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Harmonizing the Burundi NAP on UNSCR 1325 & 1820 with Communal Development Planning Processes

By Helena Gronberg

On January 14, 2013, we set out for Cankuzo Province to hold a three-day training as part of our Localizing UNSCR 1325 and 1820 program. Bordering Tanzania, Cankuzo is one of the most remotely situated provinces of Burundi’s 17 provinces. With a population of less than 250,000 (latest estimate from 2008 census) of Burundi’s 10.5 million population (2012), Cankuzo is also one of the most scarcely populated areas, partly due to the fact that a big part of the province is allocated to a nature reserve, the Ruvubu National Park. However, apart from its dark, sweet tasting honey that you can buy by the pound, Cankuzo takes pride in having one of the highest percentages of women’s participation in the communal councils. All five communes in the province, namely Cankuzo, Gendajuru, Gisagara, Kigamba, and Mishiha, have reached the 30 percent quota. Out of the total 83 communal chiefs, however, only four are women. The Localization workshop we were to hold was the second phase of GNWP’s Localization Program in Burundi. During the opening of the workshop the Governor of Cankuzo proudly stated that he has made a point of including more women in decision making during his tenure.

GNWP’s Localization Program is a bottom-up approach to policy-making that aligns local, national and international policies, and community driven strategies, to ensure local ownership, good governance, participation and linkages between local communities, civil society organizations and government in the work around UNSCR 1325, 1820 and the supporting resolutions on women and peace and security. In his speech at the opening of the Cankuzo workshop, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning noted that, “participation of many stakeholders is crucial in the decentralization process, and that local people expect the local politicians to address their needs.”

GNWP’s Localization on UNSCR 1325 program was first piloted in Burundi in 2010 when GNWP and its members, including Women Allies Peacebuilders Network, Fountain ISOKO for Good Governance and Integrated Development, and Burundi Leadership Training Program, held the first series of Localization workshops in the Gitega and Ngozi provinces as well as the capital, Bujumbura. The participants included governors, mayors, community leaders, traditional and religious leaders, the security sector, and women leaders. The workshops served as basic awareness-raising on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 and the Burundi National Action Plan (NAP), which at the time was a draft waiting for adoption, as well as an opportunity to come up with specific strategies for implementation of the NAP when adopted.
One of the main recommendations of the 2010 workshops in Gitega and Ngozi was to come up with a set of guidelines for integration of the Burundi NAP and UNSCR 1325 and 1820 into communal development plans.  A document entitled Guide Pratique pour l’Intégration des Résolutions 1325 et 1820 du Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies dans les Plan Communaux de Développement Communautaires au Burundi was subsequently drafted by the two consultants who had served as resource persons in the 2010 workshops. With the objective to solicit concrete input from the participants on the content and usefulness of the document, the document was to be field tested in a provincial level workshop in Cankuzo and in a communal workshop in Cibitoke situated on the border to the DRC, the following week.

The workshop included a session on the notion of gender, discussions of the two resolutions and the Burundi National Action Plan on 1325 and 1820, presentations on the role of communal councils in implementation of issues of women and peace and security, and sessions on the actual guidelines.

Participants agreed that having a document that would guide local communities in the implementation of the NAP and the resolutions would be beneficial, but recommended that a shortened and more user-friendly version be made available. The necessity of translating all policy related materials into Kirundi was also highlighted repeatedly.

In addition to coming up with recommendations on how to improve the guidelines, participants made other recommendations in order to operationalize the Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 Guidelines. Some recommendations included putting in place committees at the colline level, including female leaders, to monitor actions taken to integrate the WPS resolutions into communal planning; forming Community and Family Development Centers with the mandate to conduct awareness raising on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 and the Burundi NAP; advocating for the Ministries of Finance and Planning; Interior; and National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender to prepare a joint statement inviting municipalities to incorporate in UNSCR 1325 and1820 into the communal development planning process; and including the Guideline on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 integration into the “Handbook for Municipal Planning.

