Image: Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director Gender, ECOWAS Commission
A conference of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in collaboration with the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) opens today 20th October, 2015 in Accra to review the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) 2000 in West Africa with the theme “15 years of Implementing UNSCR 1325 in West Africa: Looking Back and Looking Forward”.
The UNSCR 1325 gave the groundbreaking message of the critical role that women have to play in processes of conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding, as well as the specific impact of war on women’s and girls’ lives.
In her welcome address, Dr. Fatimata Dia Sow, the Commissioner of Gender and Social Affairs, ECOWAS Commission, represented by Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director of Gender, said that since the passage of the Resolution, the ECOWAS Commission has focused on the development of normative framework to guide its conflict prevention and resolution work in West Africa.
This, according to her, will be done through the adoption of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) in 2008. She said that the framework aims at mainstreaming conflict prevention into ECOWAS’ policies and programmes; which includes Women, Peace and Security.
In addition, she said that the 15 years anniversary of the UNSCR 1325 provides the participants at the Conference with the opportunity to reflect and discuss on how to re-enforce the gains made and what needs to be done to re-energize their commitments.
She re-affirmed the commitment of ECOWAS to the new UNSCR 2242 passed on the 13th of October, 2015 and welcomed the recommendations of the Global Study on the UNSCR 1325.
Hon. Nana Oye Lithur the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ghana represented by Hon. John A. Ackon, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection in her address emphasized the need to develop strategies that will place women at the centre of conflict prevention and peace building.
He added that it is critical to mainstream the content of the ECOWAS Framework on Women, Peace and Security at all policy levels.
Speaking earlier, Chukwuemeka Eze, Executive Director, WANEP said that ECOWAS through its programmes has continued to convince the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) of its willingness to truly transform from an ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of People.
According to Mr. Eze the Resolution UNSCR1325 marked the formal international recognition, at the highest institutional level, of the importance of women to peacebuilding and the necessity of adopting a gender sensitive approach to conflict resolution in order to meet women’s needs.
The Conference brings together representatives of governments and women’s groups from across West Africa to deliberate on topical issues on women, peace and security and to also develop strategies that would place women at the centre of conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
The two days high level Conference will highlight the successes, best practices and lessons learnt in implementing the UNSCR 1325 National Action Plans (NAPs) in West Africa and to examine the challenges and the way forward having in view the emerging peace and security threats in the region.
The Conference will also create a platform for women’s groups, National Gender/Women’s Ministries, representatives from intergovernmental organizations and other stakeholders to reflect and share their experiences of working with the Resolution.
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