Women and youth should be regarded as key partners in sustainable peace and security, says Huang Xia, UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes
Nairobi, 8 September 2019 – United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, Huang Xia, addressed a meeting of civil society organizations and regional fora held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 8 September 2019. The objective of the meeting was to promote representation and participation of women and girls in decision-making bodies and processes, and to ensure their protection as well as the prevention of violence against them in the Great Lakes region.
In his address, UN Envoy Xia reminded the participants about Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 2250 which recognize the role of women and youth as key partners for sustainable peace and security. This general recognition for the role of women and youth in peace has all its relevance for the Great Lakes region, and especially eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has been the scene of severe and recurrent political and security upheavals for more than two decades. Since the signing of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region in 2013, regional and international institutions have made efforts to involve civil society in search for lasting peace in the Great Lakes region. The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which is made of 12 countries, has been striving to galvanize support to address security issues in the region. Following the signing of the Framework, the Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region was established to support peace and stability in the region.
The Office of the Special Envoy organizes regular national consultations with civil society focal points, United Nations partners on the ground and the ICGLR with the aim to invite civil society to take greater interest in, and ownership of the Framework agreement. It is in this regard that, meeting in Nairobi in May 2019, ministers of Justice committed to promoting women’s rights and advocating more strongly for their protection.
Participants at this meeting included representatives of the United Nations (Office of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and UN-Women), the AU, the ICGLR Executive Secretariat, and the Southern African Development Community, as well as several regional and sub-regional organizations working on women’s issues.