21st OCTOBER 2020
REMARKS BY H.E. BINETA DIOP SPECIAL ENVOY OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION ON WOMEN, PEACE, AND SECURITY
Your Excellency Osama Abdel Khalek, Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Chairperson of the Peace and Security Council for the month of October 2020.
Your Excellency Hanna Tetteh, Under-Secretary General and Head of the UN Office to AU (UNOAU)
Your Excellency Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso. Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning and thank you for inviting me to speak at this launch of the Amani Africa Special Report on 10 Years Review of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda of the AU Peace and Security Council.
I would like to begin my intervention by expressing my appreciation to Dr Solomon and his team at Amani Africa for the resources put into preparing this report. The report is not only necessary, given the 20th Anniversary of the UNSC 1325, but also important. Indeed, this period avails us a great opportunity to ask ourselves questions about progress and jointly explore opportunities for improvement.
I believe that the starting point for our discussion today is to highlight important points from 223rd Meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council Meeting that meeting that put the African Union’s definitive role and leadership on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in motion. In that landmark meeting, the Peace and Security Council emphasized three key points. First the need to ensure adoption of key instruments that guide our work with engaging with women in conflict contexts. Second, Council emphasized continuous reporting not just to the Council but to the AU Assembly on implementation of the requirements from the various instruments that guide our engagement on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. Third, the need to ensure representation and leadership in driving the agenda on the continent. This includes promoting women leadership in civil society structures and women’s organisations. This also includes appointing a Special Envoy – a position I am now honored to occupy.
Since taking office in 2014, one of my key priorities has been to work with Member States to enhance monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. We know that the continent has a rich array of instruments but delivery on commitments remains limited. From the start, it has been imperative to drive and support action not only with Member States, but also at regional level. We have thus continued to work with other organisations to support Member States in developing and implementing National Action Plans on Women Peace of Security. The joint effort has resulted in Africa leading the world in commitments through National Action Plans (NAPS) to the agenda with 30 countries that have adopted NAP and Six Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms that have Regional Action Plans.
But, we are not beguiled that the presence of National Action Plans will certainly lead to an improved condition for the agenda. It is critical to strengthen capacities at all levels and to ensure women leaders emerge to lead the implementation of the agenda both within state structures and non-state structures including with civil society groups and women organisations. In this context, I would like to highlight, amongst others, the institutionalization of the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (FEMWISE) as a key structure for narrowing the gap between commitment for women’s inclusion and implementation.
Similarly, the African Women’s Leadership Network (AWLN) was established by women leaders, with the support of the African Union Commission and UN Women, as an Africa wide women movement to drive women leadership across spheres for the transformation of Africa, in line with Africa Agenda 2063 and the Global Sustainable Development Agenda 2063. Peace, Security and Governance and key pillars in this endeavor.. AWLN conducted solidarity missions to revitalize women’s leadership and participation in peace and security processes in fragile context. It has now established 25 National Chapters that galvanize women leadership, as demonstrated by women of Mali in the current socio-political crisis.
On the reporting agenda, we are clear that we need to separate noise from action, as we cannot improve what we cannot measure. We are noticeably clear about the need to not measure platitudes but real changes in the lives of our key constituents – women and girls. In this context, my office continues to drive for accountability through the annual Chairperson Report as mandated by the Peace and Security Council. In addition, we have developed the Continental Results Framework (CRF) not just as a reporting tool but also as a tool to standardize and harmonize reporting across Member States. We continue to work with countries to provide additional capacity support to Member States on reporting to ensure that more countries continue to use the CRF to hold themselves accountable, and peer-review on the continent. This was highlighted in this Year PSC Open Session on WPS, held under the leadership of His Excellency Ambassador Osama Abdel Khalek on Monday 5th October 2020. Council reiterated Member States commitment and the centrality of WPS in building peace on the continent
Finally, it goes without saying that any undertakings carry their load of challenges. I thank Amani Africa for highlighting some of these challenges and welcome such analysis that will certainly reinforce our resolve to do better, in partnership with other key stakeholders We have consistently worked with various institutions and offices to drive commitment and implementation within their own structures. An example is the work we have done with the ACHPR in the publication of the Guidelines on the prevention of Gender Based Violence.
I will end this note by highlighting the commitment by the leadership within the African Union and within the Commission to continue to empower various units to push towards the goal despite the challenges. This is important because progress will be impossible without that level of ownership at the highest level within our institutions.
Thank you once again to Dr Solomon and the team at Amani for the good work and I do expect that we can explore some collaboration around the recommendations in the report.