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Tools and Strategies used to Advocate for Gender Equality in

By Louis Gonzales,2014-12-13 09:10
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Tools and Strategies used to Advocate for Gender Equality in

     International Secretariat 8 Rue du Vieux-Billard P.O. Box 5037 1211 Geneva 11 Switzerland Tel: (41 22) 328 80 50 Fax : (41 22) 328 80 52 Email: info@fasngo.org Website: www.fasngo.org

    Tools and Strategies used to Advocate for Gender Equality in Complex Emergencies

     ‘Women, who know the price of conflict so well, are also often better equipped than men to

    prevent or resolve it’.

    October 2000, Kofi Anan, the former Secretary General of the UN, in a statement to the Security Council.

Introduction

    Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) is a women's non-governmental organisation (NGO) working to engender the peace process in Africa. Since its inception in 1996, FAS has worked to foster, strengthen and promote the leading role of women in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts on the African continent.

    FAS has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and observer status with the African Commission for Human and People's Rights (ACHPR). It is also represented in the African Union Women’s Committee and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), to bring women's voices into the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa. In addition, FAS chairs the Geneva Working Group on Women, Peace and Security which works to monitor the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325.

    Networks

    The development of strong networking relations with women's civil society organizations is crucial for FAS. Solidarity missions, conferences and other events in support of women's issues are an important means of consolidating and expanding these networks and partnerships. Networking with organizations and institutions which share FAS' goals in furthering the African women's peace movement ensures the most efficient use of resources; avoidance of duplication and overlap; and allows for every opportunity for action to be seized to advocate for women.

    Partnerships with institutions and their programmes involved in peacebuilding, reconstruction and development are also important for FAS to strengthen its agenda for the benefit of women. Strategic partnerships have been fostered with stakeholders, including policy makers, implementers within governments and UN agencies including the Regional Gender Programme of UNDP.

FAS’ Work

    Régional Office International Secretariat Office in New York Immeuble Rose, 8, Rue du Vieux-Billard, Church Center, Stèle Mermoz appt. 31C P.O. Box 5037, 777 United Nations Plaza,5th Floor BP 45077 Fann CH-1211 New York 10017-3521 Dakar, Senegal Geneva, Switzerland New York, USA Tel: (+221) 860 20 48 Tel: (+41) 22 328 80 50 Tel: (+1212)687-1369 Fax: (+221) 860 20 47 Fax: (+41) 22 328 80 52 Fax: (+1212)661-4188 Email: infodk@fasngo.org Email: info@fasngo.org Email : infony@fasngo.org

    FAS has learned from its extensive experience in Africa that women’s potential contribution to durable peace has yet to be fully recognised. The proportion of women involved in negotiations for the prevention or resolution of conflict is extremely low, even though women play a significant role in the reconstruction and transformation of war-torn areas.

FAS works to support women and women’s groups throughout the whole peace process, ensuring that

    they are involved at every level so that their needs and priorities are taken into consideration. Its work focuses for the most part in the Mano River region (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) and the Great Lakes region (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda) where it supports grassroots groups and frontline activities.

    FAS’ strategies to promote and support women in complex emergency situations are divided into various stages:

    1. Solidarity missions

    2. Building an agenda

    3. Creation of a platform

    4. Women in peace negotiations

    5. Transitional period

However, this presentation will only focus on solidarity missions and women in peace negotiations.

    These two strategies have been successfully used in the Mano River region, the DRC and Burundi.

    1. Solidarity missions

    FAS recognizes that war is easier to create than it is to end and that achieving sustainable peace takes time and is a far more complex process. Innovative methods must therefore be found to achieve sustainable peace. In the past, FAS has organized solidarity missions in Burundi, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ethiopia and Eritrea with high-level delegations. The aim of Solidarity Missions is to:

    - Support women’s groups by assessing the needs and priorities of women in these areas;

    - Encourage, and give greater visibility to, the efforts of women working to alleviate the suffering

    in their communities;

    - Sensitize the country’s decision-makers to the need to involve women in the decision-making

    process;

    - Share experiences and best practices of African women’s initiatives in conflict management and

    resolution.

