Djibouti, 09-10-2013 – IGAD kick-started a Regional Conference to launch the Strategy for Higher Representation of Women in Decision Making Positions (HRWDM), the Regional Action Plan (RAP) for Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1325 and 1820 and the IGAD Women and Peace Forum (IWPF) at Kempinski Palace Hotel, Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti on October 7th.
The opening ceremony of the conference was presided over by the Prime Minister the Republic of Djibouti, HEM Abdoulkader kamil, along with The Djibouti Minister for Women’s Promotion, HEMs Hasna Barkhat, the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Ambassador Mahboub Maalim, and a high-level representative from the African Union. A representative from the African Development Bank and another from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa also chaired the opening ceremony.
The event brought together IGAD Member States representatives from parliament, women/gender ministries, civil society organizations and academia and was a moment when IGAD Member States had to commit themselves to adopt and implement these milestones at their levels and eventually become the actual owners of the processes and outcomes.
Ambassador Mahboub Maalim, in his opening remarks, welcomed the various delegations from the IGAD region before highlighting the key role played by women for peace building in the region. Without further delay, Ambassador Mahboub Maalim gave the floor to the Djibouti Prime Minister who declared that “for the member states of our organization [IGAD] who aspire for a lasting peace in order to meet the challenges of the third millennium, it is fundamental that representation of women at all levels of decision-making be effective”.
During the launching conference, brief presentations were made by the authors of the HRWDM Strategy and the RAP, to enlighten participants on the main contents of the two documents as well as the objectives for establishing the WPF. Moreover, election of the office bearers of the Forum was conducted and orientation given on the terms of reference prepared earlier. Furthermore, the issue of placement of the forum was discussed and determined as tasks have to kick start as soon as possible.
IGAD Secretariat likewise used the conference to enable member states to exchange ideas and share experiences in the realization of the objectives of the African Women’s Decade and Africa UNiTE Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Girls.
Over the years, the main policy objective of the Gender Affairs Program of IGAD Secretariat has been facilitating the mainstreaming of gender perspectives into all activities of IGAD, in order to make them gender responsive and contribute to the achievements of sustainable socio-economic development in the region.
Accordingly, among the major tasks undertaken by the program since 2009 were conducting Situational Assessment on Participation and Representation of Women in Decision Making Positions in Member States, convening an IGAD Women Parliamentary Conference in December 2009, conducting IGAD Women and Peace Conference in April 2011, developing the above indicated Strategy, the RAP as well as the establishment of IWPF.
At the closing ceremony, in the afternoon of October 9th, IGAD Peace and Security Division Director, Honorable Netsannet Afaw, noted that “”peace will be attainable if and only if society is just and fair to all people, including women and children”.