to remain chaotic and insecure [in order] to remain in power … [and] to gain more money.” Thus it comes as no surprise that none of the leaders were aware of any concrete development initiatives on the ground that arose from the national implementation of the PSC Framework. Considering that the high unemployment often leads to criminal activity, homelessness, and juvenile delinquency (all of which contribute to insecurity), it is surprising that the DRC government ranks economic and social development last in a list of six priority areas in the national implementation of the PSC Framework.

In conclusion, the report demonstrates that women leaders from civil society should be included in the decision-making process as they definitely have a unique perspective on the initiatives undertaken and their impact on women.


Margaryta Yakovenko is a recent graduate from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. She specializes in peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and security sector reform. She is currently interning with Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada.