Consolidating the Gender, Peace and Security Agenda In the Southern African Region
14 Dec 2015
2015 marks an important year for the women and peace and security agenda. In 2015 the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action celebrated its 20th anniversary and the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on "women and peace and security" observed its 15th anniversary. These documents recognised for the first time the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women as well as, in particular, their important role as active agents of change in the promotion and maintenance of peace and security. Although numerous challenges still remain, essential progress is being made. Against this backdrop, UN Women, in partnership with the SADC Secretariat held a Symposium on Gender, Peace and Security from 29-30 October 2015 in Johannesburg. The aim of the Symposium was to build the capacity of stakeholders and link gender in peace and security with existing mandates of Ministries responsible for Gender/Women's Affairs, Police and Defence in Member States. The Symposium was opportune as it was preceded by the Security Council High level Review of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR1325) which took place in New York on the 14th October 2015. The High level review assessed the progress made at the global, regional and country levels in implementing the resolution. The reflections from New York were also discussed in the Symposium. The main focus of the Symposium was on Article 28 of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution, which calls on states to enable greater participation of women in peace and security decision making, the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence and the protection of women during conflict. The discussions focused on the outcomes of the review and implications for the sub-region and will inform future interventions. ACCORD participated in the meeting which brought together over 70 participants, drawn from government officials from Ministries of Defence, experts and organisations working in the area of Gender, Peace and Security. The Symposium also brought together officials from Gender/Women's Affairs Ministries and representatives from gender/women's organisations who had just concluded a technical meeting to discuss the first draft of the revised targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. The key objectives of the symposium included: reviewing Article 28 on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution and making suggestions for the future framework; discussing outcomes of the UN Security Council High level global review of UNSCR and implications for our sub-region so that this informs future interventions; sharing knowledge, lessons and experiences in the area of women, peace building and conflict resolutions; reflections by Member States on the value of National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security; and reinvigorating the civil society Gender, Peace and Security clusters at national and regional level so that they become key resources for the sector and are able to learn from good practices.