By Helena Gronberg
On May 7, 2013 at a ceremony in Kathmandu, the Global Network of Peacebuilders and its Nepali members and partners launched the UNSCR 1325 and 1820 Nepal NAP Localization Guideline. The ceremony, which gathered some 100 participants from six districts, as well as government partners, the donor community and UN agencies, was a much anticipated culmination of GNWP’s initiative Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820, a program that has been operational in Nepal since 2011. In partnership with the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction (MOPR) and the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MOFALD), and with financial support from the Government of Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, the Localization Guidelines were drafted in 2012 and on Tuesday officially adopted and launched. Joint Secretary Saduram Sapkota of MOPR, who has played a key role since the inception of the program, in his remarks stressed that the presence at the launch of seven government bodies and two UN agencies underscored the importance of the document and would without doubt warrant its implementation.
The Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 program is a people-based, bottom-up approach to policy-making and policy implementation, aimed specifically at the implementation of National Action Plans (NAPs) on UNSCRs 1325 and 1820. By bringing together local and national stakeholders, civil society and government actors the program ensures broad-based ownership of the policies on women and peace and security at country level.
The Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 program was launched in Nepal through a series of awareness raising trainings in the districts of Banke and Kaski, organized by GNWP and GNWP member Saathi, in collaboration with MOPR, in June 2011. The trainings gathered, district and village development officers, chief district officers, members of the local peace committees, representatives from conflict affected communities, army officials and members of the armed police, teachers, leaders of women’s groups and other local actors. The objective of the trainings was to come up with strategies for integrating the Nepal NAP into already existing district and village development planning processes. The Nepal NAP that was adopted in early 2011 has been celebrated as one of the most consultative NAP processes to date, boasting consultations with stakeholders at all levels in 51 out of Nepal’s 75 districts. The Localization program was to ensure that local ownership and outreach to communities most affected by conflict is sustained.. “We wanted to ensure that the NAP was not shelved but taken to the districts and villages to the people most affected by the conflict,” said Bandana Rana, Executive Chair of Saathi.
During the months following the localization trainings further consultations were held with various stakeholders, including MOFALD, the government agency ultimately responsible for coordination, cooperation, and monitoring and evaluation of activities undertaken at district and village level, as well as any initiatives initiated by development partners. With the support of MOFALD as well as MOPR, the guidelines were subsequently drafted and field-tested at village and district level in 2012. The launch on Tuesday marked the final stage of making the document official. Mr. Ram Kumar Shrestha, Minister of Peace and Reconstruction in his inaugural speech remarked that the Guidelines would guarantee women’s meaningful participation in prevention of future conflicts, and congratulated the different partners on the development of the document. In her speech, GNWP International Coordinator Mavic Cabrera-Balleza said “we are celebrating how the Nepali people are implementing locally and inspiring globally. “You are showing the world “the how“ of implementation of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 in ways that will make a difference in the lives of women and men, girls and boys in local communities directly affected by the conflicts and its aftermath,” she added.
The Localization program in Nepal is made possible with the support of the Government of Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, and we were very pleased that both governments were represented at the launch. H.E. Mr. Stewart Beck, Ambassador of Canada reaffirmed Canada’s support to Nepal’s commitment to the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and complemented GNWP and its partners on its many achievements in implementing UNSCR 1325, “the Localization program being no exception”, he said. Camilla Rossaak, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Norway, on her part expressed hope that “the Guidelines for how local authorities can integrate the National Action Plan and recommendations in their work plans and budgets will be actively used by the local actors to promote real change in women’s lives at the local level.” She further reiterated the important role of MOFALD who will play a key role in ensuring that the guidelines are followed through at the district and village level. Gitanjali Singh, UN Women Deputy Representative for Nepal also expressed her agency’s commitment to support the Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 program particularly the use of the Guidelines: “UN Women is committed to taking these guidelines forward and to integrating them in all our work. The Peace Support Working Group commits to sharing these guidelines with all its partners,” she stated.
The official program was followed by an orientation session on the Guidelines with the representatives from the districts and villages who ultimately will be the ones using the Guidelines. While participants expressed enthusiasm and strong commitment to apply the document in their daily work, some questions were raised regarding budget allocation and responsibilities of various officials. GNWP and its members and partners are committed to addressing these and other issues that may arise, during the roll-out and implementation of the guidelines in the coming year.
By Mavic Cabrera Balleza
Around 80 representatives from Japanese government agencies, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, civil society organizations and academe took part in a seminar on the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security held at Josai International University in Tokyo on April 20, 2013.
Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced at the G8 meeting in London on April 11, 2013 that the government has started its national action planning process on UNSCR 1325. In addition, Japan’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Kazuyoshi Umemoto, also announced at the Security Council Open Debate on April 17, 2013 that, “Japan has started developing a National Action Plan (NAP) based on Security Council Resolution 1325. We are vigorously working on the plan, which includes our commitments to further strengthen our efforts for the protection of women’s rights in humanitarian settings. We hope to complete the plan, in close consultation with UN organizations such as UN Women as well as civil society, as soon as possible.”
The April 20th seminar in Tokyo aimed to enhance the level of awareness and knowledge of UNSCR 1325, 1820 among Japanese civil society and other stakeholders in order for them to meaningfully participate in the ongoing UNSCR 1325 national action planning process in the country. “It is critical that we have a thorough understanding of UNSCR 1325, 1820 and the supporting resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. The space these resolutions opened may be a contradictory one for many women’s groups and civil society organizations in Japan. We can learn many lessons from the National Action Plans of other countries, making Japan’s lateness in participating into an advantage. It is, therefore, very important that we actively participate in developing and implementing Japan’s national action plan on UNSCR 1325” Professor Fumika Sato of Hitotsubashi University commented.
