Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

 11.09.2019 (Nairobi, Kenya): The Mediation Support Unit (MSU) under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in collaboration with the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) are conducting a Training of Trainers workshop to enhance capacity of Sudanese women in conflict prevention and mediation as well as their role in peace building within the context of UNSCR 1325 which was adopted by the Security Council at its 4213th meeting in 2000.

UNSCR 1325 reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, mediation and peace-building. It stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution.

In his official opening remarks the Director of Mediation Support Unit (MSU), Dr. Aleu Garang highlighted IGAD’s commitment and dedication of partners like ACCORD, the European Union (EU) and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) on women engagement in peace processes, enhance their capacities to identify, understand the root causes of conflicts and opportunities to prevent and manage conflicts both at the community and national level.

 “We want women to use their positions, influence, role as mediators and negotiators at different levels and as participants in different forums to play a part in peace building and decision making to resolve conflicts using their multiplier effect to train others and reach many others at community, national and regional levels” Dr. Garang went on to say.

Trainings such as this coupled with advocacy, policy influence of women and importance of skills transfer have necessitated IGAD to develop tailored capacity building interventions and use an informed approach in creating spaces for women to engage in peace processes.

As a result, it is envisioned there will be implementation and adoption of National Action Plans (NAPs) to address the challenges of weak national frameworks, lack of financial support for Local NGOs and CSOs and issues around patriarchy, culture and male bias on inclusion in the IGAD region.

The training is being conducted through the support of the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) managed jointly by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and IGAD under the IPPSHAR Programme.

 BACKGROUND

  • MSU in its efforts to enhance the role and participation of women in conflict prevention and mediation processes conducted assessments in Somalia, South Sudan and the Sudan.
  • A combination of desk and field research in 2018 was employed comprising of researchers from MSU and ACCORD used focus group discussions and interviews of specific individuals, as well as email discussions to gather information on progress. The Sudanese women capacities were assessed in light of peace building, mediation trainings that took place in the country with aim to strengthening their capacities on conflict transformation, peace building and their engagement in both peace processes and implementation of peace agreements.
  • The report gave an overview of conflicts in the Sudan that includes the war between the North and the South that erupted one year before the country attained its independence on 19 December 1955 with a parliamentary vote which then took effect on 1 January 1956, despite its first armed conflict that erupted in August 1955 and the impact on women.
  • The report acknowledge many capacity building opportunities on mediation and peace-building by different partners, also identified repetitive trainings and lack of coordination between actors as a major gap. The research established lack of accessibility to remote areas by the various actors and the missing link between the high-level, government and the grassroots women as a challenge in enhancing women capacities to work in conflict prevention and participate in mediation and peace processes.
  • Additionally, the assessment documented analysis of capacities and impacts of Women’s participation in conflict mediation, negotiations and peace agreements implementation. It was noticed, the weak participation of women in the political processes, governance structures in the Sudan and mediation in the processes examined.

 

3.09.2019 (Mombasa, Kenya): The IGAD Security Sector Program (ISSP) this morning kick started a regional meeting with key institutions within the IGAD Member States with the objective to build their capacity in the prevention of and disengagement from radicalization, violence-led to terrorism and related threats by taking stock of the existing most effective development interventions.

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28.08.2019 (Entebbe, Uganda): The IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) have today concluded a 3-day training conducted to contribute and enhance institutional capacities of IGAD member states in incorporating gender perspectives and women empowerment in security sector development with targeted post-conflict countries, leveraging on the strengths and opportunities in order to improve good governance and civilian oversight.

In attendance were key and relevant institutions from IGAD member states bringing together policy/decision makers and practitioners among them being from Judiciary, the criminal justice sector, Ministries of Internal Affairs, Defense and Gender/Women’s Affairs, Police, Judiciary, and Attorney General Office.

The training was officially opened by the IGAD SSP Director Commander Abebe Muluneh who highlighted that, the IGAD region security landscape faces a number of emerging, evolving and existing common transnational security threats ranging from terrorism, transnational organized crimes to maritime insecurity in addition to the armed conflicts.

 “These critical emerging security threats and challenges require security sector development and furthermore, require women empowerment and gender equality to be effectively tackled” Commander Abebe went on to emphasize.

IGAD SSP promotes and strengthens regional and national capacities for Member States to better predict, prevent and counter Transnational Security Threats (TSTs) in order to contribute to regional peace and stability, and foster enabling environment for regional integration and development of the sub-region which is in line with the Security Sector Reform (SSR) advocating for the transformation of the security sector/system and to include all the actors, their roles, responsibilities and actions. In addition, IGAD SSP strives to support Member States’ security institutions in their provision of security effectively and efficiently; with more emphasis on the key concepts of human security, gender equality and respect of Rule of Law.

The training was conducted through the support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR Programme and was conducted by experts from the region and Geneva Centre for Security Governance (DCAF) who shared their wide experiences on SSR and women empowerment.

Background

  • IGAD stresses the importance of women empowerment, equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, addressing essential protection needs and incorporating a gender perspective in relief and recovery programs in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security as a fundamental milestone reaffirming the important role women play in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peacemaking, and humanitarian responses, also in line with AU Security Sector Reform (SSR) Policy Framework among others.
  • IGAD adopted a Regional Action Plan for implementation of Women, Peace and Security Resolutions in 2013 as a measure to promote implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the region and to be in line with the IGAD Gender Policy Framework and IGAD Peace and Security Strategy 2016-2020 as well as the IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) which document normative frameworks on women empowerment at international, continental, regional and national levels in mainstreaming a gender perspective in all programs, projects and initiatives.

