Highlights from the GIMAC and AU 8th Gender Pre-Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
~ A glimpse into my work world
By Lori Perkovich, GNWP
New York, February 5, 2016 – The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) and delegates Robinah Rubimbwa from CoAct1325 (Uganda) and Emma Mogaka from Rural Women Peace Link (Kenya), travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to participate in the Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) that took place January 17-18, 2016 and the official opening ceremony of the 8th Gender Pre-Summit, 19 – 20 January 2016. Attendees from Africa and abroad gathered at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU) for the four day summit to discuss this years theme: “2016 African Year of Human Rights with Particular Focus on the rights of Women.” The series of meetings allowed stakeholders and other actors advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment, to unpack critical developments on the continent and influence the subsequent deliberations and outcomes of the 26th African Union (AU) Summit.
Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) organized the two-day (GIMAC) conference and the Directorate of Women, Gender and Development of the AU Commission in collaboration, with H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) organized the AU Gender Pre-Summit .
Many distinguished panellists spoke during the GIMAC, including Ms. Bineta Diop, President, Femmes Africa Solidarité, Ms. Elisabeth Rehn, Minister Of State, Finland, Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor, Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women in Africa, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ngone Diop, Chief Gender Equality and Women in Development, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, H. E. Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl, Commissioner for Trade and Industry African Union Commission and Ms. Hendrina Doroba, Executive Director, Forum for African Women Educationalists, among others.
Objectives for the two-day GIMAC conference:
- Gain a good sense of the status of women’s rights – gaps, challenges, and successes
- Strong and concrete key recommendations for the AU and going forward
- Accountability, law and justice
The Case of Burundi was also a focal point and the only state to have its own session. Interventions were made from the floor by speakers such as, Julienne Lusenge, Director of the Fund for Congolese Women (FFC) and President of SOFEPADI in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Young women such as Victoria Mokisi from YWCA South Sudan also took this opportunity to advocate for their organizations and in this case, the on going South Sudan peace process. It was encouraging to witness these young women creating their own space to participate immediately following the adoption of UNSCR 2250 on youth, peace and security in December 2015.
During the AU meetings a call was made for Members States to ensure that the continent ends gun violence by 2020 and Chairperson Zuma spoke of the importance of strengthening the Pan-African Women Organizations (PAWO) in local communities for better integration in the Continent. Emphasis was repeatedly placed on focusing on the implementation of existing legal frameworks instead of creating new resolutions and documents calling for the same changes. Agenda 2063 and the Maputo protocol were also frequently referenced as targets for implementation by the AU.
GNWP and its delegation advocated for its members and partners on the ground in South Sudan who are focused on rebuilding the country post-signing of the peace agreement (August 2015). One specific issue discussed while in Addis Ababa was the current call by the Consortium of Organizations for Women of South Sudan, to President Kirr, to appoint a female speaker to the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, and also for the president to commit to implementing the 25% women representation in the TGONU. Additionally, a meeting about the creation of a hybrid court and the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Commission in South Sudan took place. Examples of processes in other states were discussed, along with best practices and potential obstacles.
GNWP finished the week by attending a pre-consultative meeting on CSW 2016 where those on the continent intending to participate at the CSW in New York, March 14-24, discussed objectives and events.
Please visit gnwp.org in the upcoming weeks for regular CSW event updates.