Month: December 2023

Month: December 2023

The Democratic Republic of Congo, a pilot for the Localization of the Youth, Peace and Security strategy: the contribution of the Young Women Leaders in North and South Kivu

14 October 2023 by Simone Mbodé Diouf , Émilie Katondolo  and Esther Atosha 

Edited by Katrina Leclerc 

For over a decade, the Global Network for Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) has successfully implemented its Localization of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) resolutions strategy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)[1]In North and South Kivu, considerable progress has been made thanks to the collaboration with local partners, including the Synergie des femmes pour les victimes de violences sexuelles (SFVS) and the Synergie des associations féminines du Congo (SAFECO). Building on the achievements of the strategy — which has been cited multiple times as a best practice in the local application of WPS by UN Secretary-General — GNWP and its local partners launched the innovative pilot process for the Localization of Youth, Peace and Security (YPS). The DRC is the second country in Africa to develop a National Action Plan (NAP) on YPS to support and recognize the role of young people in preventing violent extremism and contributing to reconciliation and peacebuilding in their communities.

With financial support from the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOP) of Global Affairs Canada, the GNWP consortium, including ISOKO Partners for Peace and Gender Equality and Youth for Peace DRC, is supporting the chapters of GNWP’s Young Women+ Leaders for Peace (YWL)[2] and the Congolese provincial YPS coalitions to adapt the Localization strategy for the local implementation of the YPS NAP in the provinces of North and South Kivu. The Localization of YPS process aims to popularize the NAP, the UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) and define strategies for developing youth, gender and conflict-sensitive policies at the local level.

Active participation in data collection during the survey phase

Members of the YWL network, in collaboration with provincial YPS coalitions, adopted the approach, which consisted of enabling young people’s leadership in the process, from data collection to the drafting of strategic documents. This approach has made the first pillar of UNSCR 2250 — participation — a reality. In addition, the leadership of young people, particularly young women, also enabled a better analysis and understanding of the unique challenges facing young women and men in the provinces of North and South Kivu.

In North Kivu, the survey results demonstrated that the challenges faced by young women include their exclusion from decision-making bodies, the multiplicity of taxes that hampers their income-generating activities and the lack of initiatives to strengthen young people’s resilience. It also illustrated the failure of protection mechanisms and relief and recovery efforts to take into account the gender-specific needs of young women during complex humanitarian contexts.

Significant input and consideration of young people’s needs in the NAP Localization and strategic advocacy documents

The validation the survey results and development of the advocacy documents for the Localization of the YPS NAP, developed by YWL members and the provincial coalitions, also illustrated the enthusiasm of young women to take a decisive place in the process. Their perspective was reflected in the strategic advocacy documents that outline the priority issues that must be addressed in local development plans and the policies of decentralized entities in the two provinces (to read the advocacy documents in French, please find them here).

Concerning the participation pillar of UNSCR 2250, it was recommended to set up a legislative preparation training center with scholarships for young women political aspirants, as well as to organize awareness campaigns on their political engagement and involvement in community peace and conflict management mechanisms. These examples constitute major achievements of young women leaders who have undoubtedly demonstrated leadership that exemplifies a paradigm shift: young women are no longer forgotten in the Youth, Peace and Security resolutions; they are actors in their own right.

Centering and amplifying the vision and aspirations of young women will ensure that advocacy for the integration of the specific needs of young people will be a success in the provinces of North and South Kivu. This is possible due to their involvement in the effective implementation of the recommendations through Localization of the YPS NAP, enabling the process to be inclusive, gender-sensitive and sustainable.

[1] GNWP’s Localization of WPS resolutions strategy is based on the ownership and contextualization of WPS policies at grassroots level with local actors. For more information, please visit: https://gnwp.org/what-we-do/global-policy-local-action/implementation-through-localization/

[2] YWL is a program initiated by GNWP in over 12 countries to support and ensure youth leadership in the synergistic implementation of the WPS and YPS resolutions.

About the authors

Simone Mbodé Diouf

Program Officer for Africa at the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP)

Esther Atosha

Head of the YWL network in South Kivu

Émilie Katondolo

Programs Coordinator at Synergie des femmes pour les victimes de violences sexuelles (SFVS) and the Head of the YWL network in North Kivu

Katrina Leclerc

Program Director at the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP)

Solidarity with the Palestinian and Israeli Civilians Affected by the Cycles of Violence

14 December 2023

The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) strongly condemns the Israeli government’s indiscriminate bombings and forced displacement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip since 7 October 2023. These attacks have thus far killed 18,200 Palestinians — 75 per cent of whom are women and children. GNWP mourns the loss of every civilian life, including the 1,200 Israelis killed during Hamas’ assault in October. We grieve for Palestinian and Israeli citizens who suffer the direct and indirect impacts of brutal military occupation and the cycles of violence it engenders. GNWP stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their decades-long fight for freedom, equality and self-determination.

GNWP urges the international community to implement an immediate ceasefire and a continued administration and delivery of humanitarian and logistical aid to hospitals and Gazans. We express deep concern over the increasing number of diseases brought about by the Israeli government’s deliberate cutting off of water, food and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip, fulfilling Article 2 of the Genocide Convention and Article 5 of the Rome Statute.

We are disturbed by the alarming number of civilian and media casualties, which starkly contradicts UN Human Rights Council Resolution 33/2 on the safety of journalists and Article 9 of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which “Calls upon all parties to armed conflict to respect fully international law applicable to the rights and protection of women and girls, especially as civilians, in particular the obligations applicable to them under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977, the Refugee Convention of 1951 and the Protocol thereto of 1967, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of 1979 and the Optional Protocol thereto of 1999 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 and the two Optional Protocols thereto of 25 May 2000, and to bear in mind the relevant provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

In light of these, we:

  • Implore the Israeli government to implement an immediate ceasefire, the protection of all civilians and human rights activists in Palestine, the right to freedom of expression and the respect of International Human Rights and Humanitarian laws.
  • Call for the timely and uninterrupted delivery of essential humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, including food, water, fuel and medicine. 
  • Urge the banning of white phosphorus bombs by the Israeli Defense Forces and condemn its unlawful use against civilian populations in Gaza and South Lebanon.
  • Call for the unconditional release of all prisoners arbitrarily detained by the Israeli government and held without a trial or charge under administrative detention.
  • Strongly urge the UN Security Council to fulfill its legal and moral responsibilities by maintaining international peace and security in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter while ensuring women’s rights to participate in decision-making.

As a feminist peacebuilding coalition, GNWP recognizes the widespread impact of this aggression on Palestine, the region and the world. This ongoing and intensified violence has a profound emotional impact on Palestinian diaspora communities worldwide, who endure direct and intergenerational trauma. GNWP is committed to supporting Palestinians’ humanitarian and psychosocial needs, and sustain its support to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon through our social cohesion efforts with the Young Women+ Leaders for Peace (YWL) network. We commend the efforts of Palestinian and Israeli women peacebuilders and human rights defenders in dismantling the systemic barriers to peace and security in the region. GNWP is dedicated to sustaining our partnerships with organizations building and strengthening the necessary conditions that guarantee human rights, justice and equality.

We call upon the international community and all relevant parties to prioritize peace, human rights and well-being of all civilians, especially women, children, and youth. Regrettably, the Gaza Strip has become a tragic burial ground for innocent civilians, and the Israeli government’s indiscriminate bombings only serve to perpetuate violence. We must end this suffering, uphold the fundamental principles of the UN Charter and ensure that diverse women’s voices are included in finding enduring solutions.