The guidelines that have been endorsed by the Government (Ministry of Finance and Planning) will serve as a reference for local authorities in integrating the NAP 1325 and 1820 into community development plans. GNWP and its partners hope to be able to further field test the Guidelines in an additional three regional workshops in 2013, in order to guarantee full local ownership of the document.

GNWP and its members and partners in Burundi thank the Government of Canada for supporting the Localization Program in Burundi.

Towards Ratification of CEDAW for South Sudan

February 2, 2013; Juba Regency Hotel – Juba, South Sudan

By Selamawit Tesfaye

The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) in collaboration with EVE Organization for Women Development organized a consultation session among civil society organizations at the Juba Regency Hotel on February 2, 2013. The consultation had the objective of raising awareness on CEDAW as well as to identify advocacy strategies around the ratification of the Convention. The training started with a presentation on the introduction and background of CEDAW. Participants were able to gain an understanding of the basic elements of the CEDAW – rights and freedoms enshrined, the role of the Committee, the use of General Recommendations, the Optional Protocol among others. The presentation also included best practices in the use of CEDAW in stopping violence against women, promoting girls’ education, improving health care for women, improving women’s lives at work, and protecting women’s legal rights.

It was startling to note that only 4 women out of the 15 CSO participants have heard of the CEDAW in their line of work and noted that they are engaged in most of the activities related to the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Convention but are not aware of the instrument itself. They cited that previously the Operation Lifeline, the UN-SPLM aid cooperation for South Sudan, had provided some rules of procedure such as the Geneva Convention and some other human rights instruments making a link to the respect of human rights especially rights of civilians. They also noted that since South Sudan at the moment is drafting its Constitution, now is the time to break the silence and start awareness creation and popularization of the instrument.

Furthermore, during the referendum, one of the government’s promises was to protect and promote women’s rights and also ratify the CEDAW, which in turn galvanized a lot of women’s votes in favor of separation. It was noted that the South Sudanese government wanted to distinguish itself from the North, which is not friendly towards the ratification of CEDAW and thus should be held accountable to its promises.

Another important development that came out of this is the need for enhanced exchange of information that is lacking at the moment in South Sudan. There is also a huge capacity gap that needs to be addressed within the government and other relevant stakeholders, as there are some CSOs who have already initiated advocacy strategies on the CEDAW. Thus, instead of reinventing the wheel, the need for tapping into these kinds of initiatives was acknowledged.

All of the participants agreed on the importance of having the CEDAW ratified to alleviate the promotion and protection of women’s rights in South Sudan.  Even though there are a lot of competing interests at the moment, participants identified two entry points in kicking off their activities towards the ratification of CEDAW. The first is integrating CEDAW education in all their current work while the second is identifying relevant stakeholders that needs to be targeted for advocacy strategies on the CEDAW – the Ministry of Gender Child and Social Welfare; Constitutional Review Commission, Parliament, Women’s Parliamentary Caucus; Ministry of Justice; and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For now all the parties have identified the steps and are willing to work together on pushing for the ratification of CEDAW for South Sudan. Let’s hope that a the relevant Ministries and other stakeholders are committed to ratify the CEDAW and enhance the promotion and protection of women’s rights in South Sudan.

South Sudan CSOs demand greater representation in 1325 national action planning

By Mavic Cabrera Balleza

“The voices of rural women need to be heard in this 1325 National Action Planning   process. We need to make sure that their voices are heard because they are the ones who suffer in the conflict. They will also be the implementors of the NAP.’”  Veronica  Anni Michael from Self Help Women Development , a women’s organization based in the West Equatorial state commented emphatically during the first national conference on South Sudan’s NAP on the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security held in Juba, South Sudan from January 29-31, 2013.