The seminar included discussions on the history of UNSCR 1325, its key provisions and commitments; strengths and weaknesses; models and level of implementation; and the supporting resolutions on WPS – UNSCR 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960. In addition, the seminar also covered experiences in national action planning processes from different countries. Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, the International Coordinator of the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, a coalition of women’s organizations and civil society groups advocating for the full and effective implementation of UNSCR 1325 with headquarters in New York served as resource person for the seminar.
The organizers of the seminar were the Japan Women’s Watch (JAWW) and the Institute of Gender and Women’s Studies at Josai International University.
On April 29, 2013, women groups and organizations, including GNWP’s member Cadre Permanent de Concertation de la Femme Congolaise (CAFCO), met with Ms. Mary Robinson in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to discuss the attainment of genuine and sustainable peace throughout the DRC and the Great Lakes Region.
Ms. Robinson was appointed as the new Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa in March 2013 by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. She has served as the President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997 and has more than four decades of political and diplomatic experience, including as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002. She is expected to play a key role in supporting the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSCF) for the DRC and the Great Lakes region, signed by Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), the DRC, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia in February 2013 with the aim to stabilize the situation in the DRC.
During her first visit to the DRC as the Special Envoy, Ms. Robinson met with President Kabila, Minister of Foreign Affairs, civil society organizations and religious groups. The meeting with civil society organizations was opened by Mr. Roger A. Meece, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Civil society organizations presented their demands and concerns regarding the implementation of the PSCF, which included five components: sensitization on the population on the framework; mainstreaming of gender issues in the implementation with a special emphasis on the protection of civilians; security sector reform; setting up of DDR programs for ex-combatants; and the promotion and development of gender sensitive benchmarks in the monitoring and evaluation of progress in the implementation of the PSCF. They were also able to brief Ms. Robinson on the outcomes of the Women’s Peace Dialogue organized by GNWP and CAFCO in April 2013 and present the outcome document of this initiative.
Ms. Robinson began by thanking women’s rights organizations for their work despite the situation of instability and insecurity within the DRC. She stated that the PSCF is a glimmer of hope for achieving stability in the DRC and the Great Lakes region. She stressed the need for the signatories to do what they have committed to do within the agreement and noted that civil societies should play an important role in holding the signatories accountable. She also pointed out that based on her discussion with the President of the Republic, there will soon be a national monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the framework and she encouraged women’s participation in the implementation processes of the framework. She promised to create platforms for women to come together and discuss their concerns. She also encouraged women to participate in the upcoming meeting on June 24 in Bujumbura, Burundi planned for the discussion of the UNSCR 1325 regional plan for the Great Lakes region. She concluded by urging women to work together for a sustainable solution in the Great Lakes region.
Ms. Robinson will be continuing on to Rwanda and Burundi.
By Mavic Cabrera-Balleza
Congolese women and women from Burundi, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Uganda who took part in the Women’s Peace Dialogue held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo from April 5-6, 2012 demanded discussions on the formation of the first Intervention Brigade that will operate in the eastern part of the DRC. Authorized under UN Security Council Resolution 2098, which was adopted on March 28, 2013, the Intervention Brigade will operate under orders to “neutralize” and “disarm” armed groups in the resource-rich eastern part of the country.
In the Kinshasa Call to Action, the outcome document of the Women’s Peace Dialogue, the 81 participants of the dialogue called on MONUSCO and relevant UN entities to ensure that the Intervention Brigade does not violate the rights of civilian populations especially women. Below are the other demands that the women have put forward:
- Facilitate discussions with women’s groups to ensure that their perspectives on UNSCR 2098 are taken into account in its implementation;
- Ensure that all peace keeping forces, including the Intervention Brigade, adhere to the principles of zero tolerance on sexual exploitation and abuse in the execution of their mandates;
- Incorporate women’s concerns in the future execution of the Intervention Brigade’s mandate; and
- Provide gender sensitization training to security forces, national militaries, and the police.
The Women’s Peace Dialogue participants also expressed concern that the Intervention Brigade might in fact contribute to the escalation of fighting in the areas where they will operate and the risk of women and girls being targeted as a form of retaliation.
The Women’s Peace Dialogue participants also urged MONUSCO to continue to effectively monitor and report on the human rights situation and support national and international efforts to protect, promote and fulfill the human rights of Congolese people. Additionally, they called on MONUSCO, UN Women and the relevant UN entities to support the Women’s Peace Delegation’s upcoming advocacy efforts including dialogues with local leaders and insurgent groups in eastern DRC.”
Following the Women’s Peace Dialogue, the participants met with the Minister of Gender, Minister of Justice, the leaders of the inter-faith Congolese congregations and various officials from MONUSCO, UNDP, UN Women to present their demands aimed at putting an end to the violence in the DRC, particularly sexual violence. In all of these meetings, the women emphasized the need to address the root causes of the conflict in DRC and in the Great Lakes region.
The full copy of the Kinshasa Call to Action can be accessed here.
The Women’s Peace Dialogue was facilitated by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and the Cadre Permanent de Concertation de la Femme Congolese (CAFCO) in partnership with WILPF-DRC, Réseau Femme et Développement and the African Women’s Active Nonviolence Initiatives for Social Change (AWANICh)-DRC.
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