Public Agenda (Accra)

Ghana: More Room for Improvement On Gender Equality and Empowerment

The adoption of the United Nation Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security by international community, marked one of the greatest achievements at the dawn of the new millennium.

Through the resolution, the international community recognised the important role women played in the maintenance of peace and security nationally and globally.

The resolution defined a framework of standards, guiding the integration of gender issues in international peace and security.

It also spurred nations to empower women to leadership positions in governance, diplomacy and the security sector. Besides, it was also to decrease and eventually end the practice of women and girls being targets of abuse as a war strategy.

However, almost a decade after the adoption of UNSCR1325, progress on gender equality and the empowerment of women with respect to conflict resolution, mediation, governance, peacekeeping and peace building, the promise remain largely unfulfilled. Thus, an institutional approach to realising the resolution in Africa was put forward in 2009, described as Programme Document, 2009.

The idea was to create "a knowledge centre for expanding technical capacity, training and policy research and analysis on women, peace and security which in turn provides women with the knowledge skills they need to become effective leaders in peace processes."

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a three-day Regional Symposium on Women, Peace and Security in Accra, the Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Air Marshal Christian Dovlo, said the adoption of the UNSCR 1325 and its follow-up resolutions call on government, states and international organisations to promote the participation of women in negotiations, governance, leadership position and also to ensure that, the women and children who have been victims of conflicts have a major voice in issues of peace and security. He assured that the KAIPTC is committed to implementing the Resolution.

He said the commitment the Centre's to the Resolution had been demonstrated in the establishment of a Gender, Peace and Security programme (GPS) tasked with undertaking research into emerging trends with respect to gender mainstreaming in security issues.

The GPS has also developed a training manual and piloted a course on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Fragile, Conflicts and Post-Conflicts Situations.

In addition, the KAIPTC in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment (UN Women), United Nations Population Fund and the government of Netherlands and Norway has established the Women, Peace and Security Institute (WAPSI).

WASPI was established to replace the traditional "project-based" approach to supporting the women, peace and security agenda with an institutional base and knowledge centre from which to influence and inform the policy, research and training agenda on peace and security in Africa.

Additionally, the Centre has established the Gender Institute where students offer Masters of Arts, Diploma and Certificates programme in Gender, Peace and Security.

In her presentation on Promoting and Realising Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Within and Without, the Head of Legal, KAIPTC, Ms. Horname Noagbesenu, observed that, "Women like men, are entitled to live in dignity and in freedom from want and from fear. Therefore, gender equality and the empowerment of women is not just a goal in itself, but a key to sustainable development, economic growth and peace and security."

Ms. Noagbesenu said, KAIPTC in contributing to addressing peace and security on the continent "recognises the different impacts of conflicts on men and women and the need to address these through a gender-sensitive lens."

She added that, the KAIPTC believed the needs of people affected by conflicts in various forms were appropriately dealt with by taking into consideration the gender dynamics which could impact on them.

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