Africa’s Great Lakes women reinforce their mediation and negotiation skills to better contribute to preventative diplomacy and mediation efforts in the region
Kigali (Rwanda), 10 September 2021 - The Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation, better known as ‘FemWise-Africa’, has concluded a week-long training in Kigali, Rwanda, to enhance the mediation and negotiation skills of the Network’s members, and thereby strengthen their contributions to preventative diplomacy and mediation efforts in the Great Lakes region.
FemWise-Africa has conducted several induction and basic mediation training sessions over recent years to ensure its members have the technical skills in their interventions and preventative efforts across their various areas of engagement. To enable a ripple effect, whereby trained members can, in turn, replicate similar capacity-building activities in their constituencies, the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes and the Secretariat of the African Union (AU) Special Envoys, in coordination with the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) organized the advanced training on mediation and negotiation skills for selected members of the FemWise-Africa Network.
The training, which started on 6 September, has its roots in the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), which stresses the critical role of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peace building. Similarly, at the continental level, commitments to enhancing women’s meaningful role, including in the peace and security sphere, are enshrined within various AU continental frameworks, such as the Constitutive Act and the Maputo Protocol. The domestication and implementation of these frameworks is further critical in the realization of landmark continental priorities, such as ‘Silencing the Guns’ Agenda and the AU’s Agenda 2063, through an inclusive and sustainable process.
The trainees for this workshop were drawn from eight countries of the Great Lakes region, namely Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Other participants were representatives of the AU, the ICGLR, and UN entities, including the Office of the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality, the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The training also welcomed the strong commitment of the ombudspersons to promote and support women’s inclusion and work in synergy with FemWise members throughout the region. Integration of women's priorities into the agenda of the Ombudspersons is central to effective equity. This is at the heart of responding to the aspirations of Agenda 2030 among other international instruments. Honorable Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Public Protector of South Africa and Chair of the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association’s (AOMA) solidarity pledged to mobilize all African Ombudspersons to advance the full participation of women in peace and security processes.
In his closing remarks to the training workshop, Huang Xia, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region also highlighted regional cooperation, stating: “The present workshop that we are closing today is a demonstration of our good collaboration, complementarity and excellent coordination between the African Union and the United Nations. This is further evidence to our commitment to advance the Women, Peace and Security agenda, as well as the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and its protocol relating to Women's Rights in Africa”.