Sunday, December 7, 2014

AFRICA IN FOCUS >> Coming up on 9 December, 2014: Understanding UNSCR 1325, & Calling for Media engagement on Women’s greater Participation in Peace and Security

Understanding UNSCR 1325, & Calling for Media engagement on Women’s greater Participation in Peace and Security

At 7 months, the Africa in Focus (AIF) show has already covered issues of peace and security twice – first was in May on peace and security challenges on the continent, including the fight to rid the sub-region of Boko Haram. Secondly was only a few weeks ago when we spoke to WANEP’s Aliou Diallo on the way forward on Burkina Faso.

Clearly, being in West Africa, peace and security issues remain second nature to our collective desire to foster a sustainable sub-region for us all. And this is not without reason: West Africa is well-recognised globally for establishing, through ECOWAS, important structures – such as the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework of 2008; Mediation & Security Council, among others – that have helped contain the sub-region from any fear of implosion.

In the 25th year of ECOWAS’ first-ever peace & security intervention (through ECOMOG) into Liberia to save that country from destruction, it is timely that, as we peek into 2015, we are confronted by two important celebrations – 40 years of ECOWAS; and 15 years of the signing of UNSCR1325.

The Security Council adopted resolution (S/RES/1325) on women and peace and security on 31 October 2000. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. The resolution provides a number of important operational mandates, with implications for Member States and the entities of the United Nations system.
As we speak, no less than the AU Special Envoy for Peace and Security, Benita Diop, is in Abuja, Nigeria. She is accompanied by the Ambassador of Niger to AU, Diallo Amina Djibo, former President of the African Court of Human and Peoples Right, justice Sophia Kufor, Liberian peace activist, Leymah Gnowee, Harriette William and John Ikubaje.
The envoy, who had in the past addressed various meetings on AU’s effort to secure the girls, said the continental body would continue to engage officials and all concerned on the best measures to protect the girl-child through robust policies on education, employment opportunities and better welfare.

It will be recalled that the key point of reference for the newly-created special envoy post is UN security council resolution 1325, which affirms the special needs of women and girls in conflict situations and the unique role they can play in peacemaking and post-conflict reconstruction.

Comfort Ero, Africa programme director at International Crisis Group, an independent, non-profit organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict, believes the appointment of an envoy demonstrates the AU is serious about establishing effective mechanisms to address the role of women in peace and security.

Such a landmark resolution needs elaboration, discussion, and reflection – not just by policy-makers, civil society and the like, but also…by the media.

It is against this background that we are dedicating this edition to discussing and reflecting over UNSCR1325. Even as we have a fair idea of what it signifies, it is a given that, the media is key in any kind of awareness-raising for which reason the WPSI of the KAIPTC organized a two-day Media Forum from 25-26 November. And for which reason AIF has set the pace by being the first programme on English-speaking private radio to concretely discuss UNSCR1325 in a way that has yet to be discussed.

Guiding Questions to be answered:
·       What is, and the rationale, behind UNSCR 1325?
·        Why is it important to monitor UNSCR 1325?
·        What is the special role women bring to fostering peace and security for which reason UNSCR1325 remains critical in discourse of peace and security?
·        Why has it remained uncelebrated for 14 years?
·        What is comparative advantage West Africans have to bring pressure to bear on awareness-raising of UNSCR1325?
·        Why is the media important on sensitization of UNSCR1325?
·        What does UNSCR1325 tell us about the global development community’s efforts on gender, peace & security (UNWOMEN *july 2010 by UNGA* /AU Special Envoy/15 years in 2015)

Guests in the studio:
Ø  Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency(GNA)
Ø  Ayo Ayoola-Amale, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom(WILPF)
Ø  Mercy Osei-Konadu, women and gender advocate

On the line:
·        Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, General Agricultural Workers Union(GAWU) @13h10 for our “Africa in the News” segment
·        Kofi Akpabli, award-winning Tourism writer @13h25 for our “Africa in the News” segment
·         representative from WACSI/WACSOF @13h40 for our “Africa in the News” segment

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