As part of the 18th anniversary celebration of United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, UN Women in collaboration with the Government of Kenya and the Embassy of Finland in Nairobi hosted a High-Level Peer Review meeting in Nairobi from 23rd-24th October.
Three of Kenya’s six female Cabinet Secretaries presided over the opening ceremony: Prof. Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Dr. Amb. Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Amb. Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary of Defence. They were joined by H.E. Erik Lundberg, Ambassador of Finland to Kenya, Hon. Elisabeth Rehn, former Minister of Defence in Finland, and Ms. Zebib Kavuma, UN Women Kenya Country Director.
Stakeholders from Afghanistan, Finland, Kenya, Nepal, Rwanda and Somalia forged strategic partnerships and shared best practices in advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda in their respective contexts.
Development and implementation of National Action Plans (NAPs)
UNSCR 1325 (2000) is the landmark resolution that recognizes the central role that women play in achieving and sustaining peace in conflict-prevention and resolution efforts, peace-keeping and relief and recovery. Numerous UN Member States have developed National Action Plans (NAPs) on UNSCR 1325, indicating their specific commitments to the women, peace and security agenda. In March 2016, the Kenyan Government launched the Kenya National Action Plan (KNAP) on UNSCR 1325.
The meeting brought together practitioners from countries in different phases of their National Action Plans (KNAP) – Kenya on its first, Nepal on its second and Finland on its third generation NAP. Best practices shared pointed to the critical need for collective ownership from both government and civil society. Ms. Pinky Singh Rana, Coordinator for the second phase NAP in Nepal, shared best practices in Nepal, such as the localization of the NAP through the engagement of civil society in the development and implementation of the NAP.
Integrating gender into civilian crisis management and peacekeeping
Experts who have served in missions such as AMISOM emphasized the need for increased participation of women in civilian crisis management and peacekeeping. Missions must enable the active participation of women civilian staff and officers in carrying out the mission mandate. An effective strategy in supporting the promotion of women has been to provide mentorship programmes that link women in various ranks. There is also a critical need for capacity building on gender for all staff who serve on missions, particularly pre-deployment. Awareness raising on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) was identified as critical to ensure a safe environment that upholds the values and principles of these missions.
Emerging issues in peace and security
In many of the participating countries, including Kenya, the youth, typically categorized as being between the ages of 18 to 35, represent a majority of the population. While some efforts in youth engagement have been undertaken in the various countries, UNSCR 2250 represents a unique opportunity that government and civil society can leverage to bring the voices of youth into the forefront of peace and security efforts. Among the presenters was the Kenya National Youth Service (NYS), which highlighted their engagement with the marginalized youth who experience poverty, unemployment and violence.
Another emerging issue in global peace and security landscape is the emergence of violent extremism (VE) and terrorism. Practitioners from Afghanistan and Kenya highlighted that there is a need for P/CVE programmes to be informed by gender- responsive and human rights-based approaches. Furthermore, P/CVE efforts must strive to establish trust between communities and the security sector, have early warning systems in place and to resilience for those at risk of radicalization. One of the biggest lessons learnt noted by the experts was that P/CVE efforts must incorporate a “soft”, community engagement approach.
The technical experts who participated in the High-Level Peer Review on Women, Peace and Security praised the lessons learnt as committed to incorporate the best practices into future policy and programming on Women, Peace and Security. The recommendations that come out of this meeting will contribute to the acceleration of the existing commitments outlined in the National Action Plans, and the promotion of new commitments and strategies to be articulated in future NAPs globally.