Case studies

Great Lakes

    FAS first organised a mission of solidarity in December 1997 in Burundi which was sponsored by the

    Organisation of African Unity (OAU). This first mission allowed FAS to become familiar with the

    political context of the country and to evaluate the real needs of Burundi woman. The delegation was

    Régional Office International Secretariat Office in New York Immeuble Rose, 8, Rue du Vieux-Billard, Church Center, Stèle Mermoz appt. 31C P.O. Box 5037, 777 United Nations Plaza,5th Floor BP 45077 Fann CH-1211 New York 10017-3521 Dakar, Senegal Geneva, Switzerland New York, USA Tel: (+221) 860 20 48 Tel: (+41) 22 328 80 50 Tel: (+1212)687-1369 Fax: (+221) 860 20 47 Fax: (+41) 22 328 80 52 Fax: (+1212)661-4188 Email: infodk@fasngo.org Email: info@fasngo.org Email : infony@fasngo.org

    able to make contact with women’s associations for peace and to make them aware of the role they have to play in the Burundi crisis.

    This first mission also allowed FAS to make the various players aware of the necessity of involving women in the peace process and of recognising their role in managing the crisis. When conflict had first broken out in Burundi in 1993, a number of women’s associations representing women from different ethnic groups created the umbrella organisation of the Confederation of Women’s Associations and

    NGOs in Burundi (CAFOB). Since then, FAS has worked to strengthen the organisation so that it can work more effectively promote women’s rights in the country.

In February 2004, a delegation of FAS members visited countries of the Great Lakes region, prior to

    the International Conference on the Great Lakes, which was being jointly organized by the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN). The FAS delegation visited Burundi, Rwanda and the DRC

    and was able to meet women’s organizations including Profemmes in Rwanda and CAFOB in Burundi,

    to assess the level of grassroots participation in the International Conference on the Great Lakes. Having assessed the needs of women’s networks, FAS was able to support CAFOB’s preparation and participation in the AU/UN Conference.

    2. Women in peace negotiations

With a common agenda and national platform in place, women’s groups are more likely to be allowed

    to participate in high level peace negotiations. FAS has successfully advocated for the participation of women in various peace negations, allowing them to articulate their concerns and priorities at the highest level. This in turns means that women’s needs can be integrated into post-conflict

    reconstruction processes.

Case studies

Great Lakes

    In the DRC the work of FAS, Women as Partners for Peace in Africa (WOPPA) and other NGO’s led

    to the creation of a network of women’s groups, or the CAUCUS, prior to the Inter-Congolese

    Dialogue of Sun City in 2002.

FAS worked to mobilise and support the women’s CAUSUS to obtain a greater number of official seats

    within the Inter-Congolese Dialogue. The most successful intervention was made on International th March 2002, when the women’s delegation attended the Inter-Congolese Women’s Day on 8

    Dialogue’s Plenary Session. Women comprised 30% of the participants and as a show of solidarity they all wore the same dress.

    In Sun City, South Africa, the CAUCUS was able to organise press briefings and interviews which were eventually disseminated around the DRC - the women’s delegation appealed to Congolese women to

    demonstrate and mobilise throughout the country. With the support of FAS and UNIFEM the

    CAUCUS was able to hold discussions with various participants in the negotiations, and played an

    Régional Office International Secretariat Office in New York Immeuble Rose, 8, Rue du Vieux-Billard, Church Center, Stèle Mermoz appt. 31C P.O. Box 5037, 777 United Nations Plaza,5th Floor BP 45077 Fann CH-1211 New York 10017-3521 Dakar, Senegal Geneva, Switzerland New York, USA Tel: (+221) 860 20 48 Tel: (+41) 22 328 80 50 Tel: (+1212)687-1369 Fax: (+221) 860 20 47 Fax: (+41) 22 328 80 52 Fax: (+1212)661-4188 Email: infodk@fasngo.org Email: info@fasngo.org Email : infony@fasngo.org

    important mediating role between the various groups. They were also able to mainstream their concerns into the final documents of the peace accords.

    In Burundi, CAFOB, with the support of FAS, lobbied persistently for women to participate in the Burundian peace process. This lobbying resulted in women from CAFOB being able to attend the

    Arusha Peace Talks, in Tanzania, in October 1998, as observers. These peace talks eventually led to the signing of a draft peace agreement in August 2000.

Mano River

    In the Mano River region, women leaders, representatives of the private sector and workers associations, and UN agencies were brought together to create a women’s network. This network was created in 2000 and is known as the Mano River Women’s Peace Network (Marwopnet).

    FAS helped to mobilize and support this network at the sub-regional level when it created a national plan of action which was presented, discussed and adopted in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2000.

