As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security, a two-day regional dialogue under the theme, "Enhancing Women's Leadership in Peace and Security in West Africa' ended today in Monrovia.
About 70 women leaders representing women's organizations and networks, UN peacekeeping and peace building missions in West Africa, UN agencies and international organizations participated in this conference organized by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), through the Office of the Gender Adviser (OGA),
Speaking on behalf of the of UNMIL Envoy Ms. Karin Landgren, the Deputy Special Representative of the General (DSRSG) for Rule of Law Mr. Louis Aucoin said the regional dialogue was an acknowledgement by the UN of its commitment to do better in partnering with women to address regional peace and security priorities.
"It is my hope that this workshop will enable you as women leaders to take an honest look at your strengths and capacities, and to come up with strategies to strengthen your interactions with each other at different levels, national and regional, so that you can serve as serious partners and peace brokers in efforts to sustain regional peace and security."
Ms Elizabeth Lwanga, Acting UN Women Representative in Liberia noted that women's representation in conflict resolution and post conflict peace building remains one of the least implemented priorities on the Gender equality agenda. "Given the importance of post conflict reconstruction, peace building and peace consolidation for this sub-region, we welcome the opportunity this dialogue will provide for concrete decisions for accelerated action to move on this agenda."
At the closing ceremony a communique was issued with a number of jointly identified recommendations for UN missions, ECOWAS, the Mano River Union, Governments and women's organizations.
The recommendations ranged from planning and implementing peace missions that should include women mediators; taking immediate action to highlight the situation of women and girls in Guinea Bissau and Mali; expanding recruitment and strengthening support for women and the security sector; institutionalizing women's access to the ECOWAS mediation and Security Council and Ministerial Council of the Mano River Union; ensuring that all UN transition plans underline local ownership of the process; increasing knowledge sharing, capacity building, mentoring and outreach in order to broaden the number of young women's involvement in peace and security in Africa.