The Joint Donor Team for South Sudan in collaboration with Eve Organization for Women Development, the Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare, and UN Women organized the NAP UNSCR 1325 conference. The conference participants representing national and state level CSOs, government ministries and UN agencies identified the pillars of the NAP namely, participation, protection, prevention and relief and recovery as well as the priority issues under each pillar. Sexual and gender-based violence, access to justice, access to education and women’s political participation particularly in constitution building were some of the issues identified. The importance of the participation of rural women and traditional leaders was also highlighted throughout the conference.

Another key point in the discussion is the need to guarantee financing for the NAP implementation and the need to link NAP financing to the “New Deal,” the new aid architecture for post-conflict countries or fragile states. The session on Integrating UNSCR 1325 and NAP into the New Deal Implementation was presented by Dewi Suralaga of Cordaid. At the moment, South Sudan’s NAP process does not have a budgetary allocation. To address this situation, the National Steering Committee for the NAP will explore the formation of an International Consortium composed of donors, international CSOs and UN agencies  that will generate quick financial, technical and other forms of support. For the longer term, other financing modalities such as the Multistakeholders Financing Mechanism will be considered.

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Betty Achan Ogwaro and Deputy Minister of Gender and Social Welfare Priscilla Nyanyang Joseph, were two of the high-level officials who attended the national conference. Minister Ogwaro highlighted the role of women’s organizations like Eve and GNWP in tirelessly lobbying for the implementation of UNSCR 1325.

Following the NAP 1325 national conference, South Sudanese CSOs participated in a  NAP strategy session facilitated by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP). The CSO strategy session allowed the South Sudanese CSOs to discuss and reflect on their participation in the NAP process.  They came up with additional issues they want reflected in South Sudan’s NAP 1325 and 1820 such as protection for peace activists and women human rights defenders; and the need to integrate implementation of women’s rights treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and other human rights norms into the NAP 1325. A key output at the CSO strategy session on the NAP 1325 was the CSO Statement that will be presented to the National Steering Committee on the NAP 1325. The statement outlines CSO contributions to the NAP process  and calls for an increase in the number of CSO representatives to the National Steering Committee. Currently, there is only one CSO representative out of the 24 members of the National Steering Committee.

The Addis Cooperation Agreement and the NAP 1325 and 1820

The CSO Strategy Session also included a discussion on the Addis Cooperation Agreement between South Sudan and the Sudan. There is a strong link between the NAP and the Addis Cooperation Agreement because women’s participation in peace negotiations such as the Addis negotiations is a key pillar of the NAP 1325.  There are no women members in the peace negotiation panels in Addis. Moreover, there is an overarching concern that majority of South Sudanese are not aware or do not understand the agreements. The staff of the Institute for Inclusive Security and a member of the Women Leaders’ Network served as resource persons in the discussion on the Addis Cooperation Agreement.

Ratification of CEDAW in South Sudan

The South Sudan CSO Working Group on 1325 also held a consultative discussion to develop an advocacy strategy for the ratification of CEDAW in South Sudan. They agreed on the following next steps: integrate CEDAW in their respective organizations’ capacity building initiatives; build partnership with the South Sudan Women Lawyers’ Association, Constitutional Review Commission, Women’s Parliamentary Caucus,  Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Gender, National Human Rights Commission among others. Please see  blog on CEDAW in South Sudan.

Arabic version of South Sudan civil society monitoring of 1325 launched 

The South Sudan civil society 1325 monitoring committee led by Eve Organization for Women Development in partnership with GNWP launched the Arabic version of South Sudan civil society monitoring of 1325 during the first national conference on South Sudan’s NAP 1325. The Arabic version was welcomed by all the conference participants as an important tool in raising awareness of the resolution. “This is a very useful document.  Arabic is the language that rural women in South Sudan speak, “ said Zeinab Yussin Hagelsafi, an officer from the South Sudan Land Commission.

The CSO Strategy Session, the translation and printing of the Arabic version of South Sudan civil society monitoring of 1325 and the consultative discussion on CEDAW were facilitated by the Gobal Network of Women Peacebuiders with support from Cordaid, ICCO, the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.

