• September 15th, 2019
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Women representation in peacekeeping still low

WINDHOEK - The 2018 report of the UN Secretary-General on Women, Peace and Security reveals that the representation of women among military troops and police officers remains unacceptably low, at four percent and 10 percent respectively. 

The report also issues a stern warning that these numbers are at risk of further decreasing in the coming years through the imminent downsizing of several peacekeeping missions. 

During the official opening of the Global Focal Point Network’s third annual meeting on women, peace and security yesterday, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia, as a member of Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) will continue to play her part in ensuring that women play a greater role in peacekeeping operations. 

Namibia becomes the first African nation to host the Global Focal Point Network’s third annual meeting on women, peace and security, which started yesterday and ends today.

She said the Namibian police officers, correctional officers and military officers are currently deployed in three peacekeeping missions; namely the African Union or United Nations Hybrids Operation for Darfur (UNAMID), the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) and   the   United   Nations   Interim   Security   Force   for Abyei (UNISFA), among which Namibia has continued deploying qualified female officers. 

In December 2018, Namibia achieved the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ target of 15 percent of women participating in peacekeeping missions. In January 2019, 15 police officers, including three women, were deployed to the UN-AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur. The largest ever female police contingents send from Namibia to war-torn African nations was between 2010-2012, where about 31 women participated. “We encourage all police and troop-contributing member states to strive to achieve this minimum target. While recognising the important roles women play in peace-making, peacekeeping and peace building, we should broaden mechanisms and think of measures to prevent conflicts and war, by completely disarming and silencing the guns,” she noted. 

Silencing the guns is one of the Au flagship projects to be implemented in the first ten years of AU Agenda 2063. 
Hence, she commended the UN Secretary General on his disarmament agenda, and the clear link he makes between small arms and light weapons and gender-based violence. 

Against this, Nandi-Ndaitwah says there is a need for member states to mainstream disarmament in the women, peace and security agenda.

The meeting is aimed at raising awareness and advocating for the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, by formulating national action plans. 

To date, the global network had the first meeting in Alicante, Spain and the second in Berlin, Germany, while the Windhoek meeting is its third.  The minister said they are expecting over 150 participants from member states and regional and international organisations.

There will also be four working groups to focus on the sub-themes; including the women, peace and security agenda, disarmament and small arms and light weapons. 

The others will deal with national action plans (coordination, monitoring, evaluation and financing), women, peace and security agenda implementation and the role of sub-regional and regional organisations, as well as a peace lab for youth leaders.

Albertina Nakale
2019-04-11 08:53:45 5 months ago

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