    At the peak of the crisis between Guinea and Liberia in 2001, and just as the international community was pulling out of the area, the women of Marwopnet stepped up their activities. With the numbers of

    refugees fleeing into Guinea from Sierra Leone and Liberia reaching unprecedented levels, relations between the three countries were deteriorating.

    However, Marwopnet succeeded in bringing the leaders of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea back to the negotiation table at a summit in Rabat, Morocco in March 2002. There, the leaders agreed to jumpstart peace talks, to initiate dialogue between their Ministers for Defence, to re-open borders, to rebuild diplomatic relations, to decrease the proliferation of small arms, and to increase economic co-operation. This was huge progress compared with the previous deadlock.

    Although cooperation between the countries was more forthcoming, conflict within Liberia itself intensified in 2003. The Akosombo Talks in June 2003 sought to end this violence. FAS supported a delegation of women from Marwopnet, Liberia, during the Akosombo Talks where the President of

    Marwopnet, Mrs Theresa Leigh-Sherman, signed the peace accords as a witness.

    3. Recognitions

    In his report to the Security Council in April 2001 the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, commended Marwopnet’s positive contributions to peace building. In December 2003, the United Nations General Assembly awarded Marwopnet the prestigious United Nations Prize in the

    Field of Human Rights

    4. Challenges

    Régional Office International Secretariat Office in New York Immeuble Rose, 8, Rue du Vieux-Billard, Church Center, Stèle Mermoz appt. 31C P.O. Box 5037, 777 United Nations Plaza,5th Floor BP 45077 Fann CH-1211 New York 10017-3521 Dakar, Senegal Geneva, Switzerland New York, USA Tel: (+221) 860 20 48 Tel: (+41) 22 328 80 50 Tel: (+1212)687-1369 Fax: (+221) 860 20 47 Fax: (+41) 22 328 80 52 Fax: (+1212)661-4188 Email: infodk@fasngo.org Email: info@fasngo.org Email : infony@fasngo.org

     1 was unanimously passed by the Security Council on 31st October 2000 - Although SCR 1325

    many countries have failed to recognise its full impact and implement gender sensitive policies

    during and after complex emergencies.

    - The human security aspect of complex emergencies is still not fully recognised. Most countries

    continue to focus on military based peace keeping forces as a means of stabilising security.

    There are challenges concerning how peacekeeping missions can incorporate the human

    security dimension. Equally, civilians, and particularly women, must be made a more central

    aspect of security programmes.

    - The natural resources of African continue to be a source of contention. Competition for these

    resources not has military, political and economic consequences but also social ones these

    have the biggest impact on women.

    - There is a severe lack of funding for advocacy activities which do not present donors with

    obvious, quantifiable results. The impact of these activities is far more subtle, but no less

    important than other activities and the results may only become obvious in the long-term.

5. Recommendations

i. Trust Fund

    ; Will be specifically targeted at the promotion of human security to encourage

    initiatives in the areas of gender, governance etc

    ii. Incorporation of the human security dimension

    ; Ex. of hybrid force of UN and AU peacekeepers being sent to Darfur.

    ; African troops have the knowledge but not the manpower.

    ; increasing the role of non military peace missions

    iii. UNSCR 1325

    ; Every effort must be made to ensure that this resolution is systematically

    incorporated into all peace negotiations and that it is integrated into post-conflict

    reconstruction initiatives.

     1 This was the first Security Council resolution to recognise that women are not only victims of war, but also active

    agents in peace-building. Resolution 1325 is now officially international law, meaning that it binds all UN Nation States

    through its adoption. It calls on the UN, member states, and other parties to include women and women's organisations

    when they negotiate and implement peace agreements and reconstruction efforts, as well as protect the safety of women

    during conflict and post-conflict situations.

    Régional Office International Secretariat Office in New York Immeuble Rose, 8, Rue du Vieux-Billard, Church Center, Stèle Mermoz appt. 31C P.O. Box 5037, 777 United Nations Plaza,5th Floor BP 45077 Fann CH-1211 New York 10017-3521 Dakar, Senegal Geneva, Switzerland New York, USA Tel: (+221) 860 20 48 Tel: (+41) 22 328 80 50 Tel: (+1212)687-1369 Fax: (+221) 860 20 47 Fax: (+41) 22 328 80 52 Fax: (+1212)661-4188 Email: infodk@fasngo.org Email: info@fasngo.org Email : infony@fasngo.org

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