GNWP conducts community focused capacity building trainings and media awareness-raising campaign in Liberia

October 2012

By Helena Gronberg

As we approach Gbarnga City in Bong County, the GNWP members I am traveling with tell me that we are entering the part of the country that used to be Charles Taylor’s stronghold. Although Liberia has been peaceful for over 10 years, and Charles Taylor is far away having been convicted of war crimes in The Hague, knowing this detail feels a bit eerie. Indeed, Charles Taylor’s name is to come up many more times during the three-day community focused capacity building workshop we are about to hold.

We have come to Gbarnga to conduct the second of two community focused capacity building workshops on United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and 1820. In 2009 Liberia adopted a National Action Plan (NAP) on UNSCR 1325. As the second in Africa, the LNAP was celebrated as a great achievement and launched with much fanfare during the International Colloquium on Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security in March 2009. The NAP implementation however, has all but stalled since then. At local level the resolutions and the LNAP, which are supposed to promote women’s participation, protect women and girls’ rights and prevent and protect women from sexual violence, remain unknown and sexual violence rates have increased over the past years rather than decreased. Much more awareness raising is needed especially in the rural communities.

Against this backdrop, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and its members in Liberia, the Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC), the Women’s NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL), Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) and Voice of the Voiceless (VOV) are carrying out a media (TV and radio) awareness campaign to help increase knowledge on the principles of LNAP and UNSCR 1325 and 1820 at national and local level. A primary goal of the campaign is to promote women’s participation in decision-making; protection of women and girls’ rights; prevention of conflict; prevention of and protection from sexual violence; and to ensure state accountability in regards to the implementation of the Resolutions.  After completing the radio- and television spots we are now field testing the programs in two community focused capacity building workshops in Grand Bassa and Bong counties. We hope to solicit feedback on the programs from various actors at local level in order to improve the messages of the campaign. Additionally the workshops serve as awareness raising fora. Sessions on conflict analysis; the background and content of UNSCR 1325; and the Liberia National Action Plan are conducted as participatory sessions using song and dance. Participants also discuss strategies on how the content of the LNAP and UNSCR 1325/1820 can be shared with others in the communities.

The issue of sexual and gender-based violence comes up repeatedly in the workshop. While I have been aware of the seriousness of the issue here in Liberia and that sexual violence rates have increased since the cessation of the conflict I am stunned at some of what I hear. It is agreed that perpetrators are not punished severely enough and that sexual- and gender based violence, especially rape and domestic violence, has become startlingly widespread. Additionally, one can see an alarming and shifting pattern among rape victims in Liberia. While rape was endemic during Liberia’s long civil war, ten years since the end of the conflict children now make up the majority of the victims. According to Doctors Without Borders, nine out of every 10 rape victims treated in Liberia in 2011 were under 18 years old. Many cases still go unreported due to fear of stigmatization and retribution. A lot of families will take money from the accused rather than press charges.

What really strike me though are the comments that are made in regards to Taylor’s conviction at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. I am told that there is a common sentiment that “by raping you will become famous and get to travel the world.” I ask our GNWP members if people seriously think this way and the answer is yes. “Look at Taylor, he is on the news and even fathered a child while in prison.” This kind of thinking is chilling and detrimental to any society, particularly one struggling with coming to terms with its violent past.

During the three days we get substantial feedback on the TV and radio programs. We are especially encouraged to produce the radio spots in as many local languages as possible as more than thirty languages are spoken in Liberia. “One thing lot of people have in common is the radio”, says John Bookman Marpu, a Peace Studies Major at Cuttington University and a local journalist. “People listen to the radio. The power of the radio cannot be underestimated. It reaches thousands of people at one time. These short messages about empowering women and respecting their rights, I think they are effective.”

GNWP and its members thank the Folke Bernadotte Academy of Sweden for supporting the media awareness raising campaign and the community focused capacity building workshops in Liberia.

