Mrs Stephanie S. Sullivan, the United States Ambassador to Ghana, has lauded the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre (KAIPTC) for its efforts in promoting stability across the West Africa Region.
She commended the Centre’s keen interest in contributing to the advancement of Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) initiatives across the region.
Mrs Sullivan gave the commendation at the Regional Conference on Women, Peace, and Security in Accra, on the theme: “Our Stories, Lessons and Marching Forward.”
The conference was organized by the KAIPTC in collaboration with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Partnership for Peace (P4P) Project and the G5 Sahel Secretariat.
It seeks to create a platform to exchange and share knowledge on progress made in the implementation of the WPS Agenda within the West African Region.
“When it comes to amplifying women’s voices to build peace in the Sahel; it is well known that if women are excluded, society at large misses out on the opportunity to benefit from women’s vast experiences and insightful perspectives,” the Ambassador said.
“For it is our stories, and the lessons we learn from them, that will help us to build stronger, safer, and more resilient communities.”
She said the conference would also help them realize synergies among governmental and civil society organizations that led to more effective coordination and concrete actions and initiatives on the ground.
“As we identify key interventions and activities boosting women, peace, and security efforts in the sub-region, communities will move forward in peace towards a prosperous and self-reliant future,” she said.
Mrs. Sullivan said the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 acknowledged the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women and girls.
She said given the current trend of violent extremism in the West Africa Region, it was important that people at all levels – and most especially women – be included in efforts to prevent or counter violent extremism.
She said the US strongly believed that women were a “key piece of the puzzle” saying; “In fact, through the passage of the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, the US became the first country in the world with a comprehensive law on Women, Peace, and Security.”
The Ambassador said in Ghana, success in the most vulnerable parts of the country could be achieved only when citizens, especially women and youth, engaged in and advocate for the well-being of their families and the security of their communities.
She said the US Government, through USAID and the Department of Defence, contributed to efforts to address peace and security in the country.
“Whether undertaking development-focused programmes or security exchanges, we highlight the importance of women as peacemakers and their role in conflict resolution by helping women’s groups and platforms adopt peacebuilding mechanisms within their communities.”
She said the US was proud of its partnership with the G5 Sahel Executive Secretariat through USAID and its P4P programmes.
The partnership had given rise to the conference and several other transformative efforts, such as the Lexicon on Radicalisation and Violent Extremism, the Regional Guide for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Strategy Development, capacity building, and support provided to G5 Sahel and its member states.
She highlighted P4P’s ongoing work in Burkina Faso, Chad, and Niger on the development, revision, validation, and implementation of those countries’ national strategies to counter violent extremism.
Major General Francis Ofori, the Commandant of the KAIPTC, said women continued to demonstrate their capacity to support in the quest for peace and security.
He said it was important to underscore the shift in conflict from the inter-state through intra-state to non-state actors.
Recognizing the important role women played in the peace and security architecture and the absence of a mechanism to support the implementation of the WPS Agenda on the continent, KAIPTC in 2010 established its Women Peace and Security Institute.
The Women, Peace and Security Institute WPSI is a semi-autonomous Institute working within the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) under the Office of the Commandant of KAIPTC.
WPSI is a knowledge Centre for the expansion of technical capacity, training, policy research and analysis on women, peace and security in order to better inform the broader security agenda in Africa. In other words, WPSI works to support the full implementation of the UNSCR 1325 and its follow-up resolutions on Women Peace and Security in the context of Africa and beyond.
The Women, Peace and Security Institute (WPSI) serves as “a knowledge Centre for expanding technical capacity, training and policy research and analysis on women, peace and security in order to better inform the broader peace and security agenda in Africa”(WPSI Project Document). The Institute supports the promotion and realisation of the recommendations of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and its related resolutions on women, peace and security. These resolutions call for the special protection of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict societies as well as for greater leadership and participation of women in governance and peace processes.
The Institute focuses on five core programme areas to achieve its aim of facilitating the actualization of the aspirations of the resolutions. The areas are:
- Women’s participation in peace negotiations and preventive diplomacy in Africa;
- Increasing women’s leadership role in security institutions and participation in peacekeeping activities;
- African women’s leadership in responding to gender-based violence in conflict;
- Policy and academic research on gender, peace and security; and
- Documentation of women’s contributions to peace processes in Africa.
In order to promote policy and action in these core areas, WPSI combines training, policy research & analysis, networking and advocacy in partnership with Government Agencies, Civil Society Organisations, Security Sector Institutions/Agencies and RECs as well as Tertiary Institutions at the national, regional and international levels.
On 31st October 2000, the United Nations Security Council Resolution adopted its first Resolution on Women, Peace and Security UNSCR 1325. This was a landmark event in the organization’s history as it recognized the gender disparity in the participation and leadership in addressing issues related to peace and security. The Resolution highlighted that women played a minor role in peace processes, especially at the decision-making levels, even though women and girls suffered the most in conflict and post conflict situations. The Resolution therefore called for special attention to be given to peculiar needs and concerns of women and girls in those situation.