Panel Discussion “Localization: The “How to” in UNSCR 1325 Implementation”

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The Permanent Mission of Uganda to the UN in New York; May 27 2015

Organizers: Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, the Permanent Missions of Uganda, Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland to the United Nations

The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, the Permanent Missions of Uganda, Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland to the United Nations organized the panel discussion Localization: the “How to” in UNSCR 1325 Implementation on May 27 2015 at the Permanent Mission of Uganda to the UN in New York. The panel shared experiences and lessons learnt from bottom-up approaches to UNSCR 1325/NAP implementation in local communities in Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan; and presented these as contributions to the Global Study on Women, Peace and Security.

H.E. Ambassador Richard Nduhuura, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations chaired the panel and H.E. Ambassador Martin Sajdik, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, made opening remarks. Panelists included: Ms. Robinah Rubimbwa, Coalition for Action on 1325 (CoAct 1325), Uganda; Hon. Dr. Betty Ogwaro, Member of Parliament, South Sudan; and Ms. Jenepher Masis, Rural Women Peace Links, Kenya.

Ms. Mavic Cabrera Balleza, International Coordinator of GNWP, opened the discussion by addressing the importance of a bottom up approach and stressed the importance of working with local government authorities and other community leaders since they are the ones who deal with conflict situations directly. She also emphasized the importance of support from the national government agencies as they have the mandate and resources to implement policies across the country. If national government is missing and we are not able to influence country-wide implementation, our successes at the local level will remain scattered pockets of successes. Instead of a bottom up approach, it will only be a bottom-bottom situation that does not advance. Cabrera Balleza also stressed that local ownership and participation are the key elements of the Localization program wherein sustained awareness-and knowledge-raising, and convening of all local actors are necessary components.

Hon. Dr. Betty Ogwaro discussed the advantages of implementing the Localization program in South Sudan. She explained that South Sudan has a draft National Action Plan (NAP) since 2013, which now, has to be presented to the Council of Ministers and then the parliament for approval. However, the current draft remains in the Ministry of Gender. Eve Organization for Women Development with assistance from GNWP has started the Localization process in South Sudan. However, as is the case in many countries, most local officials are not familiar with the NAP or UNSCR 1325 and 1820. This means that awareness- and knowledge-raising are the first steps that must happen.

Ms. Robinah Rubimbwa discussed challenges associated with implementing the NAP in Uganda. She explained that there is no dedicated funding for its implementation and that local communities are not aware of it. “The Localization program customizes the NAP to suit the local situation community by community. It fits within the decentralization policy of the government,” she explained.  “It is a capacity building process, not simply awareness-raising. It provides new knowledge and skills on Resolutions 1325, 1820 and the Goma Declaration [on Eradicating Sexual Violence and Ending Impunity in the Great Lakes Region,] as well national laws and policies that promote gender equality. Local Action Plans, the outputs of the Localization program are a definite commitment of the local authorities. Localization is a participatory, multi stakeholder process. It enhances ownership of output and outcomes and make the leaders take pride in it,” Ms Rubimbwa further explained.

Ms. Jenepher Masis focused on the need to change how women are perceived in Kenya. In most areas of the country women are expected to marry, cook, clean and take care of the children, while men provide for the family. Moreover, in certain regions of Kenya men will not agree to work for women. Masis stressed that changing how men perceive women in Kenya is an ongoing journey.  She said the Localization is a strategy that can push for the official adoption and implementation of the draft NAP.

Note: GNWP has since contributed to the ongoing Global Study on Women, Peace and Security. The current draft of the NAP section of the Global Study features Localization as an effective implementation strategy.

Opening Remarks Amb Sajdik