Towards the Localization of Resolution 1325 in Colombia

By Eléonore Veillet Chowdhury

 

The plane is small, with exactly two propellers and two wings. It is flying us back to Bogotá from the city of Quibdó, where GNWP held its third Localization of the Resolution 1325 workshop in Colombia. The first workshop took place on September 17 and 18 in Cali, the biggest city in the Valle of Cauca district.

What is striking about Cali is not its size, but its obvious concern with security. Barbwire, metal bars and heavy fences guard stores, houses, hotels, and apartment buildings alike. In Popayán, where our second workshop was held, there are fewer metal bars. However, the army—young boys in uniforms carrying machine guns—takes over the streets of the city in the evening and through the night; Popayán is the capital of the Cauca department, one of the regions in Colombia most affected by armed conflict. Quibdó, the location for the third workshop, is the capital city of the poorest department in Colombia. It beats Cali in terms of protective fences, and yet somehow, it manages to be an incredibly welcoming city. Whether in Cali, Popayán, Quibdó or Bogotá, it is impossible to miss that security is of major concern in Colombia. And yet Colombia does not have a National Action Plan for the implementation of the principal Women, Peace and Security resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council: Resolution 1325 and the supporting Resolutions 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960.

In Cali, Popayán, and Quibdó, the objective of the GNWP workshop was the same: to share with local authorities the provisions of the Resolutions 1325 and 1820 so that they could evaluate if and how these international laws on Women, Peace and Security could be integrated into local policies and local development plans. A bottom-up approach to the implementation of Resolution 1325, these workshops in Colombia were part of a GNWP project that enables local actors to examine the applicability and use of Resolution 1325 to address the specific peace and security concerns in their communities with a particular focus on women’s participation in decision-making and all peace processes; and sexual violence prevention. Through a series of presentations and small group work, the various local government representatives identified the provisions of Resolution 1325 that would reinforce or fill gaps in their own development plans.

In Cali, representatives from the Palmira, Cali and Buenaventura municipalities found that their municipalities already had a number of policies that dealt with the three pillars of Resolution 1325: women’s participation in decision-making positions and peacebuilding processes, the prevention of violence and human rights abuses against women and girls, and the protection of women and women victims of all kinds of violence. However, in spite of the existing local and national policies, local governance emphasized that domestic violence and violence among armed groups continue to affect women disproportionally. Elizabeth Ortega Carvajal, from the Palmira municipality, stressed the importance of empowering women and girls to be active participants in security forces, though she specified: “We want our women in uniforms, but not with guns.” Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, our own International Coordinator, added that our purpose as civil society working on Women, Peace and Security is never to make war safe for women, but to do away with war and armed conflict altogether. At the end of the workshop, participants listed their personal and municipal commitments. The three municipalities represented—Palmiras, Buenaventura, and Cali—decided to develop an Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325 and the supporting resolutions (1829, 1888, 1889, 1960) at the departmental level. Local Authorities from Palmira play a coordinating role. They committed to convoke the “Grupo de 8” or 8 mayors of the Valle del Cauca department to assist a capacity-building workshop on Resolution 1325 and the supporting resolutions. Local authorities from Valle del Cauca are on their way to developing a departmental Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325 and the supporting resolutions with the participation of their mayors, local civil society groups and their communities.

