Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) is seeking to implement the UN Security Council’s resolution number 1325 on women, peace and security as well as studying means of enacting and developing the various African plans in this regard. This is to be conducted in cooperation with Jacqueline O'Neill, Canada's first ambassador for women, peace and security, Jean-Bosco Butera, Special Advisor and Chief of Staff, Office of the Special Envoy on Women, Peace, and Security (WSP) at the African Union and Randa Abul-Hassan, director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Egypt.
Head of NCW Maya Morsi told 7Dnews that achieving peace and security requires recognising the fact that women have a strong voice and a vital role in the manufacturing and maintenance of peace. “Involving women in peace efforts promotes national dialogue, stronger policies and more just peace agreements,” said Morsi.
“African governments must recognise and support women’s role in peace-making and peacekeeping, noting that 80% of those in need of humanitarian assistance and suffering from conflict, are women and children. They are the most affected by these conflicts, which could lead to their needs being ignored,” said Morsi.
Morsi noted that from among the 5,000 global agreements in existence, only 11 are peace agreements, of which only three concern women's empowerment and needs, although there are studies that confirm the effectiveness of women’s role in maintaining peace.
Butera revealed to 7Dnews that there are 25 African countries that have drawn up international action plans to achieve peace and security. They have developed National Action Plans (NAPs) to boost the implementation of a WSP agenda. Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa intend to develop their first ever NAP before October 2020. “Egypt along with African countries must work to achieve security and peace, share the best experiences to support the WSP agenda. We pledge that women inside and outside Egypt will accomplish peace, and security via effective plans,” said Butera.
“Egypt started work on its own women, peace and security NAP in May 2019. As soon as Egypt’s finishes this, we will announce our own NAP. This comes within the framework of Egypt’s empowerment of women in different arenas,” said Morsi.
In Africa, the AU’s 2063 agenda calls for the realising of the full potentials of women, youth, boys and girls away from of fear, disease and want. The agenda has urged state parties to adopt all required measures to ensure women’s participation in the structures and processes for conflict prevention, management and resolution at local, national, regional, continental and international levels and in all aspects of planning, formulation and implementation of post conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Despite this progress, the WSP agenda remains an underused tool used for shaping effective responses to current conflicts in Africa. “The representation of African women and their effective participation in peace processes is still limited. African women are still exposed to serious threats of violence such as sexual and gender-based violence,” added Butera.
O'Neill noted that, globally, statistics show the various ways in which women are under-represented in peace efforts. Between 1990 and 2017, women constituted only 2% of mediators, 5% of witnesses and signatories, and 8% of negotiators. “Several studies have revealed that peace agreements with female signatories are linked with durable peace. Also, when women are included in peace processes, the probability that an agreement would last at least 15 years is raised to 35%,” said O’Neill.
According to O’Neill, the influence and involvement of women leads to the attainment of peace agreements.
For example, there is a 37% lower occurrence of hunger when women are prioritised in food distribution. And this is just one example of how prioritising women’s and girls’ needs can accelerate and maintain effective peace processes and efforts.