On 15th February, 2017, a group of delegates from Sudan including 5 Ministers representing five states, Members of Parliament, academia and representatives from civil society organizations converged at the School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University to further enlighten themselves on matters of peace and security from a gender perspective. This followed a workshop held at Imperial Royale, Kampala to discuss a National Action Plan (NAP) for Sudan in relation with the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, 1820 and the Goma Declaration. The exchange visit was hosted by Isis-WICCE in partnership with UN Women, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, and the School of Women and Gender Studies. The purpose of the dialogue was to understand the situation on gender and security globally, and in Sudan/Uganda; the UNSCR 1325 and to learn from the Ugandan experience on developing the Sudan National Action Plan (NAP). Other reasons were based on the fact that Uganda was among the first countries to implement the NAP on UNSCR 1325 in Africa, hence providing good learning experiences that could be benchmarked by Sudan NAP on UNSCR 1325.
Although the process of NAP on UNSCR 1325 in Uganda has been progressive with the implementation of the Second NAP ending in 2015 and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development embarking on a review process which is currently being undertaken, Sudan is still in the process of developing its NAP. The exchange visit was therefore a learning process that initiated a platform for a discussion on the critical issues of UNSCR 1325, including the role of Civil Society Organizations in monitoring the implementation of the NAP UNSCR 1325, the role of women in decision making in the legislative and executive institutions in Uganda, the link between Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and 1325, institutional formal and the informal mechanisms in breaking the silence on GBV cases against women, among others.
At the half-day workshop held in the School of Women and Gender Studies Conference Hall and moderated by the Dean, Assoc. Prof. Josephine Ahikire, participants discussed a number of issues pertaining to the development and implementation of an NAP on UNSCR 1325. UNSCR 1325 resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. Resolution 1325 urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts. It also calls on all parties to conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, in situations of armed conflict.
In her keynote address titled “Peace and Security from a Global and Uganda/Sudan Perspective”, Prof. Deborah Mulumba from Kyambogo University, emphasized the significance of women in peace building processes. She called for increased participation and representation of women at all levels of governance.
Prof. Mulumba commended the African Union for working with the Women’s Movement to promote women’s rights and gender equality. She however noted that women’s poor access to justice, limited participation of women and economic disempowerment continue to challenge peace initiatives in Africa.
She called for collaborative efforts between civil society, political and diplomatic entities, academic institutions and the developed world in resolving conflicts in Africa. She also emphasized the need for post conflict institution development to avoid a repeat of conflicts.
Mr Kalyango Ronald Sebba, a PhD student at the School of Women and Gender Studies, noted that although the resolution has the potential to reform the structures and systems on which current peace-making and peace-building rests, doubts persist as to whether the reforms provided for in UNSCR 1325 are being implemented.
He pointed out the lack of monitoring and reporting mechanisms and the absence of clearly identified targets that would need to be attained within pre-determined time frames as some of the obstacles to the implementation of Uganda’s NAP on USCR 1325. “Effective M&E will provide the necessary information to determine which initiatives have been successful, those that need to be changed and those that should be discontinued. M&E will also serve as an incentive to the different players since it holds them responsible for their part in the implementation of the Action Plan,” he advised.
Participants also pointed out examination of post war eras focussing on women concerns such as property rights, rape survivors, children with no fathers among other as being critical for the successful promotion of the women’s agenda.
In her remarks, the Executive Director of Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), Ms Helen Kezie-Nwoha, urged African governments to put in place mechanisms to address the challenge of refugees. “All countries that have signed into the international humanitarian law have the mandate to receive refugees and be able to provide for them all kinds of support until their countries stabilise,” she explained.