Taking the Localization of UNSCR 1325 to Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and the Philippines
The Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 program is in full swing and generating more positive results. The implementation continues in Sierra Leone, the Philippines, and through the preliminary community-focused workshop in South Sudan.
By Mavic Cabrera-Balleza and Helena Gronberg
In Sierra Leone, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders in partnership with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender, and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA) its civil society members National Organization of Women, Women’s Forum, Women’s Partnership for Justice and Peace, Mano River Women’s Peace Network and Women in Peacebuilding Network convened local authorities and CSO leaders from the Eastern and Southern districts in Bo city on April 22-27 to roll out the “Guidelines for the Alignment/Harmonization of Sierra Leone’s National Action Plan (SiLNAP) on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 with the Local Development Planning Process in Local Councils.” The gathering also served as a training session for the local council officials on the use of the guidelines.
The Government of Sierra Leone officially adopted and launched the guidelines at a high-level ceremony in Freetown on February 8, 2013. The guidelines are intended to serve as a practical guide for the councils, and direct the councilors on how to effectively integrate priorities identified in SiLNAP in the council development plans. In that regard they support the sustainability of the localization program and the longer-term integration of SiLNAP in the developing planning processes even as councilors are relocated or replaced.
The April 2014 training that was held in the city of Bo targeted seven of Sierra Leone’s 19 local councils and focused on the Eastern and Southern regions of the country. The participants who had been carefully selected were primarily comprised of councilors, gender desk officers, regional technical facilitators, and women’s civil society. During the opening ceremony, Jeneba Alice Koroma, Regional Gender Desk Officer for the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender, and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA) rightly noted that the participants indeed were there not “by chance but by choice,” referring to the important role of each and everyone in the room. Dr. Nana Pratt, representing GNWP member, the National Organization of Women (NOW- Sierra Leone) reminded participants not to lose sight of the guiding principles of UNSCR 1325 when drafting their development plans, and encouraged using the guidelines as an instrument to achieve good governance and enhanced inclusion of all. “Now is the time to carve out meaningful actions to improve development for women and girls,” she said.
The guidelines are a welcomed development in Sierra Leone and promise to contribute to sustained integration of SILNAP into local development planning. K.O. Bah, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) discussed the significant contribution to implementing UNSCR 1325 and 1820 in Sierra Leone that the guidelines represent, reaffirming the importance of sustainability and continuity.
An outstanding achievement of the Localization Program in Sierra Leone is that the Sierra Leonean government committed to ensure the inclusion of Women, Peace and Security issues as an indicator in the Comprehensive Local Government Performance Assessment System (CLoGPAS), the performance evaluation system for local officials. This would mean that part of the evaluation of the job performance of mayors, local councilors and other local officials in Sierra Leone would focus on how they have contributed to SiLNAP’s implementation.
Moreover, the Localization program in Sierra Leone contributed to the establishment of Local Steering Committees on SiLNAP. The Local Steering Committees will team up with the National Steering Committee composed of MSWGCA, other government agencies and civil society in coordinating the implementation of SiLNAP across the country.
In the Philippines, a new series of Localization workshops are being organized in various cities and municipalities in Agusan del Norte, Kalinga, Maguindanao, Nueva Ecija, Quezon and Samar provinces between May and July 2014. Following the local elections in May 2013, new governors, mayors, councilors and barangay (community) officials took office and were in need of training. Despite being new in their positions, many of the local officials have already committed to continue the implementation of local resolutions, ordinances and local action plans. A number of them, such as the local councilors of Real, Quezon pledged to allocate funds for the implementation of the resolutions and ordinances on the Philippine NAP on Women, Peace and Security in their municipality.
An impressive offshoot of the Localization program in the Philippines is the outreach to the Philippine Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police. These two national security institutions have undergone workshops on the operationalization of the Philippine NAP. A key part of the operationalization workshop was the review of the gender relations and gender dynamics of the recruitment, hiring, and human resource management including promotion, training, combat operations, deployment in peacekeeping operations, and facilities. The sessions enabled the police and military officers to examine the differential treatment of women and men in these security institutions and how that impacts on their overall operations. The participants came up with a set of recommendations including construction of more facilities that meet the female officers’ biological and reproductive needs; and review of recruitment, hiring and training programs to ensure that they are more gender-fair and gender-sensitive. The participants agreed to hold another training next year to further enhance their knowledge of the Philippine NAP as well as the Security Council Resolutions on Women and Peace and Security; and analyze how their recommendations have been implemented.
Last week the GNWP team was in South Sudan to work with its members Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), Eve Organization, and Voice for Change on the production of radio public service announcements (PSAs) on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 in the context of the ongoing peace process. The radio PSAs will be produced in English and Juba Arabic targeting policy makers and the broader population particularly those in remote and conflict-affected communities. The radio productions will also be used as training materials in the Community-focused Capacity Building on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 workshops and in the future implementation of the Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 program in South Sudan.GNWP and its South Sudanese members also conducted a community focused capacity building workshop and deeper awareness-raising on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 in Yei State. The workshop included a session on conflict analysis where the root causes of the conflict, its impact and the actions that should be taken to address the conflict was discussed. A discussion on the general peace and security situation in South Sudan and the ongoing peace process; and a session on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 and the government’s accountability under these resolutions were also held. The workshop concluded with a “commitment session” where each participant was asked to identify actions they can undertake in their capacities as local officials and also as individual members of their communities, to contribute to finding peaceful solutions to the current problems faced by their community and the whole country.
The community-focused workshops were organized as a preparatory phase to a full Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 program.
The Localization of UNSCR 1325 and 1820 in Sierra Leone is supported by the Folke Bernadotte Academy. In the Philippines support is provided by Norad, and in South Sudan the Channel Foundation and Cordaid support the work of GNWP and its members.