African Women Committee on Peace and Development AWCDP

Linked with our presentation of Specioza Kazibwe – Uganda.

AWCPD was established in 1998 to increase the effective participation of women in peace and development processes on the continent. The committee seeks to support the networking of women’s peace-building mechanisms in Africa and to identify, articulate and seek ways and means of addressing women-specific expressions of conflict. Adress: c/o Organization of African Unity, P.O Box 3243, Addis Ababa , Ethiopia (See unoy.org and scoll down).

See more on this 112 pages pdf-text about African Peace Building Toolkit.

Excerpt: … African women’s long search for peace culminated in April 1998, upon the establishement of the African Women Committee on Peace and Development which was announced by the Secretary General of the OAU after consultations with the Executive Secretary of the ECA during the opening ceremony of the International Conference celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the ECA.

The Committee is made up of sixteen members and its originality is that it combines members nominated by government with members appointed in their personal capacity and members selected from African women NGOs.

Appointment of members is through submission of candidacy and selection takes into consideration among other things , the proper representation of the five OAU regions. Members serve for a period of three years.

The Committee has been constituted as an advisory body of the Secretary General of the OAU and the Executive Secretary of the ECA.

The rational behind the establishment of the African Women Committee on Peace and Development is to give the women of Africa a platform to voice their concern over war and peace, to strengthen their role and mandate in the promotion of Peace and Development in Africa.

Since its establishment, the Committee has held several meetings devoted to constituting the Committee’s Board, adopting its rules of procedure, discussing its priorities and adopting its program of activities and despite its limited resources, AWCPD has focused its activities in the following areas:

- Establishing its Work Program. Since its Launching, AWCPD have been mainly concentrating on its operationalisation and on the identification and formulation of the strategic interventions of AWCPD interventions which have been developed into a three year a Plan of Action to enable it pursue its objectives and carry out its mandate.

- Building an African women agenda for peace and networking with African women peace organizations: AWCPD co-organised together with UNESCO the Pan-African Women Conference on a Culture of Peace which was held in Zanzibar (May 1999). The Conference enabled the Committee to dialogue and share its vision with several peace organizations and with over three hundred women from all over Africa and to build with them an African Women Peace Agenda, “The Zanzibar Agenda for Peace”.

Bringing women’s voices to the peace process: The African Women Committee on Peace and Development has been lobbying for the inclusion of women in the current peace negotiations. Letters requesting systematic inclusion of women have been addressed to the Secretary General of the Organization of the African Unity as well as to the Leaders of the conflict torn countries. This request has been successfully complied with in the case of Burundi. Members of the Committee had earlir on, supported the Burundian women to build their platform and facilitated their talks in Kampala Uganda in October 1998 as well as in the Arusha Negotiations. Moreover, the AWCPD organized a series of activities within the process of the evaluation of Beijing +5 to sensitize Leaders on the centrality of women’s role in peace building.
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Supporting women’s peace initiatives: At the Sub-Regional level, the Committee co organized a peace program initiated by FAS, for the women of the Mano River Region, namely Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The objectives of the Mano River Meeting was to assist the women of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea establish a common agenda though consultations, build a sub-regional peace-building program for the women and thereby confidence among the peoples of their respective countries. The Meeting gathered women from these three countries and relevant Sub-Regional and Regional Organizations such as OAU, ECA, ECOWAS and WAWA. They created their Network, the MRWPN, discussed working modalities and built a Plan of Action to engender the peace process in the Region and particularly in the ECOWAS Mechanism.

- Advocating for women’s involvement in the peace process: The African Women Committee on Peace and Development (AWCPD) has participated in the Six African Regional Conference as well as in the Special Session of the General Assembly Beijing +5 as the Regional Wmen’s organization designated to monitor the implementation of the Regional and Global Platform for Action with regard to Peace on the African Continent. AWCPD had, thus, the opportunity to advocate for women’s involvement in the peace processes and identify with other stakeholders the obstacles encountered to translate commitments made in Beijing into effective programs of action.

Networking: The preparatory meetings of Beijing +5: the Six African Regional Conference on Women held in November 1999 in Addis Ababa and the PrepCom of Beijing +5 held in New York in March 2000 as well as the Special Session of the General Assembly of Beijing +5 provided excellent networking opportunities for AWCPD and allowed AWCPD to get first hand information from countries in conflict like Burundi, Sierra Leone, DRC etc..

One should note that the Committee has engaged in these activities despite very limited resources. Therefore the Committee intends to assume its responsibility as soon as it finalises it funds mobilization program. The main components of its three-year program of activities are:

· To promote the inclusion of African women in the decision making positions in their respective governments as well as in regional and international organizations and ensure the participation of African women in conflict prevention and resolution processes.

· To organize a series of consultations with major African organizations in the field on a sub-regional basis in a conference or symposium format (west, north, east, and central and south) culminating in an all-Africa one.

· To network with African women peace organizations. The Committee will establish a network with all the women peace organisations for information, support and interaction purposes in each sub-region of the continent. The Committee shall receive and process reports from such organisations and the information thus gathered is expected to support the Early Warning System of the OAU. This requires to define modalities and a collaboration framework with them and encourage their creation in countries where such organisations do not exist.

· To keep track of the performance levels of governments, institutions and organisations vis-à-vis :

· The maintenance and protection of due process of law and constitutionalism in each African countries.
· African Governments’ performance in increasing women’s memberships in governmental decision making institutions
· African governments’ social service expenditures that go to women.

To that end, the Committee shall establish a data bank and a base line to monitor the performance of African governments. The Committee intends to carry out this exercise on a continuing basis and in partnership with the UN and OAU. These datas will be published annually under the auspices of the OAU and will be an authoritative and easily accessible reference on African governments’ investments in bettering women’s social and economic conditions.

The African Women Committee on Peace and Development has also been specifically mandated together with the ECA by Decision # of the Council of ministers of the OAU to promote, the incorporation of a gender perspective in the African unification process. It shall thus devise mechanisms that would facilitate and ensure women’s participation in the electoral process of the Pan-African Parliament, or their appointment to these new structures (the African Central Bank, the African Monetary Union, the African Court of Justice) and other leadership areas … (Read the rest on this uneca.org page).

Peacewomen;

See also more on this 80 page pdf-text about the Third African Development Forum, to be downloaded on unpan1.un.org. See also www.uneca.org).

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