Following the workshop in Cali, we headed to the city of Popayán, where we were welcomed by Stella Millán de Ortega, wife of Governor Temístocles Ortega Narváez. The recently elected governor opened the workshop by confirming that the new administrative structure of the department will include a Women’s Office that will be responsible for implementing gender policies. A dozen municipalities were represented. While only one government official has ever heard of Resolution 1325 prior to the workshop, all found that their development plans included the central provisions of the resolution. However, when describing their respective municipalities, almost all the participants lamented that there is a huge gap between the policies in place and the actual situation for women living in their communities. Officials from the Argelia Mejor and Miranda municipalities spoke of the endurance of a culture of silence when it comes to sexual violence. Women seldom denounce out of fear and shame, and if and when they do, they are blamed for the abuse they experienced. Gloria Ines Ducuara, a representative from the civil society organization Red Municipal de Mujeres de Caldono, added that women often did not report domestic violence because of financial dependence on their partners. “If women are financially independent,” Gloria explained, “they will not put up with domestic violence and abuse.” Like in Cali, there was a clear consensus among the local authorities present that it is key to have the support of the mayors in this work of diffusion of international resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, so as to be able to encourage and track their implementations at the local level. The mayors, they explained, control the resources and have the most power in the municipalities. Florencia is an example of a municipality where the mayor already supports initiatives dealing with gender equality. In municipalities where there is no such support, the local authorities committed to engaging their mayors, fellow officials and communities in

discussion of the Resolutions 1325 and 1820, as well as on Women, Peace and Security issues in general. The workshop concluded with the agreement that each municipality will conduct awareness raising workshops on the Resolution 1325 in November, the month of the Civic Day of Colombian Women and the International day of Non-violence Against Women.

In Quibdó, local officials from ten municipalities in the Chocó department participated in the Localization workshop. The workshop took place right in the middle of the three-week long San Pacho—a yearly holiday celebrating San Pacho or St. Francis of Assisi, Quibdó’s patron saint. The festive atmosphere did not in any way attenuate the local officials’ concerns regarding the harsh realities faced by their communities, particularly by women in their municipalities. Like in Cali and Popayán, the limited resources and the importance of the participation of the mayors in the discussion were discussed at length. Wilman Sanchez, from the Rio Iro, emphasized that even if resources are scarce and the mayors may be initially uncooperative, it is not an excuse to “remain with our arms crossed.” Luis Alfredo Garces Robledo, from Carmen del Darien, added that it is indeed the local officials mandate to make sure that the rights of each and every individual are respected, and there is greater women’s participation in governance and in high-level positions in generals. Like in Cali and Popayán, there was barely any awareness of Resolution 1325 on the part of local officials participating. The lack of Internet access to look directly at the Development Plans made the simultaneous close-reading of the development plans and Resolution 1325 difficult. Nonetheless, all officials committed to read closely their own Development Plans as a follow-up to the workshop. While all together in Quibdó, they decided to plan a forum that would regroup mayors, other municipal officials and civil society to discuss Resolution 1325 and the supporting resolutions. Gloria Luna Rivillas, from the Red de Mujeres Chocoanas (Chocó Women’s Network), stressed the importance of including officials from the diverse communities in the Chocó department. In the predominantly Afro-Colombian region, it is crucial for the indigenous communities to take part in the work around the Resolution 1325. More than in any other regions, the synergy between women representatives from civil society and the local authorities of Chocó was palpable throughout the workshop. Together, women from the Chocó Women’s Network and local authorities epxressed that with work at the local level—a bottom-up approach to the integration and implementation of Resolution 1325—they hope to better the situation for women in their communities. The first step will be the multiplication of workshops on 1325 and the extensive diffusion of information on Resolution 1325 in their offices and their communities. Chocó Women’s Network will ensure that regular communication among the local officials continues and that commitments are fulfilled.

It is evening, and we have left Chocó with commitments of our own: to stay in contact as well, and to put together a packet of materials on Resolution 1325 and the supporting resolutions in Spanish with our members and partners here in Colombia, Red Nacional de Mujeres (National Women’s Network) and Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica-CIASE(Corporation for Research and Social and Economic Action). We will also support projects of local authorities that aim for the better awareness and more effective implementation of Resolution 1325 at the local level, by endorsing their proposals in writing and by sharing lists of potential donors supportive of projects on Women, Peace and Security. These commitments we have made to participants in the other workshops as well, in Popayán and in Cali. As the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, we promise to fulfill these commitments to the best of our ability.

We thank the Folke Bernadotte Academy and Cordaid for supporting this project.

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