 

22.08.2019 (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia): Policy organ under the Committee of Ambassadors of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have today reviewed and endorsed Draft Guiding Principles and Rules of Procedure in order to establish the IGAD Governance Forum (IGF) that serves as a guiding policy framework and coordination mechanism for the promotion of good governance and democratic elections in the region.

 The draft Guiding Principles and Rules of Procedure were first reviewed by Experts from IGAD Member States in June 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and then by Committee of Ambassadors in May 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya.

 The Guiding Principles and Rules of Procedures are non-binding in nature that constitute minimum standards of normative and institutional arrangements of IGF with the aim to enhance coordinative and cooperative roles with Member States in governance.

 The Peace and Security Director, Hon. Siraj Fegessa in his opening remarks thanked the ambassadors for the commitment towards the goal of promoting good governance and democracy in the IGAD member states.

 Representing the IGAD Chair, Amb Abdulaziz Mohammed in his remarks highlighted that the document will guide the member states in accordance to other continental and international instruments towards a well governed, democratic and human rights protective regimes in the IGAD region.

 Dr Mehari Taddele Maru, a regional lead consultant on governance presented the revised Guiding Principles and Rules of Procedure after which were reviewed in detail and finally endorsed.

 Background

  • IGAD State of the Region Report, IGAD Global Strategy 2020, IGAD Peace and Security Strategy (2016 – 2020) acknowledge that deficit in good governance is one of the causes of conflict and instability in the region and hence IGAD decided to establish an IGAD Governance Architecture (IGA) in which the IGF will serve as its deliberative body

 

  • The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), and it further acknowledges “the contributions of the AU and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to the promotion, nurturing, strengthening and consolidation of democracy and governance”

 

  • The extended mandate of IGAD allows the Regional bloc to cover not only peace and security issues but also to cover democracy, governance, election, human rights and the rule of law in the region through the Political Affairs Program which was established in 2008 under the auspices of the Peace and Security Division.

 

 

August 20, 2019, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Youth representatives from ministries of Youth, youth groups and Civil Society Organisations within the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region are attending a regional workshop conducted by the IGAD Mediation Support Unit (MSU) and ACCORD to deliberate on how there can be genuine inclusion and representation of youth in peace processes and dispute resolution as a way to encourage youth participation in conflict prevention, peace-making, and nation-building.

The 3-day seminar is being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital aims at raising awareness to sensitize the Member States on how to set up mechanisms and frameworks that enable young people to participate meaningfully in peace processes. This inclusion targets inclusion in dispute resolution, and explore ways through which the UNSC Resolution 2250 (2015) and 2419 (2018) on the facilitation of youth equal and full participation at decision‑making levels can be adapted and localized.

Within IGAD, the youth have been identified as central in mitigating the security challenges in IGAD having in the recent past engaged young women and provided them with platforms to share their experiences and challenges in mediation. In addition, MSU has provided internships and fellowship opportunities to young women in the field of conflict prevention and mediation to enhance youth skills. 

In his opening remarks, the Director of MSU, Dr. Aleu Garang emphasized the purpose of convening this seminar is to create a platform for youth to engage, a network for further engagement in peace processes. He reiterated the commitment of the Committee of Ambassadors (CoA) to recognize the youth role in peace processes, advance the election of the “Youth Special Envoy” to advance representation of youth issues, voices, and inclusion in peace processes at the national and regional level.

“IGAD MSU has over the years recognized and engaged the youth due to the important role they play, considering that they are the majority of the population in Africa, hence their voice is important, as well as give them possibilities and opportunities especially in peace processes for them to meaningfully participate in nation-building “ he said.

Other remarks by ACCORD and the Youth for Peace Africa under the African Union reiterated that the youth require to be engaged in nation-building using their numbers to underscore the importance of involving youth and their concerns and perspectives in peace processes as future leaders. 

“Youth voices need to be heard, where they should be heard, hence they need to speak and be heard at all levels” Mr. Rhuks Ako, a co-convener of the AU Youth for Peace (YNP) Africa Program stated.

Other objectives to this European Union-funded seminar is to also strengthen capacities of IGAD member states in understanding the role of youth in peace processes, and particularly in mediation, negotiations for comprehensive agreements and implementation of these agreements. The aim as well as to create synergies amongst national institutions, youth groups, CSO's and youth in social and political processes and to share experiences, good practices and lessons learned in youth inclusion in decision-making.

In attendance are IGAD focal persons, ministry of youth representatives, youth leaders at learning institutions, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) engaged in Youth, Peace & Security matters (YPS), United Nations, African Union, ACCORD as well as experts from IGAD region and Africa at large.

Background

  • In 2018, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2419 calling for an increasing role of youth in negotiating and implementing peace agreements recommending the peacebuilding commissions to include and establish ways through, which to engage young people in national efforts to build and sustain peace. 
  • At the continental level, the Agenda 2063 of the African Union aims at prioritizing inclusive social and economic development, continental and regional integration, democratic governance and peace and security in order to reposition Africa to becoming a dominant player in the global arena. 
  • About 65% of the total population of Africa is below the age of 35 years, and over 35% are between the ages of 15 to 35 years; making Africa the most youthful continent. By 2020, it is projected that out of 4 people, 3 will be on average 20 years old in Africa. These statistics clearly show the importance of youth inclusion in peace processes. According to the IGAD State of the Region Report (2016), the demographic age structure in the IGAD region shows that 55% of the population are youth. 
  • Despite the involvement of youth in violent spaces such as extremism and rebel groups, as well as victims of violence, they have actively been involved in creating awareness and activities championing peace, fight against discrimination and violence, hate speech mitigation, as well as conflict prevention and resolution. 

                                                                                                        

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